One thing has always been true for me: I like working hard and getting sh*t done.
At 12 years old, I started babysitting and nannying, and by my senior year, I also picked up an internship at a cable TV station and a photography/videography gig with a local company.
After graduating college (which I managed to do in two years) and spending a few years working in marketing, in 2011, I realized I needed to take a step back from going through life so quickly. I moved to Thailand—a country that embraces a much slower pace—to get my TESOL certification, teach English, explore, and reconnect with myself.
When I decided to come back to the states two years later, my goal was to create a balanced and sustainable lifestyle. I moved to Austin, TX, and scored a job with a tech company that had great benefits, a wellness plan, many opportunities for growth, and incredible perks (free meals, snacks…even a juice and smoothie bar). It seemed like the perfect place to implement a healthy routine and build the life I wanted.
Within a year, I was moving up in my position and growing into a new role. I started getting involved in extracurricular actives and volunteering to help out on new projects. I was very active in the company, but I loved it all because I was learning so much, traveling, and spending time with great people.
Towards the end of 2017, the Universe and my body started to send me signs that something needed to change. I was experiencing gut/brain health issues and battling intense depressive episodes. I found myself thinking about work constantly, and no longer planning time to do the things I loved. Several energy healers I consulted with shared consistent messages about the problems that would come if I continued this way. I was very frustrated because I was working for a company that was extremely good to me over the years (did I mention the free food?). However, at the end of the day, I felt like my cup just couldn’t be filled.
My decade-long struggle with an eating disorder had a significant impact on my life. After years of fighting, my recovery truly began when a full-time hospital occupational therapist/part-time Reiki healer sneaked me out of my hospital bed for a session and gave me a speech on knowing I was here to change the world. Her words provided the motivation I needed to jumpstart my recovery, and they have always stayed in the back of my mind. Throughout my wellness journey, I have visited with countless medical practitioners, mental health professionals, and spiritual guides, and our conversations always come back to my passion for real food and helping others connect with their bodies. After effortlessly trying to find my work-life balance in my tech job, my intuition and 5000 other signs I kept ignoring were telling me the reason I was feeling so unfulfilled was because I wasn’t living my purpose.
At first, I tried looking for jobs while working. I started reaching out to my network and connecting with people who had the careers I thought I wanted. This was very valuable but difficult to fit into my busy schedule. I started listening to podcasts about managing finances and pursuing passions, and I read a bunch of blogs about leaving tech/corporate jobs. I was letting my fear of change and knack for project management take over.
On February 14th, after waking up for several weeks with a pit in my stomach, I realized the best way I could love and take care of myself was to put in my resignation. I remember that day well. The skies had been overcast for weeks in Austin. After meeting with my manager, the moment I walked outside, the sun came out. I didn’t have anything lined up, but I had harnessed the energy and drive I needed to start making things happen for myself.
My first week off, I took a break to take my girlfriend on a birthday adventure to Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary in New Mexico, which was an amazing way to completely unplug and reset. By week two, my “go-go-go” personality kicked in. I picked up an old gig teaching English online and started applying for jobs. Initially, I played it safe by applying to office jobs that related back to health & wellness. Still afraid of the unknown, I was thinking I could use my corporate skill set in an environment that aligned with my interests. Within a few days, I was quickly moving through the interview process with two companies, and I was working with the admissions team for a health coach certification program (something I had been wanting to pursue for the past few years). My plan was to secure a job and then start training on the side. It felt great to have options…but then the Universe intervened.
A job popped up for a local juice bar looking for health enthusiasts interested in becoming health coaches. I applied immediately and within a few hours, had a request for a call. The company was piloting a program where candidates could be sponsored throughout the health coach certification process while working at the juice bar and beginning to coach customers on consuming authentic foods and juicing. It turned out the program they were sponsoring was the SAME one I was in the process of applying for.
Afraid that I would jump into anything too quickly, I contacted a local career
advisor angel (I don’t know what to call her, but she is lovely) so I could get some advice. After doing a couple of career assessments and activities, we talked about my history, interests, and the three types of universal core energies and how they relate to me/my career path. I discovered I am very action-oriented and possess a lot of entrepreneurial characteristics. I talked about some of the opportunities I was considering, and walked through the pros and cons of each. By the end of the session and after doing some guided meditation together, I felt highly empowered to take the least familiar route. Did I need to make lifestyle and financial adjustments? Yes. But, for me, the answer was simple: choose the option that will bring the most joy.
After doing an extensive amount of research to ensure the company’s mission aligned with mine, the next day, I met with the owner of the juice bar and officially scheduled my orientation. Since starting, my health issues have significantly improved, and I finally feel like myself again.
I learned a lot during my time in tech, but my most important take-away was understanding that if you want to grow, you have to take risks. I’m not entirely sure of what the future holds for me, but I’m excited and ready for what’s to come. I know that whatever happens, every mistake is an opportunity to fail forward, and I will always find a way to move on; It’s just who I am.
Like I mentioned, I read a lot of blogs about leaving the corporate/tech world, and each one provided insight and helped me prepare for the journey ahead. I’m sharing this story to show others that it took me three weeks to completely shift my career focus and find a path that aligns my values. At the end of the day, all it took was listening to my intuition, trusting the Universe, and showing up for myself.