When life throws you curveballs, learn the new rules and play ball. Or, make up your own game.
Life so rarely works out as we plan.
Thirteen years ago, I was working as a software developer. I was good at my job, writing code and creating user interfaces for software that the RCMP (Canadian police force) used in their daily jobs.
The job market was tough at the time and downsizing was inevitable. I survived 3 rounds of layoffs before I received my walking papers.
Curveball! My husband and I had just bought our first home and, because we worked in the same industry, we had no guarantee that he’d keep his job either.
And we wanted to start a family. Soon.
The silver lining: I got a chance to cover home base
Before I even became a mother, I knew I would want to be there at home with our children. I also knew that I still wanted to make a financial contribution to the family. But how?
Businesses were just starting to understand the potential of a website. Google was in its infancy – Yahoo was the go to search engine! WordPress was only for ‘blogs’ and was far from being the place for websites that it is today.
When my volleyball teammate (who also happened to be a business coach) needed to create a web presence, I taught myself HTML code and built my first website.
And so, in 2003, I launched my own business. That layoff actually answered my prayers! (I’m not sure I would have found the courage to quit my job and become a work-at-home mom.)
The next 6 years would bring a big move East to the Atlantic Coast, and two beautiful sons. Raising my boys far from the support of our families was difficult, but in that time I established myself as a website designer for coaches and holistic practitioners.
Just when things are looking up…
In 2010, my husband had the opportunity to take a job in Montreal, which would bring us closer to our families and friends. Our oldest son was in kindergarten and our second son was 2 years old.
Two months before we moved, we received our elder son’s diagnosis – he was on the Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Curveball. We’re in a brand new city where we don’t speak the majority language. We have to figure out a completely different health care and school system, and where our special boy fits into it all.
More than ever before, I had to be there for him as he navigated all the big changes in his life, and ours.
I’d have to figure out how to run a business when I can say little more than “bonjour!” In this case, good fortune was on my side – social media had exploded and I was able to build an online community of clients and colleagues who I could support and who could support me.
After getting settled into our new city, I started to re-focus my energy on my business. I started learning all I could about running an online business – for myself and for my clients: websites, email marketing, digital products, calls-to-action, PayPal, WordPress, and the list goes on.
Learn the new rules, or make up your own game
With all the time we spend online, it makes sense that our digital experiences and relationships can change our lives. I think we all understand this, but we don’t know until we’ve experienced it.
In 2012 I participated in a 30-day virtual coaching event that had a lasting impact on my life and work. It gave me the opportunity to discover and articulate my “Mountain-top Message” – the message I was put here to share, the way I would lead and yes, change my corner of the world.
Problem was, at the time, I had no idea how this message connected to my website development work.
At the same time, I was coming to the realization that doing websites on my own was limiting what I could offer my clients. I began looking at the connections I was making online with a new perspective – one of potential partnership.
I teamed up with Marisa, a writer and writing coach, and our business partnership was born. Though we loved working together, we eventually came to realize we had different paths to take. So after 2 years, we took our separate paths, while still remaining close friends and colleagues.
Curveball. I found myself at the beginning, yet again.
But not really, since I have 12+ years of experience behind me now.
Playing by my rules now
I know that I still have to be there for my boys when they come home from school.
I know that I can take those curveballs and keep playing the game.
I know that I’m really good at helping my clients build an online business by supporting them with their website and email marketing needs.
And I now know how my mountain-top message relates to my website development work.
You see, I was put here to “Change the employment landscape for people on the autism spectrum.” and at first I had no idea how I was going to do that.
Earlier this year I saw the solution. And it’s going to be hard to do. And it’s going to require that I be there for my son and others like him.
I can only make it a reality by being there for my clients now. I do that by creating the foundation for a successful online business. And by giving you the tools to build on that foundation. And by providing you with ongoing support to continue to grow and thrive.
And guess what? That’s exactly what I’m going to do for my Autistic son, and for others like him. Give them the foundation for successful employment in my workplace. And give them the tools to continue that successful employment in the workplace at large. And give them the ongoing support to grow and thrive in the rest of their lives.
This will only happen by building upon my own business foundations, and collecting the right team to support and grow with me.
It’s a win-win-win for everyone. If you’d like learn more about becoming a part of this winning solution; as a client, as a team member, or as an Autism supporter, let’s talk!