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A New Chapter Begins

March 12, 2012

There are two quotes that have been hanging on my bulletin board for many years. These phrases are ones that have gone with me to all my jobs and remind me every day what I’m working toward.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step at a time.” — Lao Tzu

“If your ship hasn’t come in, swim out to it!” — Mary Engelbreit

After many years of reading those pieces of inspiration everyday, I am proud and excited to tell you that I’ve started a new chapter of my life. Today marks the first day I am a self-employed writer and marketing consultant.

Being able to work for myself has been a goal of mine for so many years. But many things have kept me from making the leap. Having enough money was certainly a big one. Scared to leave a stable job was another. And just having the strength to make a big change also played a part of my hesitation.

But for the last few years, I knew this is where my life was heading. I worked tirelessly to build up my writing portfolio. I’ve taken jobs that have helped me learn and grow. I’ve attended business networking workshops and learned how I can be an entrepreneur. It hasn’t been easy. For the past few months, I’ve been essentially working 2 – 3 jobs, along with my full-time job as a speechwriter. Most night I was up working until close to 1 a.m. (Did you notice my posting was more scarce?). I was exhausted a lot of time. I was on the computer when I should have been spending more time with Sophie. But I knew this is what I needed to do. So finally, last month, after thinking, deliberating, having long conversations with Bryan, and evaluating what I really want in my life, I decided that it’s time to make the move to be my own boss.

With this new chapter beginning, I also closed a HUGE chapter of my life. Last Friday was my last day working at San Diego State University. While this may seem to many people as just leaving a job; to me, it was much more. I worked in several different positions at SDSU for the past 14 years. Before that I was an undergraduate student living on campus for four years. I earned both my master’s and bachelor’s degrees from SDSU. This weekend marked the first time in 18 years I have not had an SDSU parking permit in my car.

Bryan and I met as SDSU undergraduate students in 1996. And I grew up with the campus as my father has been working there for 33 years. Needless to say, I never thought I’d leave the campus before he would! I will always have fond memories of the university and my many years there. But I knew in my heart it was time to move on.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the other reason for this change. It’s one word: Sophie. She grows more and more every day and I find myself sad I’m not more a part of her daily life. I wanted more time with her. I want to pick her up before 5 p.m. and take her to school with the other parents. I want to attend her ballet recitals and school performances without guilt and worry about going back to work. I just want to enjoy these years with her because they go by so darn fast!

I told Sophie last month that in March, I would leave my campus job and be able to spend more time with her, drive her to school, and pick her up earlier. I didn’t realize how much it resonated with her until we changed the calendar on March 1 and Sophie said with such joy, “It’s March. Now you get to spend more time with me and take me to school!” Hearing those words, I’m even more certain I did the right thing.

So here I am — my first day of my new venture. I am so excited to write — for me, for small businesses, and publications. I’m excited to put my marketing and social media skills to work. And I also plan to feverishly work to publish my children’s book. Feel free to check out my work website (and don’t hesitate referring me :)).

Now pinned above my desk is a picture of Sophie. Her photo hangs next to the words of Lao Tzu and Mary Engelbreit, who still take up residence on my wall and in my life.

40 Comments leave one →
  1. March 12, 2012 1:40 am

    THAT is absolutely wonderful!!!!!
    I admire your courage and perseverance. Your girl is so lucky. I miss everything my children can offer me because i work 12 hours a day, and that is very sad. Good luck on your new journey!

  2. March 12, 2012 2:40 am

    I did exactly the same thing when my oldest was about Sophie’s age — smartest thing I ever did! It’s a wonderful joyful ride as a work at home writer mom, and I’ve loved every single second! Congratulations Leah!! (And Sophie’s words? I’ve heard the same and similar so many times over the years — my two kids know so well what my choice means not just to me but to them, too.) Happy writing!! 🙂

  3. March 12, 2012 3:06 am

    Congratulations. I admire this decision and confess I am a little jealous. Enjoy your daughter and I wish you the best of success in your new venture.
    Michele

  4. March 12, 2012 3:58 am

    Fantastic Leah! I am so proud of you 🙂 I’m sure there were a lot of nerve-wracking and heartfelt moments that went into this – and there may be more – but you’re right – you’ll never get those moments back and to have more of them with Sophie? Absolutely worth it !!

    Congratulations and Happy 1st day 🙂

    MJ

  5. March 12, 2012 4:19 am

    Congratulations on this decision, this next step, and on your new chapter!! I can feel through your post how much this means to your Mommy Heart 🙂 Have a great day!!

  6. March 12, 2012 5:19 am

    I love this! I am so happy for you that you were able to work hard and get to your goal. It made me tear up when you talked about Sophie being so excited to change the calendar. You’re going to love having more time with her. Congrats! 🙂

  7. March 12, 2012 7:33 am

    Congratulations!! That’s awesome!! I’m jealous! 🙂

  8. March 12, 2012 7:38 am

    Fabulous news! It must have been so scary to make the leap, but with the support of your family and the strength of your dreams behind you, I believe it will be a success. Congratulations!

  9. Lena permalink
    March 12, 2012 7:50 am

    Congrats, congrats, congrats! What a big step for you and your family. I am sure you will have no regrets. Good for you for thinking this through, doing the necessary leg work to prepare and then best of all, taking the plunge! You are right, the time with our little ones does go by so very fast and you can never get it back.

    I will be curious to follow along on this new journey.

  10. March 12, 2012 8:48 am

    I am so so so very excited for you. Change is so scary, but I’m confident that this new life will reap the biggest rewards. Sophie is a lucky girl to have her mama more available without the constraints of a traditional 5 day work week. Happy for you!

  11. March 12, 2012 9:00 am

    WOW Leah, this is a huge step! Congratulations!

  12. Lorena permalink
    March 12, 2012 9:06 am

    You know how excited I am for you. So, best of luck and I’m sure we’ll keep in touch, Leah!

  13. March 12, 2012 9:29 am

    Congratulations, Leah- this is really exciting. I’m happy for your new chapter!

  14. March 12, 2012 10:36 am

    Great news, Leah, and great quote from Mary E. Here’s to new beginnings!

  15. March 12, 2012 12:17 pm

    How exciting, Leah! I did kind of what you did many years ago. After so many years of thinking my living would only go in one direction, I got off that path to tend to issues related to kids and family. But now that that job is done, I get to figure out what’s next again. Writing is part of it. I should get disciplined like you and market the writing skills I used at my profession for so long. Maybe sometime I’ll check in to see what steps you took to move in that direction. However, I hope one of the items on your personal agenda is either to write a cookbook or write a book on a thousand things to do with kids on a rainy day. Your blog has those books half written.

  16. Kim LePiane permalink
    March 12, 2012 1:04 pm

    Wahoo Leah!! Brava!! This is just the beginning of some wonderful new adventures! I look forward to hearing all about them!!

  17. March 12, 2012 2:25 pm

    Stupendous—and very brave! I’m so glad you did this for yourself. You don’t want to be looking back in your life ten years from now and saying, “I wish I’d had the courage to follow my dream.”

  18. March 12, 2012 3:26 pm

    Leah, this is absolutely huge. Congratulations girlfriend! I am SO proud of you for working hard to bring this to pass. You did this and you did it for the most admirable reason of all. WELL DONE!!!

  19. March 12, 2012 5:21 pm

    Bravo! This is such a lovely piece of writing! I love the history you gave of being at the University- it’s so touching. You won’t regret being at home- you might miss “work” for a bit and will wonder sometimes how you ever got things done when you were working. Sounds like you have your work life nicely reorganized. Lots of luck!
    I will be changing my blog soon – to link with website- all about book promotion and hopefully way to gain more writing jobs.

  20. March 12, 2012 5:22 pm

    Leah, congratulations on following your dream! 🙂

  21. March 12, 2012 5:28 pm

    congratulations on all the great news!! so happy that you are following your dreams!

  22. March 12, 2012 5:54 pm

    Leah so happy for you. When I started this blog thing you were the first blog I followed. You are amazing and I wish you all the luck in the world!!

  23. March 12, 2012 6:32 pm

    Congratulations! I’m so happy for you and for Sophie. I wish you the best of success. I look forward to hearing the progress of your business and more of fun times with Sophie. I never get tired of reading of her cheerful ventures. 🙂

  24. March 12, 2012 7:00 pm

    congratulations on all the great news!! so happy that you are following your dreams! wishing you nothing but the best and lots of success!!!! 🙂

  25. March 13, 2012 4:17 pm

    Sophie’s reaction was definitely confirmation that you made the right choice, Leah. What a wonderful mother you are! Thank you for setting such a shining example for the rest of us. I hope that if I am ever faced with a decision like this that I will also choose my daughter.

  26. March 13, 2012 4:39 pm

    Congratulations, Leah, and best wishes for success in your new business. I was about to type venture, but writing is hardly a new venture, new venue might be more appropriate. I’m happy for you, Bryan and of course, Sophie!
    Janet

  27. March 13, 2012 10:13 pm

    I want to thank you all so very much for the wonderful comments. It truly means so much to me! I am blessed to have all of your wonderful support. Thank you!

  28. March 15, 2012 8:53 am

    Congratulations! That is HUGE news and I know you’ll be successful! I am just thrilled for you!

  29. March 17, 2012 8:59 pm

    So exciting! New chapters are important for all of us. Kudos for realizing what your needs are and MAKING them happen. Really.

  30. March 18, 2012 10:19 pm

    Congratulations! You should be proud! I’m happy for you. Just reading about Sophie’s reaction, you have to know that this is the right path for you. Keep us posted.

  31. March 19, 2012 10:08 am

    A big CONGRATS! I love hearing your daughter so happy for the time you guyz
    will get to spend with one another. You can never get those moments back.
    Work well and love well, it’s the best life plan!

  32. March 20, 2012 11:32 am

    That is so exciting, Leah. I’m very inspired by your choice and by your ability to recognize what was best for you and your family. I’m sure you have many happy days ahead!

  33. April 1, 2012 2:34 pm

    I wish you well on your new journey!

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