It was the week of my fifth anniversary working for myself as a contracting consultant.
I found myself in a meeting room consulting a CEO and his entire executive team. To consult this caliber of a group was a career first for me and pretty synchronistic for it to occur during my fifth anniversary week.
What I was most blown away by wasn't the titles of these people in the room or the special access I needed to be on the 3rd floor of their headquarters, it was that I was in the same room with people who played at a certain level, at a certain big level. To be a Vice President or the CEO of a global billion-dollar company requires you to embody certain characteristics. And the fact that I was at a place to have a seat at their table meant I was playing at a level that was close enough to theirs. And that's what I was most proud of.
As proud and excited as I was, part of me felt intimidated, like, "Who was I to be in that room?" I don't have an MBA. Sometimes I have to make up what I tell clients because I have no idea what the "right" response is and yet, I was the one chosen to be in that room. Because I belonged there, just as I was. To make things even sweeter, my hourly rate was the highest it's ever been (wins on wins on wins).
As I celebrate these milestones and look back over the last five years of working for myself, there are a few things I've learned about Life, as its our greatest teacher.
Lesson 1: Life always, always has your best interest and highest good at heart.
It may not always feel this way, but Life truly does have your back - all the time.
As a contractor, I never know when my next project will come once the last one ends. Contract consulting is like having to find a new job every 2 - 18 months. And as someone who has a preference for certainty, this can be (and is) terrifying at times because I don't know how long I'll be without a paycheck.
We often fear the unknown, but working for myself has taught me to trust. And not just trust as a whole, but to trust in something bigger than me. Because, in my experience, each time a project has ended, a new and better opportunity has always showed up at just the right time. Not only has it shown up at just the right time, but it usually requires little job hunting on my end. And it's always at a higher hourly rate than the previous project.
Life always catches me and has my back, every single time, without fail.
Lesson 2: The amount of money one makes tends to be in direct proportion to their personal growth.
While I'm blessed that my work usually comes to me with little to no job hunting efforts, I still put in the work, daily. But, the work isn't the kind of work most people think of when it comes to advancing their career.
I rarely network (as an introvert, networking and small talk are my version of hell). I don't actively seek business leads. And I don't send out my resume very often.
The work I do put in is on myself. I work on myself like it's my hobby. From my physical health, to having fulfilling relationships, to improving my relationship with money, to living authentically, and stretching my previous capacities in all aspects of Life. Working on myself isn't a sometimes thing. It's intentional, it's daily, it's a way of being.
Growth and transformation aren't just about trying to become something else. It's also embracing and nourishing who and what we already are.
And as I've made me my favorite hobby, I lived into the version of myself that would land me in the same room with a CEO and his executive team at my highest hourly rate to date.
Lesson 3: Life uses our current circumstances as vehicles for growth.
Often times, we think it's about the job or the relationship or whatever the circumstance may be. But our circumstances are disguised opportunities for our growth.
Everything in Life is a mirror reflecting something back to us. We may or may not like what we see, but it is showing us something. It's what we do with what we see that houses the potential.
Five years ago, I was unexpectedly laid off from my job with a consulting firm. I was devastated and terrified when it happened. But it turned out to be one of the best things to happen to me. Because I chose to see it as an opportunity, I knew that getting laid off was Life's way of helping me move on to better things. And it turned out to be the catalyst that allowed me to work for myself, which had been a dream of mine. Not only did I come out of that working for myself, but I also doubled my income, earning over six figures.
Life has a way of teaching us through our current circumstances. And if we are willing to listen, each circumstance, each moment, each day brings us an opportunity.
Lesson 4: You are worthy and deserving of any seat at any table.
It's not about perfection, it's about growth. Sometimes I feel inadequate. Sometimes I feel that I should be further along in Life. A part of me felt like a fraud being in that meeting room with those executives.
But through the opportunities I've had working for myself, I've learned that wherever I am is because I'm supposed to be there. I can feel insecure and still belong in the same room as a CEO and his executive team. Me, as I am, is worthy of any seat at any table.
In the times when I feel I should be further along or that I shouldn't still be struggling with something, I remind myself of where and what I come from. And from that perspective, I realize I've surpassed every limit my upbringing set me up for. Also from that perspective, I'm able to realize I don't have to be perfect to evolve and grow. I just have to keep evolving and growing.
And Life has its ways of making sure we do just that.
How has your job or business helped you grow? What lessons has it taught you?
As a Business Consultant, Brittney writes to inspire the possibilities in others. She believes what we dream is not only possible, but probable, and the importance of not letting what you come from define you. We often have a sense of what our lives could be, but, sometimes, it takes knowing that it happened for someone else before we actually believe "...wow, that could be me too". Her saviors are yoga, sunshine, audio books, 90s R&B, and flights to distant lands. Connect with her on Facebook and Instagram: @brittney.pappano