Why I’m Happier Making No Money After Walking Away From 6-Figures

Career Discovery, Career Enrichment, Entrepreneurship, Women Empowerment
10/12/17 - Nicole Wood

I’m now a year into my startup journey, a natural point for review and reflection, and though starting a business has been and continues to be incredibly difficult, the bottom line is I’m happy. I certainly wasn’t miserable in my previous jobs. I had high visibility. Great career trajectory. Amazing friends at the office. The difference is, it felt to me like I was just going through the motions. Like I was working hard day after day but toward something I wasn’t sure how much I really impacted. Or even cared about for that matter. Sure I could afford nice things, and so I’d buy them. And then I’d chat with friends and colleagues, all equally decorated with nice things, and we’d complain again and again about the same stuff. As it turned out, Kate Spade and J Crew weren’t enough to make us happy.  We were an army of well-dressed, highly capable professionals all quickly becoming disillusioned with the life of middle management. My soul craved something more. I had to abandon my post.

To me mediocrity is worse than failure. Monotony worse than crisis. I need to feel alive and on a mission. And boy did I set out on one.

I left my job and launched Ama La Vida in September of 2016. We are building a business that we hope…know will transform the coaching industry and the way people think about investing in themselves. We are attracting talented coaches from all over the world who are passionate about helping people achieve their own successes and break free from the posts they’ve been scared to leave for far too long. I light up thinking about the future, but I still live in the here and now.

We are still tweaking our operations and figuring things out. We certainly aren’t making the big bucks. We have big, bold plans for the future, and so most of our income gets reinvested in the business.

I don’t buy nice things anymore. I don’t go to dinner and order the $42 fish. I don’t get pedicures or the new boots at Nordstrom. But I also don’t get sick. I actually get sleep. I get outside in the middle of the day and see the sun. I get excited to face each day’s adventure and challenges. I work on problems I deeply care about, and I get to share my greatest gifts with my team and the world on a daily basis. My toenails have seen better days, but my body, soul and mind are thanking me.

I constantly see new studies telling me I’m not alone. That a lot of you are sitting at your desks, wearing and carrying your nice things, but wanting something different. Don’t let your dreams dissolve over time. Don’t let another day go by convincing yourself that your post is your only option. It’s not. You don’t need to be an entrepreneur to be happy or do something as drastic as I did. You just have to do what it is that your soul has been craving. Take the pay cut for the role you really want. Sacrifice a couple month’s salary to go on that trip you’ve been dreaming of. Put up some capital to give your business idea a try. Sacrifice one pair of shoes in your closet to have someone help you figure out what your mission is. I promise you, it’s worth it to feel alive.


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