My Journey

The Catalyst for Change…

Are you happy with your life and your career path? I used to feel soundly secure working in an 8 to 5 job as a Community Outreach Director for an organization. Life was normal and stable and I was confident in my abilities to provide for my family as a single parent. I was making an impact in the community and they were very grateful for the service I provided.

Over time, I started to develop insecurities in my job because I wasn’t getting any feedback from my boss. Our communication declined gradually and then I encountered numerous restrictions or roadblocks.

I had to get permission for executing all decisions with funding programs, donating to local organizations, and marketing. It became a problem when I couldn’t reach upper management for planning my community outreach programs. The feedback was either delayed or no response, thus causing a standstill in my work.

In addition to the lack of communication, there was a void in leadership. I was essentially a trailblazer trying to determine how to best create awareness, build new relationships in the community and effectively run outreach programs. This learning curve also took place while the company was changing owners and realigning the structure of management. At one point, I was a Community Outreach Director, Catering Coordinator, and Senior Aftercare Coordinator. Juggling all these different responsibilities resulted in time management issues and overlapping schedules, which resulted in a decline in performance and an adequate loss of attention for these areas.  

A year after stepping into these positions with no mentorship or guidance from upper management, I was terminated from my position on Mother’s Day after a long day of working tirelessly for a Mother’s Day event. In my opinion, this was a sucker punch move and definitely an insult.  I had never been let go from an employer because, in the past, I was complimented greatly for being such an outstanding employee. My ego was definitely bruised but not defeated.

The Fears

I cried during the drive all the way home. I had emotional fears running through my head. “How am I going to cover the bills next month? How am I going to make my car payment, buy food or pay for gas? My credit cards were nearly maxed out from all the car repairs. How am I going to earn money now? What do I do now?”

Once I accepted my fate and the initial shock of being let go, I spent the rest of the day holding my little girl and planned a trip to visit my family for a month in California. After securing my travel plans to visit my folks on the west coast, I immediately jumped online and started hunting for a new career, hoping for the best. 

I began entertaining the thought of working independently, which sparked an idea and took up root in my mind. No longer did I have the desire to work for another company or have someone control my means for earning a living. Working for a company is not the same as it was for previous generations, the longevity and loyalty are gone. I rarely heard of anybody retiring with a company after 30+ years. It was time for me to take the ‘bull by the horns’ and run the show my way.

I heard of ways people made money online but where were those legit jobs? Scammers are out there but I couldn’t let that fear hold me from pursuing that lifestyle as an option. This stirred up more questions like, “What ways can I make a living from home? Which company offers flexible hours? Will these companies train a beginner like me? How quickly can I start earning money?”

All of these questions are valid concerns and you might be overwhelmed by the research. However, if you let your fears rule your life then you will never make any progress or take a chance on experiencing the possibilities. We don’t grow when things are easy, we grow when we face challenges. This is “Grit,” by persevering for the long haul.

So, if you can accept a few bumps along the way and expect some failures while pursuing your dreams then no one can stop you. You have to change your mindset and learn that some mistakes are okay to make.

Don’t give up when you get stuck or confused. Seek the guidance you need from the right people who have the knowledge in the career you are striving for. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals or find a support group to keep you motivated.

What Does Freedom Look Like?

As a mother striving the self-sustaining lifestyle and desiring independence from the rat race, my journey started back in May of 2016. This year was the worst and most terrifying time of my life, yet it was a game-changer.

In my generation today, I am seeing fewer and fewer companies keeping their employees long-term until retirement. I was finally fed up living pay check to pay check and I didn’t want to work 40 hours per week anymore. There was so much to explore and better ways to spend time with my family.

Becoming an independent Funeral Celebrant has changed my life and mindset. You have to be willing to learn to improve, grow, a change old habits to become your own leader. I knew there was a better way to earn a living by NOT just surviving through life…but also THRIVING in it!

You need to ask yourself these questions:

  • Who do you want to become? Who can mentor you?
  • What is your motivation for change? What do you want your life to look like?
  • When do you want to start? 
  • Where are the resources to guide you?
  • How are you going to get there? How much time will it take to accomplish your dreams?

You need to ask yourself these questions and truly ask yourself WHY you want to change.  I wanted financial independence, more family time, adventure and the freedom to enjoy it.

My motivation for change was forced upon me by the loss of my job. However, I felt the desire to change well before my employer decided to let me go but they did jump-start the journey.

I recommend reading these books like The Slight Edge, The 4-Hour WorkweekThe Miracle MorningLimitlessand much more. They provide ideas and help you get in the right frame of mindset. Trust me, you will need it.

Self-education is the key! Start following entrepreneurs or seek mentorships from individuals who are successful because they have access to SUCCESS. Their lifestyle and wealth is proof of their accomplishments (as long as it is ethical and morally right).

You don’t have to follow exactly in their footsteps unless you want to. Reading is the first step to enhancing your own knowledge and awareness of the options around you. Ignorance is not bliss if you travel down this new path. 

Gains Outweigh the Risks

There are many examples of individuals who did not complete their higher education but went on to achieve massive success in their respective markets. So if you’re considering dropping out of college, be confident and inspired that, with the right decisions, knowledge, skills, and luck, you can achieve great success.

In 1977, after building databases for the CIA, Larry Ellison created Software Development Laboratories (SDL). Five years later, this became Oracle Systems Corporation. Although he stepped down from his position as CEO of Oracle, Ellison’s net worth was an impressive $52 billion. And he gained all of this after dropping out of two different colleges.

My point is that you don’t have to be a rocket scientist or have a college degree to work and live the laptop lifestyle or be self-sustaining by other means. You have the freedom and flexibility to decide how much work you want to do and when you want to do it. 

Get Serious

When my position was terminated by my previous employer, I knew I had to begin taking my goals seriously. I remember driving home realizing that there was no more time to waste wishing and dreaming about working independently.

I had to give it MY ALL to achieve my dreams. I worked around the clock, six to seven days a week, researching, learning and implementing my new-found knowledge in order to be successful.

If you want to leave the pursuit of attaining higher education in college then you must get serious and dedicate your time to making your new life a reality.

Experience is the Teacher

You will make some mistakes along the way, but that’s OKAY! Those mistakes will shape you and teach you how to perform better next time.

Hopefully, you can experience those hard lessons to equip you to handle the unexpected. Don’t beat yourself up either because learning to fail allows you the opportunity for your character to grow.

When you have the right resources, use the right tools, and continue to expand your knowledge then your new lifestyle will bear fruit in time. Learn how to be a Funeral Celebrant if this lifestyle interests you. – CLICK HERE


Author ~ Maria Roark
Funeral Celebrant