Sunday, August 4, 2013

My choice; your choice [Guest Post]

Lauren, a fellow leaver, left her family business to become a life coach. She graciously accepted my request to guest post and share her story below.

From the moment I (virtually) met Lauren, it was clear to me that she was a "people person" and that her calling in life had to do with supporting people. It just seemed right for her. And I'm glad to see her forging her path. Good luck, Lauren!!.

You can learn more about Lauren on her website here.

When I stumbled upon this blog on October 5, 2012, I was — literally — at my wits end! I was at my desk, shaking in distraught and feeling out of control. I was miserable, trapped in my family's business and there was nothing I could do about it. How could I leave? They'd never understand. I surrendered... This was to be my life. Suck it up, this is it. Deal with it!

But in my heart, deep in my core, I just knew I was meant to do something else. Meant to be something more. With no place to go, I went online and typed in my search:"Leaving the Family Business", and there it was... like a beacon of light Wait, what??? No, it can't be!! But then I clicked the click that would change everything.

After devouring 25 posts like a starving carnivore, I typed a lengthy (very cathartic) email to The Leaver. It strikes me as I reread that email how thick and heavy the sadness was. Yet I can still feel the relief of not being alone in my plight and how equally airy and light it was. Realizing all my thoughts, feelings, beliefs, wants, dreams, were VALID! I wasn't being selfish or having a mid life crisis. Others in my situation felt this way, too! And, most importantly —— they left and survived!

A little backstory: For 18 years, I worked with my mother and her husband in his family's business. I can honestly say, I loved working with my mom but I always wondered what else was out there in the world for me to do. I thought many times over those 18 years about leaving, but since it was only her and I in the office, I felt like I could never leave her. In October, 2011, my step father hired another person to come in to the office, saying that it was so my mother could semi-retire, but that never happened. What I began to see, or feel, was that maybe, she was actually there so I could go...

I had tried to give my notice to leave in May, 2012, but my mother was against it. She couldn't imagine me not being there. So I stayed. On Halloween, less than a month after finding this blog, I had a breakdown. In front of my mother, I sobbed and cried and told her that I could no longer do it. That I was sorry to disappoint her, but that I couldn't take it any more. She finally let herself see the truth she had not allowed herself to see. She let me go. January 31, 2013, would be my last day. We had agreed to part and we began preparing my departure from the business.

What a surreal feeling that first week of February was... to be unattached... I had no responsibility to the family business! My life wasn't consumed with despair — I was filled with anticipation and hope! I felt I had regained control! But what I hadn't realized then was that I always had the control, I just chose to not engage it. Which brings me to where I am today...

Many had asked me, "So, what do you want to do?" But I had no answer. I hadn't figured that part out, yet. I just knew it was something bigger than what I was currently doing. I knew I wanted to help people; to make a difference in their lives... And so it happened — as these things tend to happen — that I met a childhood friend I had not seen for over 25 years (the universe is amazing, isn't it?!). And it was this very friend who asked me, quite simply: "why not be a life coach?" And that was that.

To me, life coaching is what I was put on this earth to practice. It's about helping people realize what it took me years to understand: we all have a choice! As ominous as it may seem, we do. I chose to stay in the family business for all those years. I chose not to explore options. And as much as I felt it was out of my control, at the end of the day, it was my choice to give control up.

Wherever you are on your journey, thinking about leaving, in the process of leaving, or already gone, please always remember these simple truths: It is YOUR life, and it's short, precious and unpredictable. You never know what the next day, hour or minute will bring. And you should choose to honor yourself by living your life in the best possible way. Everything else will just fall into place.

Enjoy today & be happy!


  1. It is so encouraging to read about your journey. The amazing part is that your journey is just beginning. It was so inspired by your courage and your strength.

  2. Love this post. Love that you describe giving up control by not looking elsewhere. On my way!

    1. I'm so happy my post spoke to you. I'd love to hear more of how YOU are on your way! You can contact me at

  3. Hi lauren, i am a 56 yr old divorced mum of two grown up children. I was asked to come 'home' from london where id worked for 12 yrs to help set up a family business. My parents were farmers and diversified to s golf club. I never thought id be there 26 years later. I am so unhappy, isolated and lonely. My parents are in their 80s and my older brother and i run it now. He is a difficult man and really just wants to farm again. I had one friend at work (which staff didnt like our relationship they thought she took advantage and were jealous)My brother was always shouting at her as he didnt like her so now shes gone off with stress. She wants nothing to do with us or the conpany anymore. My social life and friends were with her so thats gone. The business is struggling, people think we are rich but actually we are facing bancrupcy. I have had part time jobs also over the years to feel normal. My other siblings want me to stay to protect their interest! Its driving me mad. Its affected so many of my relationships. They think they know me but they dont. I feel guilty because i know my parents dont want me to leave. If i did it would be on my concience for ever. I nearly qualified as a sports therapist 3 years ago but my younger brother left business so i had more responsibility and couldnt finish course, i lost a lot of money. Is it too late for me? We had a meeting of six partners last week. I said that we need to sell. All agreed but now my dad and older brother want to keep it. Ive told them well you can do it without me. We used to be such a close happy family, not anymore. Nightmare. Is this a typical family business ? Lol if so you can keep them!

    1. It is NEVER too late!! You just declared so in this post - you said they can do it without you. Well done! The time has come for you to finally take care of yourself. I would be honored to hear from you directly - please email me: