What to consider when taking career risksFeatured
Purpose and PassionWhether it be a slow, growing feel of dissatisfaction or a powerful urge to work toward something that excites us, we’ve each felt the desire to step into the unknown and follow our passions. There is lots of fear when taking risks, yet when we turn this fear mindset around, we feel empowered by our own strength and grit. When you align your days with your audacious purpose, there is so much opportunity for you to claim. It’s up to you to manifest and create your wild success. Why am I so passionate about taking career risks? After getting a divorce, I found myself without a job, broke, and supporting my daughter. Circumstances made me take a risk. I knew where I wanted to go, I wanted to help and heal other women via clean food and nature to help them feel good so they could live full lives - but I didn’t know how. I needed time and money first, so I took my first career risk and worked at a tech company in marketing. I worked long hours and it was a lot of grunt work. At night after taking my daughter to bed, I worked on a business plan and concocted lots of food ideas. After five hours of sleep, I did the whole routine again for five years.Eight years later, lots of long work nights, near financial demise and many thoughts wondering if I should keep going, Cofo Provisions, my clean collagen brand, is sold in Whole Foods, Erewhon, and other stores across the country and more importantly, it is helping women feel good inside so they can be outside doing what fills them up. Was it worth it, hell yeah!Whatever career risk you are about to embark on, I recommend to ask yourself the below five questions. These questions helped me get to the finish line. Answering these questions will help guide your path and strengthen your commitment. The road to career risk is not easy, yet if you’ve aligned your career with your ultimate passion, achieving your goal will give you a huge hell-yeah howl (picture YOURSELF on top of the mountain howling like a Strong Wild Woman - I know y’all know this feel). What’s Your Purpose?Finish this statement, “I want to……” Three years ago when I officially started Cofo, I wrote down, “I want to elevate how people feel through food, nature, and community.” This personal purpose guided my decisions building Cofo and kept me inspired and focused when the path took detours.When we decide to take a career risk, there’s lots of ups and downs as well as personal, financial, and possibly start-up business decisions. Having a purpose that guides and keeps you on the critical path is essential. It helps you from getting whiplash and questioning in the middle of the night your commitment to continue the risk. I recommend writing down your purpose every week as an active reminder and inspiration. Why writing vs. reading? Because writing is a kinetic action that is visual and gives extra emphasis to your commitment to work toward your purpose. What Are You Willing To Risk?Along with defining your purpose and end game, it’s important to clearly identify what you are willing to risk. This may change along the way, but it’s good to define what you are willing to lose - or risk so that there are limits to your pursuit. Risks can be categorized into financial, friendships, family time, stability, levels of anxiety, sleep, and physical health. For instance, are you willing to risk certain friendships by those who do not believe in your decision to take a risk? Are you willing to be financially unstable and if so, for how long? If you are starting a business, how much money are you willing to invest and possibly not get back? Are you willing to risk being uncomfortable and vulnerable? For Cofo, I had to risk a job that would give me a stable paycheck and risk losing part of my retirement that I used to invest into Cofo. Taking risks isn’t easy, and it’s not for everyone. To prepare for the transition, define the boundaries of your risks so you can continue to thrive throughout the process. How Will You Balance The Ups & Downs?Taking career risks means you WILL have ups and downs. What’s important is that you stay balanced and ‘one’ with yourself as much as possible. This seems easy, but I found it’s incredibly difficult! For instance, the week I found out we got into Whole Foods, I also learned that I needed new packaging and an FDA product review that cost LOTS of money that I didn’t have. Without techniques for me to stay balanced, I would have lost my oneness that week!What’s worked for me is to have a journal dedicated to ‘oneness’ where I write down the ways that help me stay balanced.Below are some techniques I’ve used to stay aligned within.- Surround yourself with friends who believe in you who you can call to get advice or a pep talk. Don’t text, call. Listening to someone's voice is much more soothing than reading a text. - Breathe in and out 10 times when you feel yourself catching your breath from anxiety or stress.- Keep positive by writing down three gratefuls EVERY morning. This could be as small as being grateful for your morning coffee. Sometimes, this is it --- and that’s ok.- At the start of each month, write down the month’s career milestones big and small. As they are completed, check them off and celebrate your success with a glass of wine, decadent dark chocolate, or just a loud hell-yeah!How will you dig deep?No’s come frequently. It’s easy for people to give a No, but it doesn’t mean what you want to achieve can’t be accomplished. When I created the concept for Cofo, I met with a well-known CPG venture capitalist to share my idea. I was so excited to get his feedback and came to the meeting with a pitch deck and prototype. When we met he said he had only fifteen minutes for me. I gave him my pitch and he looked stern and said, “I know your competition, he’s a very nice guy and a good friend of mine, get a new idea, your product won’t work.” Done. I walked away from that meeting very upset. I felt like a failure. I thought, if this esteemed VC thinks my idea sucks, then it must suck. But...then I became angry and then I got motivated to prove him wrong. And, I dug deep and didn’t give up. I iterated and overcame roadblocks and guess what, Cofo is now the cleanest collagen product line out there and it has a growing community. When I get an email from someone who says it’s changed their life, that it makes all the hard work pay off. If I had listened to him, I should have quit. Listen to your instinct, it’s your soul talking to you. Your wild woman inside knows. Just listen and move forward with tenacity, instinct, love, cunning and grace. Above all, Howl Often and attain your audacious purpose.Celestia Howe is the founder of Cofo Provisions, marketing consultant, outdoor enthusiast, and mom. Prior to starting Cofo Provisions, she worked as a product manager in start-up tech and co-founded Howl Often, a movement to get women outdoors for self-empowerment.