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  • Juanita Molano Parra

A year in: the challenges, the fun, the lessons

It's now officially been a year (and a day) since I left my Corporate Finance life to become a Life Coach. This post comes a day late, simply because it's been a little hard to really, truly, in my heart and my bones, celebrate.

A decade in Finance left some ingrained structures in how I go about my years: in quarters, with challenging goals, measuring actuals vs plan. The truth is that, based on the actuals of my business, I just did not deliver. Now the me in Coaching wants to take another look, because aside from the bottom line of this last year, there have been a million things happening in the middle.

It is true that it has been a challenge. When I decided to go all in with coaching, I somehow overlooked that this meant being an entrepreneur. It probably had something to do with holding coaching as something entirely separate from my MBA self (hint: it's not) and thinking about myself as a play it safe and small person (hint: I'm not). And so, as an entrepreneur, there's the challenge of getting clients and money, health insurance and all the beautiful benefits the corporate life provided, and managing time because (spoiler alter) being an entrepreneur does not give you "more free time". These are the surface ones. For me the real challenge has been in who I am and who I believe myself to be. This sounds coachy and so here is what I mean: it's about making myself be not enough because I did not get hired, it's believing that I am the one to create this in the face of a declining bank balance, it's the strength and love in choosing to stay with it when it seems so much easier to go back.

Then there is also the fun. This is harder to see when the "actuals" are not there, and honestly it has actually been fun. Being the one to build my own business means I am out there in the world talking to people all the time. You can call it networking and roll your eyes because that sounds boring. For me it's been meeting amazing people in my city, learning about inspiring programs and organization, practicing being my real self, and sourcing recommendations for food and travel every day (today was pizza and bread!). There is also the small details, like wearing whatever I want because I don't have to worry about freezing in the office, having the company of Dusty (my cat) as I coach, and getting a monthly massage and reiki healing in the middle of the day.

The lessons I am taking from my first year as an entrepreneur are about trust, community and structures (I am still an engineer at heart!). What has made the biggest difference in my business and my life is setting structures that help me take care of my whole self, keep me connected to the people I love, and have me do the things that move my goals forward (usually the uncomfortable ones). I am also now very present to the power of community. It's about the people that will refer me or will become my clients, and it's specially about the people that will encourage me, that won't let me quit, that will call me out when I am letting them down, that will call me just because, that will remind me what is important to me: being whole, loving relationships, living a full life. And then there's the trust. It's not I'll trust when it happens, that's just proving. It's I just trust.

To many more years of it all.

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