I left my job making $500,000 a year to start my own company, and I couldn't be happier. Here are 3 things I have now that even a 6-figure salary couldn't give me.
- Erin Hatzikostas is a former corporate CEO turned career coach, speaker, and podcast host. She is the founder and CEO of b Authentic inc.
- At age 42, she became the CEO of a large company - everything had fallen into place and was bustling. But she still found herself feeling bored. Within a year she retired and later started her own company.
- Leaving her high-paying job allowed her to find breathing room, and realize how much anxiety she had been shouldering. She was able to create, no longer chained to her inbox. And she met people she never would have encountered otherwise.
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On paper, everything about my career was amazing.
I'd become the CEO of a large company at the age of 42. In less than three years, I'd led a massive company turnaround. My job, which at first was one intense fire drill after another, had settled down. The company's reputation was high, and my personal reputation was even higher.Everything in my brain said, "Enjoy this time. You earned it!"
But everything in my gut said, "I'm bored. What's next?"
One day, while traveling for work, I struck up a conversation with a very nice woman in the Southwest cattle-call line. She told me that she too used to work in corporate America, but left many years ago to start her own HR company.
We sat together on the plane and I continued to pepper her with questions. I explained that I was in the process of figuring out what was next for me and thinking about leaving to start my own thing (what it was being completely TBD at the time).
"It would probably be really stupid of me to do right now. My career is soaring, and my reputation is at an all-time high," I said.
She looked at me, and - without missing a beat - asked, "Who says this is the top?"Wow.
That one comment not only changed the course of my life - it has stuck with me to this day. Within the year, I retired from my high-paying, "sexy" job.
Too often, in both our careers and our personal lives, we settle for old-fashioned definitions of success. We chase the next promotion, the next home remodel, the perfect school for our child. We do it all without defining for ourselves what's most important.
When I left my job (and that fat paycheck) I was looking to discover my own "top." I never would have guessed that the metric I'd use to measure my success would be joy.
Today, I run my own company, b Authentic inc. It's new. It's a work in progress. And yet, it has taught me more about joy than I ever learned when I was making a ton of dough and rocking my big-girl job.
Here are three joyful things I have now that I could never have purchased, even with half a million dollars a year.