Director Eimear Stassin Training
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One woman's journey into the world of freelance training

If you face a career crisis at the moment, take heart and know that you are not alone. In this article, Eimear Stassin shares her experiences from her voyage into the world of freelance training and her recommendations for those considering pursuing a similar path. 

18th Sep 2020
Director Eimear Stassin Training
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Hiker stands on a mountain top and looks at view. Mount Cook on the background, New Zealand.
iStock/swissmediavision

What you’re looking for is right under your nose. I was musing for quite some time, before I made the move. In a job that I enjoyed, with flexibility, autonomy, permission to create, however, I just knew deep down, that there was more; that I was capable of more. I knew I must spread my wings and leave my comfortable corporate nest. That knowing was there, bubbling, for a few years before I was consciously ready to take action.

This was my sixth job in financial services over my 20 year corporate career. I began on the financial side, before making the internal career move to the training side.

I could have listened after a year out travelling the world.

I could have listened when I went through my first redundancy.

I could have listened when I went through my second redundancy.

I could have listened when on maternity leave with each of my three children.

Within all of these transitional ‘times out’ of corporate life, by choice or enforced, were times when I reviewed my career and my wheel of life. In those times, however, the option to become freelance wasn’t even on my radar. My instinct then was to seek alternative employment with a team that I could relate to and grow into. To seek out excitement, challenge and learning within the corporate structure.

If one person can do something, then anyone can do it.
– NLP Belief of Excellence

I had being studying neuro linguistic programming (NLP) and this opened my map of reality, my world, to many other possibilities. It opened up my patterns of thinking and behaviour and I chose to step into the beliefs of excellence that underpin NLP. I began to live these beliefs that we all have excellence within us. We just need a little help and patience to discover our unique excellence. I became a practitioner and then an NLP master practitioner – and I continue to learn.

Follow what lights you up.
– Rebecca Campbell, author and speaker

I then found soul based coaching – or, rather, it found me. This is a way of coaching that taps into our innate creativity, our superpowers. It’s a way of learning clean language that’s stripped of any assumptions, any leading questions. I immediately related to this structured, yet non-linear approach. Drawing up metaphors to my conscious awareness that were already part of me, embodied, I could anchor metaphors for what I wanted my business to be like. I became a certified soul based coach – and I continue to learn.

future L&D leaders hub link

In what other ways can I influence?

I knew I had the skills and support to take the step. I knew I could choose other ways that were more in line with who I wanted to be, under my own brand. I believed in myself. I felt brave and courageous. I wanted ways to feel more energised. To be in yin to balance out yang. To take time out, to fill up my well of creativity; to network; to deliver with ease and grounded-ness. I also felt very exposed – vulnerable – and yet I knew that my voice counts.

Start close in. 
– David Whyte, poet

It was time to tell the world. I told my family and then my boss. These were quantum leap steps for me. It was still very emotional and continues to be, with many highs and lows. I felt like I was grieving the loss of this happy job in my final month. Each training course I delivered was one of my last. Each person I met it was a goodbye, until we meet again. It was scary too, not knowing what lay ahead, and yet knowing deep down that I was following my path.

Freelance leadership and coaching

Day one was very exciting. By day two, I felt bored and wondered what I had done, giving up a good job, security, a team of great people. With my head in my hands, from that boredom came creativity to forge ahead, to flow with my work, and to believe that I’m in this for the long haul. I know that this is a 20+ year project. I continue to explore, learn and grow. In my way, under my brand. I continue to shed the layers of how I had conditioned myself to think and act. I continue to discover more about myself and others.

Create a clearing in the dense forest of your life. 
– Martha Postlewaite, poet and author 

I came across a poem called Clearing by Martha Postlethwaite before I left, and I knew this was the approach I wanted to take. I wanted to create space, to put in the work and to balance that with patience, to slow right down. Since I share a birthday with Frank Sinatra, I wanted to explore 'doing it my way' – and I continue to do so.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?
– Marianne Williamson, author, spiritual leader, politician, and activist

My recommendations

What would be my top tips if you’re considering such a journey? I don’t have a tick list where one size fits all, but here are some of the things that helped me.

  1. Slow down and listen. What’s asking for your attention?
  2. Take inspiration from the world around you – books, art, poetry, nature, people, family, and friends. The messages and connections you make are uniquely yours and can help you gain clarity.
  3. Be patient! Yes it's both challenging, and worth it.
  4. Connect with your role models online, in person, follow people/projects who inspire you.
  5. Build your tribe, your groupies, your supporters – because you will need all the support that you can get.
  6. Commit: tell everyone what you’re embarking on.
  7. Seek support from a good coach (I’m here when you need me) to develop your relationship with yourself first.
  8. You will feel overwhelmed at times – develop healthy grounding practices such as meditation; walking/activities; down time; screen free time.
  9. Celebrate each tiny step that you take because over time, this is how you will build on your business.
  10. Believe you can, and you will. Be brave.
  11. Strive to be perfectly imperfect.

Three years on...

I first wrote this article in 2018, but given the events of this year and the experiences we've collectively shared, everything I've discussed here is more relevant than ever. My business is like our fourth child growing up through toddler-hood. We are intrinsically intertwined and linked.

Whatever your individual circumstances, know that it is possible to create the career and life that you desire, in a way that works with your situation and energies, one step at a time. Your voice counts. Your unique skills and qualities are needed right now as we walk the path of chaos and uncertainty, through the fires of these times.

When I read back through my words, it feels like I wrote this for my future self, as well as for you. The last three years have been a journey around the labyrinth of life and work, home, to the wholesome truth of who I am. If you were to write an honest, raw, vulnerable, heartfelt letter to your future self now, what would you write? Do this today. I urge you.

What if I fall? Oh, but my darling what if you fly?
– Erin Hanson, artist

I’m here to support you with anything that has emerged for you, when you need it – my contact details are in my bio. So here's to you and your journey.

Interested in this topic? Read Five tips for future L&D leaders.

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