Thursday 31 May 2012

An Entrepreneur Who Failed….to Get a Job

Celebrating Qatar Happening's Anniversary 

People often recall stories using the lead-in “in a previous life”.

These words are oft met with disbelief. But is there any expression to better define our past?  As we move through our personal, family and professional timelines, our stories capture unique moments in our own histories, each painting a distinctive set of circumstances, experiences, friendships; each moment a life of its own.

As I reflect upon my professional past, stories are flushed out with corresponding details of the time:

·      Early 20s; a fresh Physics grad eager to prove myself in a man’s world, putting in my 200% and rising to the top of the pack. Despite the rocketing career momentum, I realize I want to become an entrepreneur,
·      30; I attended all of my son’s school functions, created & lost a tiny life, created another, chaired a non-profit board of directors, ran a small business and simultaneously achieved a 98% average in an entrepreneurship/ marketing program (That’s being a woman),
·      Mid-30s; newcomer to cash strapped developing Muslim country, starting a new career with no field experience or apparent opportunities. Rely upon confidence from a track record of making things happen, a belief in myself, and a nudge from my Mother. Started at rock bottom in an entry level property post paying local monthly wages of $800, built my own property business and later started The Art of Business. A decade of making impossible things possible through vision, determination and leadership for global clients. Build and launch wildly popular brands and titles in the eventually booming economy of Qatar,
·      Mid-forties; time to return home to Ottawa for the kid’s schooling. Seeking a challenging career fit. I find a different challenge than I expect.

Looking from the panoramic of my present sabbatical, I gasp at the energy and passion I put into my career and life moments. Recent days have been quiet, solitary, research filled, drenched in deep thought, reflection and problem solving.  My previous successes have allowed me the privilege of not “having to rush out and work” and the luxury to contemplate how to best contribute my talents to the changing global community.  It’s been a costly and satisfying choice.

I found myself disenchanted, and tripping up at any offer promising less than a nearly impossible challenge.  The thought of getting “stuck” somewhere that I couldn’t thrive horrified me. I misunderstood my own actions and equated my lack of meaningful employment as a failure.  I was horrified that a complete year without “being discovered” and contributing to the world around me could become the norm; that I could get stuck there. My unexpected challenge was embracing the wisdom of a previous life: that I am an entrepreneur AND a challenge junkie.

The only time I truly “fit in” to the world was when I had created that world.  I remain destined to create new inspiring ways to contribute to people’s lives and continue to attract dynamic people into my circles. After a period of self-loathing I now wear a perma-smile thinking of the startup journey ahead and the entrepreneur’s fire warms my soul.

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