Friday marks the beginning of a new chapter of my life as I leave the IT industry – and steady employment – after 11.5 years working for a major multinational. This begins my life as a full-time professional coach and (laughs!) athlete and also, in due time, therapist as I am finishing off my diploma at the NTC to add another string to my bow and help take care of runners from ‘cradle to grave’.
I accepted redundancy and look forward to now ploughing 100% of my energy and enthusiasm into one project. Having my moonlight projects ongoing since 2011 means I don’t go into entrepreneurship with any blue-eyed naïve optimism but with resolute realism. Being an entrepreneur is no easy ride but it suits where my philosophical leanings have evolved over time. I like the idea of being my own boss for the same reasons I coach personal empowerment. I believe the future will see smaller and smaller companies and more sole traders as technology blows away a lot of the barriers that currently give large companies a huge advantage. I don’t expect everyone to be an entrepreneur or all big companies to disappear – merely a marked shift in the direction.
One of my favourite writers Nassim Taleb wrote: ‘nothing is more addictive than a monthly salary’ and he is right. At the end of the day our economic system is designed so that money follows value except where organisations become so large that transparency becomes difficult or money too easily available (or where ethical practices allow people to gain value at the expense of others). But I like the simplicity of this mechanic: provide value, find solutions for people and we can all have job security even when ‘working for ourselves’. The trick, of course, is to consistently provide value and to consistently find solutions. Fail to do so and ‘the market’ will discard you.
This Friday we leave for a family trip to Denmark for one week and then my new life begins when I return. I will be chronicling this part of my story on a blog called ‘Employee 2 Entrepreneur’ to keep the focus of my other sites running-focused. I want to write about this transition because I feel all my coaching and experiences in relation to providing coaching are linked – it’s about empowerment and self-fulfilment. When I chose my Bachelor’s Degree, I did so on the basis of a financial calculation and the same logic took hold when I choose my MsC degree. In both cases I discarded personal passion in favour of money. I have no regrets: I would not have my current life – including my strong young son and all-round nice existence in the Wicklow Mountains, if I had not made these ‘mistakes’.
But as the years passed, I felt I needed to do something more vocational. I was no longer the same person who registered for Business College. The office environment didn’t agree with my health or sentiment anymore and I would catch myself looking out the window and thinking ‘do you want to spend almost a third of your life looking out at the real world from behind a glass window and see it go by?’ Once that thought took root there was no going back. Incidentally it all started when a co-worker told me to read Tim Ferris’ the ‘4-hour work week’. Ironically, I never worked more in my life than after reading that book – free time as a concept ceased to exist as hours after work had to be filled up with planning and working on a new existence. Over the years I learnt to balance that better but I also learnt that the real dream behind the ‘4-hour work week’ is not the ‘4 hours’ but rather Tim Ferris’ statement that the true riches in the modern world are: mobility, time and money. We all need the latter but without the other two they are worthless. I am not really interested in a ‘4-hour work week’ but rather the old adage to ‘do what you love and you will never work a day in your life’.
I have a clear idea of the changes I want to see in the world – most are currently focused around running and physical health but as I get older I hope to progress onwards to some other things which relate naturally to that. But you cannot do everything at once. And, in coaching the '4-hour rule' just doesn't work because it is a field where you can only truly excel if you give it everything.
So as a final word in this little entry: if you are interested in following the ‘business’ and ‘personal’ side of my work – rather than the running and sports-specific part, then keep an eye on the ‘Employee toEntrepreneur Blog’ - although the site is not entirely finished yet so bear with me until then - I will talk about all my personal experiences and opinions on entrepreneurship and especially as it relates to a coaching business. Who knows – it may be a short journey but not if I have my way.