It's 2013. I finished graduate school, my marriage of 12 years had just ended, and I was back in the workforce full-time for the first time since 2004, back in the Bay Area after many years in Sacramento, and with two young children to raise as a single mom.
It took a bit of time to get my footing in the world of technical recruiting; it was a pivot, and the jargon of Silicon Valley and software engineering was a whole new world to me.
I moved into 2014 strong with a career development plan to roll out, testing the waters on my idea fo job search meetups with Women Who Code in San Francisco.
I met hundreds of members, we talked about job search, interview preparation, the challenges of being the "only" woman, and so much more. We bonded, I helped a lot of people get focused and get connected, and a year later moved into a role as Director of Career Services at Hackbright Academy, the coding bootcamp for women. To say I met amazing people via those organizations would be an understatement- they're the core of my network now.
I had a Big Idea- I had just joined a private practice, Career & Personal Development Institute, in San Francisco, and hoped to move into that full-time eventually. I overextended myself, running the career services program at Hackbright Academy, moving through the company being acquired, growing my private practice, and keeping my people at home surviving and thriving. I said yes to everything, responded to everything way too fast, and didn't slow down, and it took a toll on my physical and mental health. I burned out, big time.
When my position was eliminated in 2017, I was done. It took me months to rebuild my motivation, drive and stamina in the tech world; I'll spare you the details of the awful interviews I endured and the sense of loss over a role I loved and was challenged by. It was clear I hadn't set up boundaries, and I needed time to recover. It took over a year.
From 2013- 2018, I said yes to almost everything- all the free events I could speak at, all the free consultations I could offer to potential clients, and more. However, I don't regret a single yes. I wish I had set up better boundaries to manage all those commitments I made, but wow, did they pay off! If I had a coach or therapist that I saw regularly, I probably could have set up a better framework for myself and my business, and I wish I had slowed down and done that, in retrospect. Oh, the irony! Even coaches need coaches.
Today I have a private practice that's nearly 100% thriving on referrals. I have the most satisfying work yet running career services for an organization that has my heart, Tech Ladies. (I hope you'll join if you're not already a member!) I have boundaries at home and work, and it makes a huge difference. I learned some big lessons and I'm so much better because of it.
Moral of the story- plant seeds for your Big Idea. Reverse engineer a plan to get there by setting goals. Create a roadmap to get there, and build in some accountability for yourself along the way. And please, ask for help and build in support for yourself- I still offer those free consultations, so take advantage. I'd love to help you with your Big Idea.