It was 3 AM. I heard my alarm in the other room. My left foot, followed by the right, climbed out of bed and walked quietly past my children’s bedroom to silence my watch’s alarm.
On most mornings, I am out of bed early. Monday was an exception to my morning routine because I had plans to travel. By 4:30 I finished packing my last-minute items and walked outside to wait for a cab. Without any traffic, we arrived at the airport in twenty minutes.
I traveled from Mazatlán to Mexico City to Atlanta, before arriving at my destination in Lexington. It was a long day filled with flights. I was exhausted and ready to get to my hotel room for some much-needed rest. As other passengers who sat behind me pushed their way through the aisle, I sat and waited for an opportunity to stand and grab my bags. After picking up my carry-on bags, I headed to the baggage claim to get the Capoeira instrument called a berimbau that I often use whenever I teach a class or address an audience.
When I arrived at the baggage claim, I stood in anticipation with the other passengers. Shortly after, I heard a bell that is typical for airports to use when luggage arrives at the carousel, immediately followed by a secondary bell, similar to the sounds heard at a horse derby. That was my official welcome to Kentucky.
After grabbing my instrument, I left the airport in search of a taxi. The instructions I received when the travel arrangements were made on my behalf, indicated that taxis are available at the curb. A yellow cab pulled up, and I climbed into the back seat for a ride to my hotel. After about three minutes, we turned down a street titled “Man o’ War.”
I whispered to myself, “Man at war fits this season in my life.”
I went to Kentucky for a job talk that would require me to move with my family from Mexico to the United States. For the past two years, I have occasionally felt like a man at war through strengthening the disciplined required to create location independent business abroad. A significant portion of my days involves creating content, emailing potential publishers, applying for academic jobs, and sending consulting pitches to companies and schools.
While I find my entrepreneurial work rewarding, there is also a big part of me that misses the consistent and tangible impact I made daily in the classroom and my business services in Chicago.
I had students in K-12 schools and universities before we decided to leave. My classes covered identity politics, career choices, educational policy, and Capoeira. The work was meaningful, and it was difficult to say goodbye. But I believed the impact I desired to make could not be bound by working for someone else. I needed to quit my job and focus on my business.
Lisa Nichols wrote a book called Abundance Now that has helped me to make sense of this potential transition in our lives. Among other ideas, she suggests that we re-frame our ideas of jobs and see them as investors in our future. Her encouraging words and strategies give me hope that employment can offer opportunities for consistent impact, influence, and growth.
If you are reading this and thinking about quitting your job, I want you to stop and ask yourself—are you prepared to live on your savings for a minimum of one year? Yes, it’s possible your business may thrive within the first six months. It could also take a year or more to build a solid customer base. Another reality is that most companies fail within the first year.
It takes the discipline of a man or woman at war to be successful in entrepreneurialism.
Over these past two years, in this process of dedicating myself to full-time business ownership, my strong work ethic was elevated. I hired business coaches and continued to push myself every day to learn and grow to improve my products and services. Although it looks promising that I may return to my roles of an employee during the day and employer at night, I have not surrendered.
To learn more about how I developed this mindset, visit this link and purchase my first book!
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