Tara Knight is a mover and shaker in the world of Executive Assistants. I met her a few years ago and have admired how she has been an incredible advocate for EAs and PAs.
Tara recently posted an article sharing her recent experience and with her permission I want to share it with you here…
Tara Knight – Executive Assistant to the CIO | Mentor | Speaker | Executive Assistant Advocate
When I left my corporate role in my fancy CBD office and relocated to the beautiful sunshine coast hinterland with my family, I could not wait to get stuck in to building my Virtual Assistant business.
I spent months carefully planning what I wanted my business to look like, I reached out to my network and started to build up my list of clients, I was ready, I was excited, I was dying to bring this vision to life. I worked hard, harder than I had ever worked because this was mine, I could finally say “I did it” It was a dream come true and for a while it was just perfect.
I had the most amazing clients; I was learning new ways of working and being exposed to industries I had only dreamt about getting involved in. I was surrounded by some of the most intelligent and influential people I ever had the privilege of supporting, and I was making great money.
I had the dream – I worked from home and set my own hours, I spent more time with my family then ever before, I played, I had fun and from the outside my life looked exactly like it was supposed to. So why wasn’t I happy??
Outwardly I told everyone life was great, I had my go to line when someone asked about my business and sprouted it off with what I hoped was true meaning and joy. Internally though, I hoped if I said it enough, I would believe it myself.
Then one night with a glass of red in hand I sat down and did something I tell my mentees to do when they are feeling stuck – I journaled. I journaled for hours, I wrote pages and pages of thoughts and feelings. I drew pictures and graphs and tried to map my way out. And it felt good, I felt good, and I thought, after a few more glasses of red that I had it all figured out.
The next morning, I got ready for the day, I expected to feel energised and excited. I was hoping the process of putting it all on paper was enough to bring me back, but nothing had changed. So, I sat down this time with a big cup of coffee and read through what I had written and very quickly I realised what was standing in my way. I was scared. I feared failing and of what people would think of me that I could not see what was right there, written in colourful ink – That VA life was just not for me. And for a minute there I had no idea what to do.
I didn’t want to be a failure; I didn’t want people to think I wasn’t good enough or that I couldn’t make it work. But I also knew that if I continued with this, I wouldn’t be happy. So I decided to try and articulate exactly what it was that I felt I was missing, and that my friends came very easy. I missed the vibe of office life, I missed the connection to an end goal that wasn’t just about money, I missed the buzz and excitement of working collectively as a team and if I’m completely honest I missed being needed in a strategic capacity that only comes from a true working partnership. So, I put on my big girl pants and made a plan, I started looking for my next adventure. Within 20 minutes I came across my current role and decided to go for it.
I was scared, I was nervous and I kept my decision to step away from my business quiet as I applied all my attention and focus on being the successful candidate for this Executive Assistant role. My determination paid off, I got the job and two days in I knew I had made the right move and haven’t looked back.
I was finally brave enough to know what was not for me.
That’s not to say that I don’t still dabble or have a side hustle or 3 on the go because if you know me then you know I love a good excuse to experiment however its no longer ‘the main thing’.
I felt compelled to write this not for me but for you. To know that sometimes you just need to wo/man up and take the plunge. That not everything you do in your working life you are going to be successful in and that sometimes the bravest thing you can do is recognise that and make a change.
Be brave, be courageous but most importantly don’t let the potential of failure stop you from trying something new.
What Tara’s sharing of her experience, and especially her process to get to her decision, showed me was a great example of self-leadership.
Imagine how challenging it would be if Tara hadn’t gone through the reflection, journalling and decision making process, stayed and persevered with her own business. How much more unhappy or unfulfilled would she become?
What a great demonstration of strength of value and character to back herself, make a decision, step up, speak up and show up and now be in an amazing role.
What self-leadership lesson did you take away from Tara’s story? Let me know in the comments below.