I walked away from a “job for life” and I would do it again

In just a 2 month window I quit my job as a Global Marketing Manager for an outerwear brand, I moved countries and rejected two Comms jobs in companies I respect and look up to, one of them having the potential to be a job for life or at very least a springboard to any other corporate position I wanted.

Did I need the money? Absolutely. Was I excited about the work involved? Yes, I actually was. Did I have a plan B? Nope. Am I nuts? Yeah, maybe.

If you know anything about my life story or my determination to bring projects to life, you will know that I have always made the most of very little and I would lie if I’d say this “skill” doesn’t come with a side of anxiety or struggle. Sometimes it comes from work overload, sometimes comes from the below zero bank balance. But if you ask me if I would do it all over again I wouldn’t even blink before shouting: “HELL YES!”

Now, you must be wandering what the hell did you do in those situations? And this is where it gets interesting, because the answer is not that simple… And it’s definitely not a straight line. In fact, what didn’t I do?

It can prove hard to make sense of the evolution of one’s ever evolving career and passions, so let me break it down in phases.

  • The self-doubt and the chase of validation

For many years I chased winters, action sports, opportunities in media and events and somehow I managed to build a solid network of people around the globe, however I still felt that I knew nothing and I couldn’t possibly make money as there were “a lot” of people out there much better than me at whatever I was doing.

It wasn’t until I started to get some words and pictures published that I felt that I could maybe create a career out of my passions and talents, I chased the validation from others to tell me I could potentially have a career in what I loved.

  • Stepping out of your comfort zone and validating yourself

Soon after, that “third-party” validation wasn’t really enough anymore, I still carried that self-doubt for a very long time, to the point I started to think that if I couldn’t make it in the action sports industry, I couldn’t make it anywhere, because I had limited skills and they weren’t really transferrable. I didn’t know how any other industry worked, needed, I felt like I didn’t know anything. So, at that moment, to validate myself I had to proof I could step outside of my comfort zone and still use my skills to help another business in a completely different business.

This is how my journey in e-Learning and localisation began. But this is a story for another time. What those years gave me was the confidence to know I could learn whatever I had to learn and that I had skills and common sense that could be applied in (mostly) any industry or circumstance. I learnt that I could add value, that I could work up a corporate ladder if I ever wanted to and I also learnt how things worked outside the “fairy tale” of the action sports/outdoor industry.

All these experiences helped me to feel validated, invigorated and inspired to take on my next chapter on what I loved.

  • Building it all from the ground up, this time with a vision and clear values

Back to the action sports world I started working and developing projects with a vision and values as my north stars. It still felt like starting all over again, but at least this time I wasn’t looking for validation from others or myself. I was looking to fulfil the gaps that I though were necessary according to my values and wishes. However, that doens’t mean I was always so sure about it all…

  • Self confidence and the finding of ideal clients

Chipping away at it, learning by doing… Call it as you will.. the thing for me is to keep going, even if you are scared, or a little bit lost. And when I started to realised the little milestones I achieved following my vision (an interview here, an opportunity there) I started to claim that self-confidence again.

Every time I go through I dip of self-confidence and I manage to get out of it I get a new or better client. I find that next project that excites me and covers my needs. But it is always after a hard time, a learning experience or a redirection to continue to focus on what my global vision is. I am not sure what the coaches call this, but for me this breaks, deadlines, changes help me re-focus and get back on track.

I know… it sounds very dramatic, but damn, if harsh deadlines or life changes experiences don’t help you regain focus on your personal and business vision, what will?