On May 1, 2015, I turned in my office key and left teaching at a university. Everybody asked the same question, “Where are you going?” and I knew they meant “Where are you going to teach?” but it’s a really good question in the bigger sense and I didn’t have an answer either way. The only thing I knew for certain was what I was going away from.
A part of me wishes I could have been content with the structure of academia and the consistency of the paychecks because life would be much more steady that way. That’s a tiny part though, and not what makes me feel like me. The me that I listened to felt stifled by the constraints of academia and felt that there’s more to life than consistency. I took a leap into the unknown to do exactly what I wanted to do so I wouldn’t have any regrets not trying.
What I wanted to do was teach, but not in the traditional way. I wanted to teach people who really wanted to learn because they valued the difference it could make in their lives, not because it was a requirement seen as an obstacle on their way to graduation. I had the opportunity to work with people both within and outside of academia who had the mindset of continuous learning, to keep improving themselves and their quality of life. These people chose to work with me to improve their communication skills to express themselves more clearly and reach their goals. That’s when I knew that’s exactly who I want to work with and I had to leave academia to go find them or help them find me.
What people don’t usually mention with taking a big leap is that for a while you only feel like you’re falling. I realized I had no idea what I’m doing in any area of business. I had only taught speaking skills, I had no experience with marketing or accounting. Still, people found me and it was a lot of word-of-mouth that led them to me. I have to thank a lot of my former students who recommended me to their friends when they needed to prepare for presentations and interviews. That was a real boost to get started and gave me the confidence to keep going.
I had always thought that I wanted to move my business online so I wouldn’t be rooted in one place. I wanted to be able to move anywhere and still keep my business. That was my 5-year plan in 2019, then 2020 moved that up to a right-now plan. I wasn’t ready and business took a hit, but there are some good things I probably wouldn’t have done otherwise. I had time to write my book I always wanted to write (still not published, but I’ll keep you posted) and I moved my Meetup group online (now meeting three times a week). I’m still working on making online courses, I know I’ve said that for the past couple of years now, but it will happen.
The timing of this business anniversary coincides with my oldest niece’s choosing where to go to university. She really wrestled with the decision. Since I’m someone who may not deliberate as much as I should, my only advice was what I give myself - trust your gut. Sometimes, all the logical pros and cons don’t add up to give you a clear sign. You have to put faith in yourself and the universe that you’ll be okay no matter what happens and take that leap. Taking that leap is difficult, but for me, it’s not as difficult as living with the regret of not taking it.
So here I am, eight years later, no where near where I thought I’d be with my own business by now, but still glad I’m doing it and continuing to leap forward.
Happy Anniversary to Adastra Speech! Congratulations, Dr. Christi and to those who use her services to better their lives & attain their goals!
There are job, career and calling. I think what you did Christi, was to follow your calling. This is so inspiring, thank you Christi for the encouragement and boldness you brought into my heart through this story.