A lot of you have been asking me how I went from slinging paper and arguing cases as a lawyer, to fully supporting myself financially in the health and wellness space. (The other popular question involves my eating disorder recovery, which you can read about here and here). The answer is, there were a lot of bumps, falls, set backs, and tears shed along the way, and it’s still not easy. It’s a DAILY HUSTLE to stay afloat. But with planning and commitment, it’s very doable, and extremely fulfilling.
When someone asks what I do for a living now, it’s a tough question to answer because the truth is, I wear many different hats and I alternate back and forth between all of them during the day.
Call me what you want; a content creator for healthy food brands, a functional nutrition coach, recipe developer, social media influencer, social media consultant, blogger, Instagram junkie, wannabe blogger, whatever. Talk to me in six months from now, I’ll probably have a few other things to add to my list, because the ability to change and evolve is what fuels and drives me, as well as the fact that I’m no longer a slave to a desk job and fitting into a mold that someone else carved out for me.
I AM FINALLY MY OWN BOSS. AND YOU CAN BE, TOO.
Ask yourself what you would want to do with your life if money wasn’t an issue. Why? Because I think it’s usually the other way around. We seek out jobs for the financial aspect, and oftentimes put our passions second when it should be the other way around. When you find what you love, and have the passion, drive, and motivation to pursue it, then the financial success follows.
You’re probably thinking, but MONEY IS AN ISSUE. I’m not telling you to go out and quit your job. Money was of course an issue for me, too, but for purposes of going through this exercise, remove money from the equation so it doesn’t get in the way of manifesting your passion.
Just answer the question. When I was practicing law, I knew I didn’t want to be practicing law, but I also wasn’t sure what else I wanted to do. After all, I just took out crazy student loans to fund my education. And I was so bogged down in school books for so long, I didn’t even know what else I was good at, or could be good at.
The one thing I did know, however, is that I loved fitness, yoga, healthy food (though I was battling an eating disorder), discovering new health & wellness products, and helping others. In going through this exercise, I thought I wanted to be a yoga teacher, and decided to try that out.
It took me six months to save for the training, but I cut back on a lot of things to save up for it. I also had to sneak out of the office early to attend several of my yoga training sessions, but in the law world, no one really cares as long as you got the job done and bill your hours.
So, if you are in a job where you MUST stay till a certain set time, talk to your boss. Be extremely candid and say that you have invested in X, and in order to make that happen, you are requesting to be off by X time so that you can attend. Make sure you reiterate that you will still get your job done and do it well. Not all bosses will understand of course. If yours doesn’t, get creative. Find something that will work within your schedule. If it’s a course that you want to take, look for something on the weekend, or something you can do at the end of the workday. None of this is going to be easy, but the soul searching process is where you learn to dabble in different things and through trial and error, find what you love.
I completed 300 hours of yoga teacher training. And what I learned at the end of the process was that I did NOT want to teach yoga after all. My classes were filled to the brim, but I learned that I loved being a student more than a teacher. Was it a waste of money? Hell no. It was an incredible learning experience that helped me become more confident and find my own voice…something extremely important in my work now.
So what would you do if money wasn’t an issue? Or at the very least, what do you THINK you want to do?
I intentionally put this step second, because it’s really important. If you are reading this, most likely you are looking for answers asap, and to start implementing them asap, so you can get to where you want to go, asap. That was me to a “T,” as patience isn’t in my DNA. But the truth is, being impatient can lead to missteps that delay you even further. There is no such thing as a mistake if you learn from it, but when you are looking to make a career change, be patient and trust the process.
As you are figuring out what you want to do, don’t be afraid to reach out to people with jobs that seem interesting to you. Ask if you can buy them a cup of coffee and pick their brains for a few minutes. You might get rejected a few times because every one is so busy, but trust me when I tell you this, more people will say yes than no, and carve out some time. Why? Because helping others feels good, and they, too, were probably in the same shoes as you just a few years earlier. And also because people like to hear themselves talk, it’s proven fact 🙂
I used to be very bad at asking others to help or advice, because I didn’t want to be rejected, and as a result, I delayed my own process of identifying my passion, because I thought I could figure it out on my own. You should never be ashamed. It’s extremely empowering to walk away from several of these conversations with new knowledge, insights, and hopefully additional clarity on what you want to do with you career.
You know the saying, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”? That saying needs to be at the forefront of your head from the time you wake up each day until the time you go to bed at night. If you set large goals, they seem scary and daunting, and studies have shown time and time again, that people are more likely to give up when the tasks at hand seem too far out of reach. So, if you’re an engineer and have decided that you want to be a dietician or a nutritionist, don’t let the fact that it’s a complete 180 change deter you from pursuing it. Break it down step by step, and make a detailed list of the steps you need to take to get there. START WITH STEP 1, and don’t get discouraged no matter how long it takes to cross off steps on your list; I promise the life on the other side is super rewarding and waiting for you!
When I was thinking about leaving my career in law, I couldn’t just quit without another relatively, high paying, income generating job in place. So the very first thing I did was find a LESS STRESSFUL job, so that I could open up space in my life to get the additional training I needed to find my passions and explore. I was working so hard as a lawyer — often until 1am — that there was simply no time to even brainstorm or do all the things I’m recommending to you above. I needed to plan my exit.
And so it began. I left my career as an employment lawyer and went into Human Resources. Not that it was an easy job, but it had more flexibility built in and more normal job hours. The career in HR wasn’t glamorous, and didn’t fulfill me, but it was FINE, I was good at it, and it was a means to an end. I was able to earn an income while doing less, which gave me a LIFE. I was able to go to dinner with friends, travel and explore on the weekends, and GET TO KNOW MYSELF BETTER.
What’s your plan?
There were countless sacrifices that I made along the way, most of them financial. I learned that I had to cut back on some “luxuries” that I once had easy access to, in the name of reaching the end goal. Remember, nothing comes easy.
You’ve probably heard that word so many times, maybe it even makes you sick to hear it. But it’s true. You have to DREAM, VISION, MANIFEST what you want. When your vision is so firmly planted in your head, it guides every single thing you do, and it’s INEVITABLE that you will find your way.
When it comes to building my Instagram brand, I started my account while I had my career in HR, and I started growing it and working with brands while I had my full time job. That’s no easy feat, as it often times required me hiding in the bathroom to post my photos, and coming home from work and creating content after the kids went to sleep when lighting sucked ass. But I did what I had to do because I wanted it bad enough, and I was consistent with it. And as I started to grow my own brand and getting a grasp on social media, I started expanding into the world of doing the social media for brands. See, things evolve and HAPPEN.
Until one day, I was no longer doing the side hustle. I am doing was REAL HUSTLE. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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This is so my situation right now! It’s encouraging to hear how, with all the hard work, you parlayed these steps into something you dreamt of doing! I appreciate the breakdown. Currently, I’m about to graduate from IIN as well as (fingers crossed) working on creating a food product. There is a lot of doubt that creeps in, but I’m determined to stay on track! Thanks for inspiration 😉
Love reading about this stuff! Thanks for sharing your story and suggestions!