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FOLLOW THE SPARK
By: Kelly Brown | January 27, 2022
In 2013, while on maternity leave from my job at Google, I attended a team event at a Cubs game in Chicago, where we lived at the time. I was sitting next to my former boss catching up on babies and work when he casually mentioned that his wife left her corporate job to become a coach.
At that moment it was like I’d been hit in the gut with a homerun ball, but in a good way. I felt a surge of energy, an undeniable spark, and a curiosity to learn more about coaching and his wife’s journey. I loved talking to people and had always wanted to blend my background in psychology with my love of wellness and personal growth. Could this be the answer?
The truth is, before maternity leave, I hadn’t considered leaving my job at Google. But the time away had given me a new perspective and a few nights before this event, I had found myself splashing water on my face at 2 AM and panicking over the thought of going back to a job that didn’t feel like me. The words “I’m off target,” running through my mind.
This wasn’t the first time I’d felt off track but it was the first time I’d let myself consider another possibility. Prior to this moment, I’d stuffed the thoughts down and reminded myself that I loved my team, was lucky to have this job, and was making the kind of money I’d only dreamed of as the first in my family to go to college or work in the corporate world.
But that spark. I couldn’t deny the spark. There was something inside that told me I was meant to be doing something else, and I lit up when I researched coaching programs and talked about the possibility with my husband and my friends.
At the same time, the more conversations I had the more fearful I became as well-meaning loved ones said things like:
It’s the hormones, you’ll change your mind.
Isn’t this a waste of your college degree?
But you have a great job!
Your stocks, your 401k, the free lunch…
Don’t you think that’s irresponsible after having a baby?
What if you regret it?
And their words sounded a lot like the voices in my head which made it incredibly difficult to figure out what to do next. But you know what I’ve realized? Those comments were their fears and they were sharing them with me to try to protect me from failure and regret.
But no matter how hard I tried to forget, the spark was still there. A spark that knew I’d be able to help people in a new way. A spark that lit up at the thought of becoming a coach. Ultimately, it was that spark that gave me the courage to jump.
After six months, I left Google to pursue coaching and although cutting our income by more than half at the time was a shock to the bank account, and letting go of that identity was a shock to my ego, in hindsight I see that I had to make that decision because ignoring the spark was more painful than going for it.
Do you know what I mean? Have you felt the spark? The little voice that says ooo, that sounds fun. And it’s usually something other people don’t think sounds very fun.
Let’s be clear, I recognize it’s not always possible to leave your job or take a huge leap like this. I also recognize the privilege in having a husband with a salary and health benefits that provided stability for our family while I leapt. But there are other sparks too that don’t require a huge financial leap.
For example, Do you love being around kids and dream of coaching your son’s t-ball team? Not everyone does. That’s a spark. Do you bake in your spare time and fantasize about running charity bake sales? That’s a spark.
When you come to a crossroads, in your career or somewhere else in your life, remember, only you know the answer because only you can feel the spark.
Grab a pen and answer these questions:
What’s something you love to do that others don’t love to do?
Which activities allow you to be in a flow state and lose track of time?
What do you daydream about doing?
Now, what’s one small way you can bring more of that spark into your life?
Write me an email and let me know. For real, I hope you do because I believe in you and the world needs more people following their spark.
Kelly Brown is a mother of three, Health Coach, and founder of Real Food House. Kelly leads a transformational wellness program called 10x REAL where she guides people in prioritizing their own health and wellness in the midst of parenthood. You can reach Kelly by email - email@example.com follow her @realfoodhouse or learn more at www.realfoodhouse.com
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