Spend your 20s finding out what you're passionate about.Spend your 30s getting really good at it.Spend your 40s and 50s getting paid to be really good at it.
The aims of my blog are quite simple. To:
- Take on physically and mentally demanding challenges in all aspects of life
- Grow, develop and learn
- Enjoy the journey and share it with you
- Empower and help others to achieve new goals
- Be honest about the ups and the downs on this rocky ride
I aim to help path the way to a life filled with challenges and excitement, growth and development that anyone can incorporate into their lives. You can read more about my mission here
However, one of my aims I have neglected recently and haven't been as honest as I would like to. I want to show you who the person is behind Challenge Sophie, how I structure my life to achieve my goals, what's going on in my head when I have dark moments and how I push through them. I want anyone to be able to relate to me as the issues I experience are universal. This isn't about climbing mountains, becoming an Ironman or cycling silly distances. It's about one woman following her dreams and beating down the obstacles and challenges that arise, the ones that try to prevent me from getting there.
In January this year I started writing this blog. A few weeks earlier I walked into work, wrote my resignation letter and quit my job. I left behind the company I helped to build with my own blood, sweat and tears (literally!) I said goodbye to a £60K a year job and shares in what has just been crowned the UK's Fastest Growing Tech Company. I walked away from security, safety and certainty. I had no plan. I just knew I could do more. I needed new challenges.
The last 9 months have been filled with wonderful highs and desperate lows, and yes, more tears! I took up some consulting work until May, followed by a roller-coaster of a ride for 2 months. There was our unforgettable wedding, the Big Blog Exchange in Singapore, Climbing in Chamonix and my brother's wedding in Cumbria. Since July I've been in London focusing on one thing only. NEXT STEPS.
Plus the small matter of having to do an Ironman. Sometimes training did take a bit of a backseat.
Back to my confession...
Throughout the process of networking, discussing ideas and opportunities over the last few months I've not been able to be entirely honest about what I've been doing for work, until now. I've been living off my savings and using my time to hunt down the next opportunity. I've come extremely close on 3 occasions but on Sunday I turned down the last of them and decided to follow my own dreams rather than someone else's.
Yes, it freaks me out that I've not been earning money, yes, I struggle not knowing what's coming next but most of all the challenge has been not knowing what I want to do. When Charley's startup ran out of money 4 weeks before our wedding, I experienced how failure can tear someone apart. How sometimes you just need to take a step back and think. We had to keep the faith, keep taking risks. Time to dig deep, embrace uncertainty and keep plugging away. I know there is nothing that differs you from anyone you want to be, any life you want to lead - apart from the simple fact that someone else went out and made took the risk to make it happen.
On Sunday it all became clear to me. The opportunities I've been discussing all appeared at first to be dream opportunities - offering me the chance to work in industries I'm passionate about, drive social change, build, grow and lead businesses from scratch, all with high earning potential promised. (Note, I said promised all had big risks attached and would require a lot of work and commitment to get there - made me question why not put that effort into my own projects)
On Sunday I turned down the last of them and finally gave myself the freedom and confidence to believe that if I work at it, I can make my dreams come true.
Life and Work
The traction and support I've been generating with Challenge Sophie has given me the confidence to believe that I can keeping moving in the right direction. I want to be an ambassador for change. For fighting for living our lives the way we want to, for not having to spend our working lives as someone we think we should be. I feel that life and work should be one and the same. Your passions, personality and purpose should be integrated into who you are at work and what you want to achieve out of life. They shouldn't be separate. If you are reading this thinking you already have that balance and integration, amazing, share it and help others achieve the same.
My immediate focus is making money. I'm focusing on the work that I'm best at, where I can add most value. I'm passionate about growing young companies through sales, strategy, brand awareness and culture. I've always worked for London startups and love helping companies get to that first million customers, revenue, or 100 employees. I'm networking like crazy and it's working. Connect with me on LinkedIn.
I'm on the hunt for work that will afford me the headspace and time to follow my dreams with Challenge Sophie, to share the lessons I learn along the way and to get as many of you out there, pushing boundaries with me, as possible! Will be introducing some awesome events based on the most popular challenges on my blog. Stay tuned!
As with all of us, I have exciting plans in the pipeline and can't wait to see how everything develops. I don't know where this will take me, I don't have all the answers but I'm going to give it my best shot. It's going to be a challenging ride but the rewards will be worth it.
Wrapping it up...
Time for me to say a MASSIVE thank you. To everyone who reads my blog, has connected with me on Twitter, shares their own experiences with me and comments on this blog. It gives me a huge amount of encouragement and helps me keep the faith when it feels like I have no clue what is going on. Building my online presence and voice has provided me with that sense of security when I need it the most.
Thank you to everyone who has had faith in me and helped me along my journey of figuring out who I want be and how I can play my part in helping shape the world. Kevin Matthews, Marcus East, Chris Brisley, Charley and my amazing Mum who have listened to me for hours on end and supported me endlessly. To everyone who has said "don't worry about the money, it will come" You are right.
I'm not trying to make money from Challenge Sophie, I'm working towards maximising my potential and in the process helping you achieve yours. If I keep working at it, the money will come.
Here's to living the dream and to everything that brings.
I wouldn't be here without you.