My High Council of Jedi Knights

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There is a PHENOMENAL book out there for anyone stuck in the corporate world who wants to start exploring their options for getting out. It’s called Escape from Cubicle Nation by Pamela Slim. I first read this book when a fellow rebel coworker handed it to me about 2 years ago. Little did I know it would serve as my roadmap this whole time, until I could finally make the jump. I’m sure I’ll be talking about this book a lot more, cause it’s fab and it’s been a serious gamechanger for me.

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In one of the chapters Pam talks about forming a High Council of Jedi Knights (her way of saying a support group) before you leave. There’s a lot more to it than I’m explaining but her point is that you need people you can call when you start doubting yourself and everything you’re doing. People who can pull you out of a rut. People you can trust to help you grow your new ideas.

As I’ve been preparing for my own big send-off, I’ve been keeping this thought in the back of my mind. Who is an eternal supporter? Who is a negative nancy? Who is old school and just can’t understand why I would want to leave a cush office job (…DAD!). Lots to think about as I assemble my council. Then tonight a sad thing happened…someone I thought was on my ‘eternal supporter’ list threw me for a loop and I had to remove him from the council (yeah, I’m elitist like that). Here’s what happened…

I was reading before bed when all the sudden GENIUS struck! My mind was racing and one idea starting snowballing into brilliance. It was one of those moments where 10 minutes went by before I realized my eyes were at the bottom of the page, but I had NO idea what I just read because I was in a daydream fog (this happens all the time, btw). I put down my book and started brainstorming. I got up and started googling. It was a moment of clarity and I felt like I had a new (and awesome!) chunk of my future business plan worked out. I was SO beyond excited. I felt like I had the key to success, in my brain and in my plan. I of course couldn’t sleep after this, so I called a friend who I knew would be up.

With a shortness of breath, and extreme enthusiasm, I told him what I had discovered. I was half working through new ideas/half trying to catch him up on my discovery. I couldn’t slow down and I wouldn’t shut up. At the end I said, “I just KNOW this is going to work!” šŸ™‚ šŸ™‚ šŸ™‚

And you know what he said?

“Well, I hope it works out, you know there are a lot of curveballs that life could throw at you.”

Huh? Wasn’t expecting that! Can’t you just be as excited as me? In zero seconds flat I was heartbroken and deflated. I went from floating in the clouds to being anchored into the cement pavement. This particular person has that effect on me. We talked some more and I started to get the sense that this person not only disliked my idea, but he really didn’t believe in me and my potential as an entrepreneur. Well, if I couldn’t sleep before, I REALLY couldn’t sleep now. I was so heartbroken.

Let me tell you a little backstory here. When I was a freshman in college I was dating a musician. We were starting to go our separate ways and he didn’t understand why I wanted to become a businesswoman and why I was going down a different path. During one tense moment he said, “You know, you have to be smart to become an engineer. It’s HARD. Are you sure you want to do this? You have to be really smart to get through it.” Really smart? um, excuse me! What are you implying here, buddy? He didn’t know it at the time, but he planted a little seed inside me that would serve as FUEL TO THE FIRE over the next 4 years. I’m not kidding. That one comment, unbeknownst to him, set me off on a warpath. I was going to get that f$%ing degree even if it killed me. Smart enough??? It didn’t matter how miserable I was, or how much I hated my classes, I had a point to prove. I didn’t want to fail on this one. Even long after we broke up, I wasn’t about to let him be right.

So I got that degree. I made sure of it. B.S. Computer Engineering. I was proud. And, just so there wasn’t ANY doubt, I went ahead and got a master’s degree too (also in engineering). I’m not trying to brag here, but I am trying to give you a clue into my kooky head and explain how strong my determination is when someone doubts me. I flip the switch, and it becomes a life mission.

(of course I should mention, his comment obviously wasn’t the ONLY reason I got the degree. please. I’m not THAT pathetic.)

Now, that same feeling has resurfaced with business-doubter-man. The second I felt his doubt…the rage started.

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I knew it was coming. At first I was sad, and then I remembered. This is just fuel to the fire. And you know what? When I do achieve success in running my own business, he will be the type of guy to come back and say “Oh, you got lucky. You caught a lucky break.” WRONG. He hopes that I make it and then he says it’s lucky if I do. Hope and luck. As my grad school accounting professor drilled into my head: “HOPE IS NOT A PLAN!”

I do have a plan. And I wanted to tell him I’m not an idiot. I’m getting my ducks in a row. I’ve built a financial cushion for this journey. I’ve written out a plan. I’m taking action every day to change my path but I’m not jumping off a cliff here. I will continue to work my plan and move forward. And when I do achieve my goals, it sure as hell won’t be because of luck. It will be because I’ve earned it, and took risks, and also listened for opportunities. I just got really infuriated by this whole notion!

Anyway. Leaving with a quote this time.

“Believe in yourself, because if you don’t, no one will.”

(I think this was from Marilyn Monroe, but google did not confirm, so I might have just made it up.)

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