Changing your work-life to welcome more freedom and fulfillment is a process and a journey. Here, every month, we will share stories of women who are doing it. Real stories, real transformation. This is a virtual treasure chest -- full of the challenges, struggles, lessons and insights of others -- which you can use to enrich your own path.
This month’s featured “woman on purpose” is Amanda Johnson a former management consultant who launched her own business as a teacher and author. She’s currently traveling the world with her partner while blogging and leading online courses to help recovering perfectionists turn their inner critic into their biggest ally.
Describe the big shift you’ve made in your work-life. What led you to that change?
I went from consulting for Accenture to working for a start-up to launching my own business as a teacher and author. The shift for me to leave my corporate job to pursue something else wasn’t a nice, clean, orderly, “know-it-the-moment-I-made-it” type shift. My shift happened in phases. And it all was guided by my intuition and by taking leaps (or steps) of faith over and over and over again.
When I first got the impulse to leave my job, I was clear that the current position I was in and the current company I was working with was a total misalignment and mismatch of skills, desires, mission, and how I wanted to utilize my gifts. This was the first time I felt so strongly about that (and this was a little over 2 years ago). I decided to hire a coach to help me explore my creativity and did so before having a clear sense of what else I wanted—I just knew what I was doing wasn’t it. The first piece of advice she gave me (which helped tremendously) was to stop focusing on what I wanted to leave and shift my focus to what I wanted to create or do moving forward. This perspective allowed me to feel less bitter, resentful, and helpless as I continued with my job. And then, as if by magic (which I now believe is kind of what it was) an opportunity presented itself to me to leave the job gracefully and with absolutely no hard feelings or burnt bridges. It was extraordinary how easy it felt. I mean, I still had a few doubts to work through and there was the fear of “what will they say?” or “what will I do next?” but that’s normal. It was so clear to me that this is what I was supposed to do and when I listened to that voice (and not the voices filled with fear and scarcity and “what if’s”), everything went so smoothly. This was the start of the shift for me.
The rest happened in phases. I continued to take one step forward into the unknown. I didn’t know what business I was going to create or what I would ultimately do but I started to practice what it felt like to Trust that everything would be okay and not resort to fearful or scarcity-minded solutions.
For almost two years now, I’ve been taking one faithful step after another as I continue to create my work in the world and choose how I want to show up and serve others. It is an ongoing process and a shift that is still taking place. But the first step was by far the most important as it set me up for the thousands of other steps I’ve taken since then.
What were you most fearful of in making that change?
For me, the most fearful part was knowing how I was going to support myself financially. Now, I’m someone who started her career as a “starving artist” (it’s so funny to me how we so happily adopt that term for ourselves!), so not having much or “making do” was always quite comfortable and natural to me. But I now had over 4 years of experience where money was flowing in very regularly and quite comfortably and allowing me to live a lifestyle I hadn’t been able to in the past. So, now as I looked at the possibility of leaving my job and pursuing my own passions or interests, I was quite fearful that I wouldn’t know how to earn money. Interestingly (and I think worth noting here), my business still hasn’t supported me in that way. However, I have found so many other ways to be supported and the Universe hasn’t let me down yet. Early on I promised myself that I would not let my fearful thoughts be the decision-maker. I acknowledged my fear, I honored my fear, and then I made a choice based on love and an abundance-mentality. And, while the abundance and support have come in various forms and possibly not how I would have imagined, I’ve always been supported and found a way to make it work.
How is your experience of life different now?
My experience of life is one of Trust, Abundance, and Love. I see how the Universe supports each and every thing I do so long as I do it from these places. I’ve also started to experience just how surprising life can be and how I could have never imagined or planned for where I’d be today. I didn’t need to know exactly how I was going to get from point A to point B (or point Z for some of us over-planners); I just needed to know that I wanted to take a step in that direction and Trust that the way would be revealed. And it was every single time. I have such a deep level of Trust for myself and for the Universe now than I ever had before. And I owe it to being willing to take some big leaps of faith and some smaller steps of faith over and over and over again. It’s like strengthening a muscle—choosing to Trust is something to be repeated over and over again, each time adding a bit more “weight” as you stretch yourself to Trust in bigger and bigger ways.
What’s your biggest concern in this moment?
Financial support continues to be a concern. It’s fun to get to share my experience because it serves as such a powerful reminder to me just how mysterious the Universe works and how I have never been let down so there is no need to think that wouldn’t be the case now and in the future. I believe so long as I have done my work to open myself to the flow of prosperity (which I believe I am doing), then I will not simply be supported by the Universe, but I will ultimately thrive in a way I have yet to be shown. And I do not know the timeframe, nor is that important. My faith wants to be challenged and this may be where the concern comes from—that my faith is being tested and that this is my time to remain even stronger and more devoted to what I’m here to do and do so from a place of Love, Trust, and an Abundance-mentality.
What are you most excited about going forward?
I am currently most excited about having created an online program, Being Good with Being You, that offers others the process I used to get to this place of Trust and Love for myself and the Universe. I decided to create this online, self-paced course since I find that is how I have most enjoyed learning and growing over the course of my life. And this way people can join whenever they are feeling called to do so on an ongoing basis. I’m also really excited about the book I am writing this year. I have a “mini” version of it already written (and available for free on my website) and I look forward to taking those ideas of perfectionism and being good with being me to a whole new level and see just how healing that can be for me (and possibly others as a side-effect).
If you could travel back in time, what’s one piece of advice that your current self wishes that you could tell your former self?
Trust yourself. While there are many good pieces of advice out there for how to build a business or go after your dreams, you are ultimately the only one who knows what is True for you. Feel free to learn from others but be sure not to fall into the trap that they’re doing it “right” and your way is “wrong.” Do what feels light and expansive and not what you think you “should” do.
About Amanda Johnson
Amanda Johnson @beingamandaj is a writer, teacher, guide, and soulful inquirer who helps recovering perfectionists and over-thinkers turn their critic into their ally so they can love the life they have and have the life they want. She shares her message in weekly videos, group training programs, and writing so people can recognize their wholeness and start being good with being them. Visit her website and Facebook page for more information.