My name is Sara Sabin and I am the Underpreneur. This is a blog about my personal journey and transformation. Ups, downs, warts and all.
Carrying on from my previous blog, I’m going to take you to a very important phase in my journey – what I call the ‘adjustment’.
When I knew I was going to leave the corporate world to pursue entrepreneurship full time, I had a focus. I saved money and I looked forward to handing in my notice, so I could pursue my dream of becoming a full-time entrepreneur. I was full of hope and had massive expectations about what my life would be like. Yes, to repeat myself again, I wore rose-tinted glasses.
The reality was that, although I had gone through change in my life before, it had never been on such a massive scale. I vastly underestimated it.
When you’re used to going into an office every day, working with colleagues, traveling on the tube, getting a paycheck, going to office socials, etc… that becomes your ‘normal’. To suddenly have all of that taken away from you is not an easy psychological change to cope with. Although I’ve been through major changes since then, this first change was the greatest shock to the system. And I wish I had known so that I could have mentally prepared myself for it.
So, what exactly happened?
I was suddenly in the position of having time and location freedom – I could work when I wanted from where I wanted. Great, you’re thinking, right? If you’re someone that has lived your whole life in a structured way, not so much, in the beginning.
I had no particular need or incentive to get up at a certain time in the morning, or even get dressed. I had the whole day, after all. No colleagues to talk to. I started moving less, as I had no necessity to leave the house, get on the tube, and go to an exercise class on the way home. Apathy set in. The lack of structure started to eat away at me and my self-esteem.
You see, I had expected that everything would be perfect because I was following my dreams. I thought I’d be on top of the world. And it felt like anything but. I was surprised because I was feeling so low. I started to beat myself up because I felt angry that I was down at all. This is not what was meant to happen, I said. It becomes an endless cycle of negativity. And it started to impact all areas of my life.
My new vocation and work began to suffer because all the things that didn’t use to stress me out when I was in employment, were really starting to get on top of me now. A potential client not answering an email becomes a huge deal. I was running around like a headless chicken trying to chase non-responsive people. And the harder I tried, the fewer people seem to respond.
My relationship started to suffer from the apathy and negativity I brought to the table. Why couldn’t he just fix it? I didn’t know how to help myself, so how could he?
The year after I left my corporate job was a difficult one. I was lucky enough to take a wonderful trip to Costa Rica in February of that year and I remember feeling depressed for half that time. What a waste.
How did it resolve itself?
It became a work in progress. In how to manage stress and uncertainty and isolation. In learning what’s right and wrong for you. I will deal with all of these issues, as my blog unfolds.
I realised as well by the middle of that year that myself and my co-founder had very different visions for the business and not only our business relationship, but our friendship was breaking down. I had to face the hard facts head-on.
I’ll end with a quote from Jodi Picoult:
“There were two ways to be happy: improve your reality, or lower your expectations”
I advocate the former.