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Make It Happen {why I left my corporate job}

by Marissa on August 1, 2012

Allow me to date myself and say that I’ve been out of college and working in the real world for 10 years. In all that time, yesterday was by far one of the most gratifying days of work I’ve ever had. 

I spent the day on my feet for eight hours in heels, chopping fruit and vegetables under a bright spotlight. And I would do it all over again today. I know this doesn’t sound like the perfect day of work for most people but to me it was bliss.

Not only was I cooking healthy food which makes me ridiculously happy, but I was also being filmed for a popular web site bringing me one step closer to my mission of sharing my passion for healthy eating and simplistic cooking with the world! 

Seven years ago as a Corporate PR Manager, I found myself questioning my role in influencing the greater good. I had a sense that I was meant to do something more than working for someone else writing press releases and that very thought scared the shit out of me. So I stuffed it down and continued doing what I was doing. I was good enough at it and my parents expected it. What would they think if I wasted my years and years of private school education (and tuition) to do something else like become a yoga instructor rather than climb the corporate ladder?

So I did what any responsible daughter would do and spent more private school tuition to go to grad school hoping that thought would just go away and I would find my true calling in a high-paying desk job.

It didn’t and I didn’t.

Fast forward several years and lots of self exploration. I became a certified Holistic Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, started this blog because I love to write and wanted to share my message in my own way and then opened my coaching practice, Marissa’s Well-being and Health. 

Only my closest friends and family knew I was hanging on to the high-paying desk job. They thought I had it made with a regular paycheck, crazy good benefits and my own gig on the side. I thought I was living in my own private hell. 

With one foot in and one foot out my identity was drowning in back to back conference calls, business trips and corporate jargon. Everything I stood for was challenged by a career that forced me to be someone I wasn’t and make a living doing what didn’t feel completely aligned with my highest self.

I was Corporate Marissa by day and Real Marissa between conference calls, by night and on weekends.

Authenticity is not a part-time gig. 

My self care went out the window, anxiety and stomach aches plagued me and old health problems resurfaced.

So I resigned. 

I know that sounds flippant but let me be clear that it was a well-thought and guided decision. I had spent lots of time practicing gratitude for the job and recognizing the years when I needed it. Yet for so long I was waiting to be ready to leave. To have everything perfect and in order. To do it the right way.

But there is no “right” way and I was never going to be “ready.”

The stars aligned and it was time so I felt the fear and did it anyway. And yes, the fear is still there but I take action to control it in productive ways. It gets me out of my comfort zone to that networking event I wouldn’t have bothered with last month or tells me to send  that email I’ve been waiting too long to write because the response may not be what I want to hear.

Today is day 3 of Operation Entrepreneur so you may want to check back in month 3 (and then again in year 3). But so far, I’m settling in just fine.

This was the shoe that always fit, it must have been hiding in the back of my closet.

I want to hear your story. Did you leave a corporate job to pursue your passion? Tell me about a time when you turned fear into motivation. Spill it in the comments below. 

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21 comments
Laurel
Laurel

Marissa As your former client and big fan I just wanted to say how happy I am for that you decided to choose happiness! The person I know as a wellness coach is so special and I wish you all the best! Xoxo Laurel

Alana Jordan
Alana Jordan

Wow! Thank you so much for sharing your story, reading this I feel like you're retelling my own story (well the beginning of it anyway :-) ). A year ago I left my job in marketing to study a Bachelor of Science majoring in Human Nutrition. I had worked in the same agency since leaving university and was made GM when I was 25. Most people thought that I was crazy to leave as from the outside it looked like the perfect job. However, I had put so much heart, sole and energy into my job that it left me feeling exhausted all of the time yet I still had this empty feeling inside like I was living someone else's life. I have times when I freak out and wonder if I've done the "right" thing, yet I know deep down that I have. I'm having next semester off university to get married and to spend some time overseas so I was thinking of enrolling in IIN. I've spent a lot of time reading about IIN and I like the holistic view of wellness and business guidance that they provide that I don't feel I will get with my university studies. However, everything that I read is just so positive about it, to be honest it makes me wonder a little if it's just too good to be true? Also I'm from New Zealand so I was wondering if you would be able to let me know how much of the curriculum is based on the American health system? Thank you so much and congratulations on everything that you have achieved so far - truly inspirational! I look forward to following your blog.

Marissa
Marissa

Hi Alana, Thank you for sharing your story! I always think we are guided to the stories we need to read at the right moments in our lives. IIN has thousands of international students so they take an very worldly approach to health and wellness. If you have questions or want to chat further, you can contact me at marissa at mwahonline dot com. Best wishes to you on the wonderful things happening in your life! xoxo

Rebecca Rothenburger
Rebecca Rothenburger

Wow Mariss!!!! As someone who has known you since grade school, has seen you progress and evolve over 25 plus years into who you are today, I have to say I am very impressed and encouraged by you and truly so very happy for you and what this step means for your life! Way to live your life as you and not what and how others think you should live! Congratulations! Xo, Rebecc

Marissa
Marissa

Thank you Rebecc! That means so much and I'm who I am today in bit part to the support of my forever friends like you! xo

Renee
Renee

Hi Marissa, This really really spoke to me! I am half way through IIN and absolutely love it. My first 'risk' was enrolling in school..timing wasn't perfect. I was super busy with work, had just gotten married, money was tight - but decided to take a risk and enroll. I listened to my gut, and boy has it paid off! As I continue on my journey I often find myself questioning what I'm going to do when I graduate. I try to take it day by day, but it's hard not to plan out the next 5 years. I'm an Account Director and work in Beauty Advertising. Although I love beauty and marketing, I don't love what I do. I'd rather apply my marketing skills to something I love, like health coaching and helping people on their own journey. Yet I struggle with letting go. Letting go of a career I thought was 'exactly what I wanted', letting go of my comfy salary and the occasional glitz and glamour. I know I eventually will take the risk and walk away. The timing won't be perfect as it never is, but it will be what I need and want to do. Thank you for reminding me of how wonderful it can be to do what you truly love and how the simplicity of THAT overcomes all other fears. All the best to you! - Renee

Marissa
Marissa

Hi Renee, Thank you for sharing that! You will know when the time is right and you will be guided. Let yourself find the glitz and glamour in your health coaching and make it something that is truly yours. I am so grateful for the skills I gained from my PR job as they have definitely helped me do what I do now. You will find the same is true for you. Best wishes and thanks for stopping by!

tara
tara

What a fantastic real life story of courage and taking action in what you believe in. I'll be cheering for you big time, girl!

Marissa
Marissa

Thank you, Tara, for stopping by!

Caroline
Caroline

Congrats, Marissa!! Best of luck going forward :)

BetsyForeman
BetsyForeman

Well done, Marissa! I wish you the very best! BF

Sarah Kay Hoffman
Sarah Kay Hoffman

Yes! You and I share the same story. One PR, one Social....both ready for something so much more fulfilling. Xo

Marissa
Marissa

I love it! xoxo We're making it happen!

Adriana
Adriana

Congratulations, Marissa! You've done such an amazing job so far, can't even imagine all the great things in store for you and your clients now that you've left the "desk job" behind!

Kendra
Kendra

I, Corporate-Kendra-by-Day, am in the same corporate boat you just jumped, newly enrolled at IIN, as Real-Kendra-by-Night, my happy new home, and YOU are an Inspiration, Marisa, capital "I"! "Authenticity is not a part-time gig"... brilliant! Authenticity and alignment are what I strive for, and your story landed JUST at the right time, because you articulated the inner conflict I've got brewing... can't thank you enough for sharing this. Keep on doing what you do... you make a BIGGER difference than you could even know. And CONGRATULATIONS on your new, full-time adventure!

Marissa
Marissa

Thank you, Kendra! I'm so glad you stopped by and shared your story. You will know when the time is right. Keep doing what you're doing and congrats on enrolling at IIN. Wonderful things are ahead for you! xo

Marissa
Marissa

Lu, be in your journey and know that what you desire is on it's way. Thank you for reading my story! xoxo

Stephanie
Stephanie

Love your blog and the honesty that spills from my screen. I only wish I listened to my inner self at your age and hope my daughters (26 & 23) follow theirs. 11 years ago after being laid off a month before turning 40 I decided to follow my dream, use my God-given talent of sewing and fabrication as my means of income. I still cr eate beautiful window treatments to this day but have learned it's hard being a one man show. I recently started my plan B business with the Drs. Who created PROACTIV as they are taking on the Anti-Aging market thru direct sales. I now have created residual income by selling consumable products that my customers faithfully reorder every 60 days while creating a source of leveraged income which means that the company pays me on the efforts of not only myself but my team. Win-win! Marissa (my daughters name also) I know you will achieve all your goals and dreams and I look forward to witness all your success

Marissa
Marissa

Thank you Stephanie! It is wonderful that you have found something to pay the bills that feels aligned to your highest self while also pursuing your art. Beautiful! Thank you for reading my story!

Lu
Lu

I enjoyed reading your message and congratulations on finding your way to your most authentic self and work. I am still on the journey, but I know it is happening sooner rather than later.

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