Wisdom//

2 Years After Leaving My Corporate Job, These 11 Truths Have Held Up

Many dream of leaving corporate behind. But what's it like when the grind kicks in?

samritk/Getty Images
samritk/Getty Images

When I first left my corporate job to become an entrepreneur (speaking/writing/teaching), I knew the “honeymoon period” would be bliss. But would I be left with blisters?

The further we distance ourselves from a sandstorm, the clearer our vision. Thus, with more informed introspection, I share a two-year progress report of life post-corporate. I’m happy to share that my eyes haven’t deceived me — it’s an oasis I’ve found. Here are 11 reasons why.

1. My values are my org chart now. 

I used to ponder my sector’s organization chart and wonder how high I’d elevate. I’d compare myself with others in other roles. Now I compare myself only with who I was yesterday and whether or not I’m a better version of myself. Whether or not I’m filling the position that each of my non-negotiable values requires me to fill. My values are now my board of directors.

2. Working on what matters, matters.

When I’m creating, writing, speaking, influencing, I feel alive. I matter. The corporate chain of command has been replaced by a thread of command, a thread running through my life that commands happiness — in the form of meaningful work.

3. We’re built for flexible days, not 9-5 ones.

When leaving corporate, you immediately notice the purest of joys — flexibility. That hasn’t changed. It’s hard to explain how life-changing flexibility is until you have it. Freedom of choice. Flow to the work and what enables you to flow when you work. The Industrial Revolution did us wrong with its 9-5 handcuffs.

With flexibility, I’m also experiencing far more of the spaces-in-between with my family. Sometimes it’s picking up my daughter from school. Other times it’s helping to start dinner. Every time it adds up. It’s the quiet spaces between the loud ones that echo.

4. Instead of wondering where the day went, I’m adding more of them to my life. 

No more days that get away from me. I’m adding time now by being twice as productive. I’m adding time to my life (literally) by prioritizing more exercise, less stress, and a better diet.

5. Success still matters. Significance matters more.

One thing that hasn’t changed since I left corporate is that I want to be successful. So sue me. And it turns out, I really can do this entrepreneur thing — it’s a massive world with plenty for those who hustle.

What has changed is that success isn’t enough. Living a life of significance is the new corner office. Making a real imprint on something bigger than me counts most.

6. My ceiling is based on seeing possibilities, not promotions.

I no longer wait to see how I’m stacking up compared with others to see if I’ll rise. I’m limited only by limited thinking, which is drowned out by sky’s-the-limit thinking. What my boss thinks of me no longer defines me. Living up to others’ standards has been permanently replaced by living up to my own. 

7. Learning and growth are no longer distant, they’re constant.

In just two years I’ve learned so much about speaking, writing, and platform building. Necessity is the mother of motivation, after all. I’ve re-embraced the concept of challenge. I’ve remembered that “unstuck starts” with “u.”

8. I control my meetings, they no longer control me.

Once a week, I’ll hold a few business-critical meetings. You remember, the kind with an actual point to them? It’s hard to explain what a profoundly dampening effect meetings have on your life until you’ve warmed yourself by the fire of freedom.

9. I have fewer, but deeper relationships. Isn’t that where we’re all headed anyway?

Sure, I miss my co-workers (most of them). Some fade. Some find me. None are forgotten. All are appreciated. Fewer have burrowed in. I’m good with that.

10. Next year’s revenue is always unknown. And it’s thrilling. 

Counting on only yourself for “survival” is satisfying at the most primal level. It’s all we had originally as a species. As an entrepreneur, you’re hunter, gatherer, and more. It’s a life of variety. Between variety or a sameness to work, I’ll take the former. I’m not bashing all corporate jobs, just what mine had become. I’ll take the gig economy over the gag economy.

11. Everything has led up to what I’m doing now.

I harbor no ill will toward my corporate days. It gave me everything I have today. There were times, though, when I didn’t see the point to all the hours I was working. 

I see it now though. It was all in preparation for what I’m supposed to be doing. I see now that all roads pointed to the one I’m on today. Sometimes, life waits to turn on the GPS.

Two years in and all’s well. If you’re considering this path, I hope this check-in helps you check out the potential.

Originally published on Inc.

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