12 Dec Technology and Leadership – Life after Corporate, 12 months in.
I have previously written about leaving corporate after 32 years. I now want to share what it has been like almost a year after leaving my corporate role.
As much as one may plan and anticipate what life would be like after corporate, you have to experience it to truly understand what it feels like. I was advised to take a few months off and call it a sabbatical. No, not me! My previous role had high levels of engagement and mental stimulation which compelled me to become active as early as 3 weeks after my exit from corporate. Since then I have kept “office hours’ each day and even taking leave as if I was in an official role.
I had decided to be very experimental in formulating my new career, one known as a portfolio career – doing multiple things with some synergy between them. My thoughts were to craft a career doing executive coaching, ICT Consulting, public speaking, sitting on boards and even dabbling in technology start-ups.
Well I guess 3 out of 5 are not bad after almost 12 months – executive coaching, public speaking and IT consulting are starting to get traction. Having also joined a company marketing green products has provided another opportunity of giving back alongside my coaching pursuit.
One of my key learnings has been the need to really dig deep in the belief in yourself. Every day is a challenge to motivate yourself especially when you have not gotten an order yet. I had to find mentors/coaches to help me motivate myself everyday – from my wife and my own coach to the likes of Robin Sharma, Anthony Robbins and many others.
One of my key learnings has been the need to really dig deep in the belief in yourself.
A very good practice I got into, which I really struggled with before, was getting into a proper routine of regular exercise. For me, the practice of exercising every weekday as the first thing I did each morning has worked wonders. It gets you pumped up, motivated and energized for the day. Mentally this is one of the best things you could do for yourself whether in employment or on your own. The release of endorphins early in the morning gets you into a positive mood and you feel you can conquer anything during the day.
Having to market and sell your services was a steep learning curve for me. But I took it on with all the energy and perseverance I could muster and it has started paying dividends.
The other big learning curve for me has been the value of having a strong network of people around you. The incredible benefit of an influential network cannot be emphasized enough. People work with people they like and over the years I have built up many good contacts in the industry. You only need a small number of these to come through. On the other hand I have met so many new people in the world of entrepreneurship and even in corporate and therefore my belief in continuous networking is strengthened even further. Opportunities are around you all the time and you now have the tough choice of deciding which ones to pursue and which ones to give a miss.
Opportunities are around you all the time and you now have the tough choice of deciding which ones to pursue and which ones to give a miss.
I guess my tough choices will be which ones I give up as it is becoming more important that I focus my time and really do a great job to attain a high level of success. The trick of choosing the right ones has to be a combination of what I really enjoy doing, helps me in giving back to society and provides a commensurate return.
So what has changed in my attitude towards life and my choice of exiting corporate? I think all corporates work hard at building loyalty amongst staff to the point where you ideally feel and behave like the company is yours and you act with all your being in the interest of the company. To give up an executive level package, perks, status and position in order to exit corporate takes a Herculean effort and willpower to execute on your decision. I have and continue to build my willpower so that I can cope with the daily challenge of staying focused and on course.
Slipping into doubt or even worse, despair is very easy – it takes one negative thought and you slip – so keeping on the path of your goals is fundamental to success. My learning has been that you need to build bullet proof determination and perseverance with a “never give up” attitude. It is not about skills, knowledge, expertise – you can learn and develop these. The real trick is staying power in the face of adversity.