It's my ARTiversary!!!!
Today is exactly one year! One year since I had a heart to heart talk with myself and made a decision that would change my life forever. There are a few things that lead up to my decision that weekend. I did a lot of crying, but even more praying. I was in what I thought was my dream job, great people, great pay, great bonuses, great learning experiences, the list goes on and on. I have nothing bad to say about my experience over the span of 7 years, but that Friday, I was faced with an ultimatum. My child or my job. Obviously, i chose my child.
My daughter, Lola was born at 26 weeks, weighing 1 lb 10 oz and at that point had not been cleared to be in a setting such as a daycare as she was high risk and a common cold would mean much worse for her. I had been working from home for a while, but then was told that I no longer had that option as "the business was changing". So here i was, seven years into my career that I loved, and I had to make a decision that I was not ready to make. And how ironic that months later, everyone would be working from home?
I cannot tell you what I felt that Saturday and Sunday. I can tell you that GOD knew what I needed even when I did not. I woke up Monday morning around 6 a.m., prayed again and submitted by resignation. I had made the decision to leave my position as a Sr. Analyst in the IT Department at Tyson Foods. Whew! Once i clicked "send", that was it. No going back and I can tell you that I have not looked back since that morning. Do i miss the people? Absolutely! I have never worked with more amazing folks. They became more than co-workers; they were and still are my family. I look forward to the lunches with them even today (now I'm crying)!
We do not always have a clear path in life. We cannot always see what is up ahead. I had been struggling with anxiety and depression since 2017. I did not know why I was feeling the way I was, but I knew that I was unhappy. I felt like I was no longer making a difference. Here I was with a great job, great husband, great kids, brand new home, surrounded by amazing people, and there were times that I would literally cry myself to sleep. There were times when I felt like I needed to end the pain.
I did not know it at the time, but those breakdowns got me to my breakthrough! I had to get to my lowest point, for me to pick myself up. Those doodles that I would do to help me get through therapy and cope with my depression became my saving grace. It was a gradual process, but I ended up stronger in the end. I think back to a couple of months before I resigned. I had applied for a different position and was told that I'm on the right track, but I had "some growing to do". GOD will send you messages indirectly through other people because as I think about those words, I did have a lot of growing to do. I had to grow my business, I had to grow myself in order to run my business. So here I am today, celebrating 1 year as a full-time artist and I would like to share a few things that some of you may need to hear if you are considering taking that leap of faith and stepping into your purpose.
1. Support Will Not Come from Where You Expect
Do not get hung up on who you know and think that they will automatically support you because that's not the case in some situations. It was not in my case. There are over 7 billion people in the world...engage with them! My greatest supporters have been people that I have never met a day in my life.
2. Keep Learning
Being your own boss does not mean that you stop learning from others. I have read more, done more training, listened to more webinars than ever before. It is ok to not know everything. And if no one has ever told you, you will not find everything that you need from simply reading a book. You will go through some things that will require you to think outside the box and on your feet. You will realize some things about yourself that you didn't know before. It's all a part of your growth and the next time that you are faced with it, you will know what to do.
If you are thinking of stepping out to chase your dreams, make sure that you have been saving. Many people will tell you to save up to 6 months of your expenses. If you can do more, great because things like COVID-19 can happen. One great tip that I always share with people is to have money automatically going into a savings account and do not touch it for any reason unless absolute necessary. That new purse, new pair of shoes is not considered necessary! Go to your bank and have them to set up an automatic draft. Have a set amount that you want to go into your savings and watch your account build up. If you are not seeing the money to spend, you will use what you have available, which made me spend less. Let me give you an example. You just got paid $1,000 into your checking account. You plan to save $200 from every check, so you set up an automatic draft for $200 that goes directly to your savings account. Now, you are looking at $800 in your checking account instead of $1,000, and you have bills to pay, so that night out or new pair of shoes probably won’t be on the top of your list anymore. This helped me tremendously. I know that everyone is different, but do what works for you!
4. Everyone Won't See Your Vision
Someone close to me actually said, "No one is going to buy your cards". Now, I could have taken that felt sorry for myself, but the Scorpio in me was determined to be successful and prove them wrong! People won't always believe until they see, so show them. Don't try to explain yourself, simply work hard and let them see how wrong they were. They will come back later asking you how you did it and if you can show them.
5. Once in a Lifetime Opportunities
If you are faced with an opportunity of a lifetime, accept it. Even if you don't everything at that moment, accept it and then figure it out. I had gotten an offer from a company and they were asking for me to provide some things that I had never even heard of. "Bieunkah, we would love for you to be a part of this, do you accept?" I accepted and started googling my behind off. This goes back to it being ok with not know everything initially. Don't turn down an amazing opportunity because you are scared that you will mess up or don't have all the details on how to get it done. Accept the offer, then do what you need to do to make it happen!
6. Time Management
I'm a planner, I need lists, charts, spreadsheets, cute planner stickers to help me stay organized. That's years of Accounting and IT lol! Learn to manage your time. Working from home fulltime has its benefits, but it also has distractions. I recently installed a white board in my office so that I could draw and doodle ideas, but also so that I can have large visuals of things that I need to do. Once great tool that I love because I can have sticky notes all over is to write out 3 columns and label them Things to Do, In Progress, and Done. Write down everything that you must do on sticky notes, put them under Things to Do and as you work through them, move them through the columns. I also try my best to plan out my days, but they don't always go as planned with 3 kids. Try to set times to do certain things. I mostly draw at night because the house has calmed down, kids are going to sleep, and I have that time for myself. However your days go, try to stick to a schedule as best as you can.
Know what your plan is for healthcare. Many jobs will allow you to continue with the plan that you had while working or you can find a different plan on your own. I did not realize how much this would impact us monthly with 3 kids, but it was one of those situations where we just had to figure it out. It is expensive, so plan accordingly.
8. Leaving a 9-5 Does Not Mean Working Less
Don't let people on social media fool you into thinking that entrepreneurship is a walk in the park because it's not. You will be working longer hours at times. I'm talking 16-20-hour days Sunday through Saturday. I have gotten to a point where i give myself a little more time on the weekends, but work does not stop. The difference is, you are putting in that time to grow something that you love and are passionate about. It requires time, work and dedication. You will have days where you want to give up and say, "forget this". You may have days where you question your decisions, but if you decide to give in, remember that you will be right back where you started from, so don't let that be an option. Many days, I'm up until 2 or 3 a.m., go to sleep, then right back up around 6 or 7 a.m. to get the day started with the kids. I'm learning what works best for me and you will learn what works best for you!