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 Cindie Christiansen, a graduate of Copenhagen Business School who previously worked 3 years at IBM. She’s is now the owner of the company Foods of Copenhagen and creates culinary walking tours for foodies and travelers in Copenhagen.
Describe the big shift you’ve made in your work-life. What led you to that change?
I was about to graduate from my Master’s degree program, and I was working for IBM. While I was a student, I always thought that I wanted to have a career in marketing. At that time, I had the idea that the definition of success was to work for a big company and earn big money!
Like many other students, I was writing several job applications, as “real life” was waiting as soon as I had turned in my Master’s thesis. However, it was really difficult for me to write why I wanted the jobs I was applying for. As I was going to interviews, I felt “caught” in a feeling I did not like. I did not really know at the time what this feeling was about; today I know. I was so afraid of ending up behind a desk and never having the time to think about what I wanted to create with my life.
One day, writing my thesis, I met a friend in a café and I told him about my frustrations. I remember him saying, "Cindie find something that you are really interested in and just get started!" It sounds easy, but I had been so focused on finding a job, and at that time, my biggest fear was not having a job. I never thought about creating my own job. For some reason, I found the courage from this talk, and I was ready to think differently, and I wrote two things down that I was really passionate about: Food and CrossFit.
I did not have an idea for my own company, but I always loved food trucks and began to research the different food truck projects in Copenhagen. I found a start-up company that was doing pop-up dinners and food trucks, which played a big part in the change. I became part of this company, and I was so extremely passionate about it. However, I was not making any money. Since I competed in CrossFit for many years, I decided to stay in the start-up company doing pop-up dinners and earn money as a personal trainer on the side at the same time. It was different from where I came from, but it was fantastic. I met amazing people during this year who later inspired me to do my own culinary walking tours.
Back then, I had no idea that I had that potential in me - to create, own, and run my own company. Today, I do not understand how I could live and work any other way. :)
What were you most fearful of in making that change?
In the beginning, I needed to learn to live another life where you do not have a monthly salary. My economic security was my biggest worry. I seriously woke up during the night dreaming about living on the streets because I could not pay my rent. With time, I found my way, and these worries slowly disappeared. The weirdest thing is, when I was working for the start-up company, I had very little money, as I was just beginning to teach people CrossFit on the side, but somehow I felt that I had much more money than ever.
Today, almost one year after starting Foods of Copenhagen, I have not really felt fear, and I feel motivated and energized to create my own life. Many people ask me “ What will you do if it does not work with Foods of Copenhagen?” I really don’t know the answer to that because I want it to succeed. And that is what I am focusing on - HOW to succeed, not IF it will succeed.
How is your experience of life different now?
I am much more happy than I was before. With my life and myself. I feel I am in control and can make the life I want to. I also feel much more inspired, and I meet so many great people all the time. I do have a lot of work, but the “stress” around it is very different than before, which is difficult to explain. My work makes so much more sense now.
What’s your biggest concern in this moment?
I really try not to worry too much. It has been one of my biggest weaknesses, as there is always something you can worry about. Deep down my biggest fear is that I do not reach my goals for Foods of Copenhagen. However, I try to use this healthy fear as my motivation.
What are you most excited about going forward?
I am excited about doing my tours and developing Foods of Copenhagen as a business. I want to give people the best food experience in Copenhagen. So I simply have to do the best food tours in Copenhagen! Also, I am very much looking forward to the different new collaborations that are in the pipeline - said in a very corporate language ;-)
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?
Take the time to find out what makes you happy in life - really happy and then make it happen!
About Cindie Christiansen
Cindie is a woman with passion for food, people and unique experiences. She owns the company Foods of Copenhagen and has one ultimate goal with her company: To give her guests an authentic and unforgettable food experience. Follow Cindie by liking her Facebook page, Foods of Copenhagen.