This time last year in 2017, my whole life changed. I embarked on a trip of a lifetime never to return the same.
Naturally adventurous I left my hometown of Seattle right after graduating from the University of Washington in 2010 relocating to San Francisco to continue growing my career. By the age of 35 I worked my way up to the Chief of Staff office developing Workforce Strategy for one of the largest transportation agencies in the nation.
After 3 years at the transportation agency and successful launch of my projects, I was ready for more. I had this itch that I simply couldn’t shake and the thought of getting a new job didn’t quite fit the bill. I was ready, ready to go own my own, see the world and pursue the desires of my heart. Finally, the day came, the day I jumped off the proverbial cliff by quitting my job to travel and pursue my entrepreneurship. Feeling totally liberated I took to the skies on a long-awaited trip across the Atlantic on a much-needed solo trip.
Quit!? Without another job lined up, that's crazy talk- I know! But, I had a plan and little did I know, setting out on this journey taught me the 3 greatest lessons of my life.
1- You don’t need anyone's permission to be who you are.
I quit my job because I was ready to pursue entrepreneurship. Over the years I’ve grown to accept how much I loved traveling, languages, and cultures. So, I decided to start thereby starting a travel company. And for starters, I needed to travel further than I had ever gone before. Everyone around me thought I was making the biggest mistake, how dare I quit such a great stable job to pursue something that was unknown and didn’t exactly make sense? Pushing past my own fears and ignoring the naysayers, I knew I would never be able to forgive myself if I didn’t go.
In December of 2017, I country hopped for 30 days straight traveling to 5 countries - UK, Netherlands, U.A.E, Egypt, and Morocco as a single woman in search of my future.
My first stop was London. The city was buzzing about as everyone was getting ready for the Christmas holiday. Straight away I headed to one of the great wonders of the world, Stonehenge. Standing in front of these ancient monoliths made me realize how trivial some things were in my life that I held in high importance. At that moment, nobody else’s opinion mattered, the previous work drama was of no consequence and I was able to be completely present taking in the beauty all around me.
The next day I took the train to Amsterdam. Wandering this quaint city everyone was so friendly and chill. It made me realize how much I take things too seriously. Ok, I was downright uptight. But how could I not be? Working in one of the most competitive markets in the US, the competition was fierce thus driving the serious attitude.
2- Playing Small does not serve you.
It wasn’t until I set foot in the Dubai that I realized how small I had been thinking. Here I am in a country swimming in wealth, and not anything like Vegas. Being atop the 124th floor of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, I could see all the other architectural marvels like the Burj Al Arab and the (man-made) Islands of the World. The attention to miraculous details in their architecture and the way Emiratis carried themselves despite their class was something I had never ever seen. Completely awestruck I felt what it was like to be surrounded by such dignity, pride, and excellence.
After Dubai, I traveled to Cairo to spend Christmas and my birthday. At 36 that was the best gift, I could ever give myself - Freedom. Touring the pyramids of Egypt brought me to my knees in humility. Standing before these structures that were thousands of years old built by our ancestors was the most beautiful gift I could ever experience.
At that moment I realized how small and safe I had been playing in my life. I always wanted to be polite and gave in to what I thought I was supposed to be and do as opposed to what desires laid deep within me begging me to let them free. Finally, I had the courage to fully step into myself by taking charge of my life and not being ashamed to follow the beat of my own drum.
Although, my trip still wasn’t quite done yet. After Cairo, I headed over to Morocco to explore 5 different cities including Marrakech and Chefchaouen - the infamous blue city. Mesmerized by all the charms Morocco had to offer, I realized that no matter how far you travel people are the same, only separated by culture.
3 - Following your dreams you can never lose.
Intoxicated with the greatest high on life, I returned back to the states to realize how people started changing around me and my business began failing. Friends and support systems that I once had began to fall apart. But how could that be, I mean I was pursuing my dreams?! At the time it felt like a loss, but looking back the value of the lesson that not everyone is meant to continue with you on your journey has never been more evident. And, the fact that my business failed helped me see where I should focus my effort and energy. A passion I discovered at the start of my career but always questioned it - I finally accepted my mission. The mission of helping people grow and develop in their careers. I took the lessons learned from running my travel business and applied them to the creation of Career Therapy.
My company Career Therapy is designed to offer a holistic approach to enabling professionals growth and transition in their careers with the support of a community. Career Therapy offers career coaching, mentorship matching and The Career Therapy Network that contains exclusive career-related content. To learn more visit www.CareerTherapy4Me.com
In the words of Paulo Coelho from the Alchemist “to realize one's destiny is a person's only obligation”.
Gusti Clark has dedicated her career to enabling paths and access to career opportunities.