When I was 17, I really disappointed my parents.
Actually, my dad was pissed.
Growing up, for as long as I remember, I always had such high aspirations for myself. My 6 year old self wanted to be on stage. It didn’t matter what I was doing on there. Whether it was singing, dancing or acting…. I just wanted to be on stage. The larger the crowd the better. The only thing that held me back was pure talent- I didn't have any in those areas!
Heading into my early teens, I dreamed of being an air hostess. The exotic lifestyle of flying to new destinations around the world every week with my pull along overnight bag and smart uniform. 2 problems here, for 1, I was really quite scared of take-off, landing and any turbulence but the dream killer was I was already too tall. You see, back in those days, the tv screens used to come down from the roof in the aisles and for OH&S, you had to be tall enough to reach the overhead lockers but short enough to walk the isle with the screen down without banging you head… all while wearing heels. Dream gone due to height!
Mid-teens, primary school teaching reared its head. Some work experience at the local school showed I didn’t have the patience for hearing ‘Miss Amy’ that many times in a day.
Late teens, it was all about psychology and a fascination with the mind. Forensics, criminology and psychology. I dabbled in an Intro to Psych program and realised my fascination meant I couldn’t switch off (at that time) from what I was hearing and I was taking it all on board as my problem, visuals and all. That wasn’t good.
Throughout all of these years, the one thing I was certain of was that I would be the first person in my family to go to University.
'You are throwing your life away!'
'You are capable of so much!'
'This is a big mistake!'
Then, I changed my mind. You see, my logical brain is quite high and given I really didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, I made the decision to not commit to Uni straight from school and instead enter the workforce. It didn’t make logical sense to commit the time and money when I just didn’t know what I wanted to be. Enter my extremely disappointed/angry parents
This became a major defining moment for me!
At that moment, I decided to prove them wrong. I would show them that I could be successful without going to university straight out of school.
In fact, I created ‘my belief’ of what success looks like. Now everyone’s definition of success differs. At some point in our lives we create that belief or we change that belief and it guides the decisions and choices we make and what we value in order to make that belief true.
For me, success became climbing that corporate ladder until I was a manager and earning what I thought was a ‘university qualified’ equivalent salary. This salary changed as the years went by noting that my first job I was earning $8k a year. At that point, $50k sounded amazing!
The definition of success was also tweaked with me constantly moving that ‘success’ measure higher as I achieved each one. I always wanted a stage higher, $50k more. Raising the bar constantly! My final measure was Exec level with the pay packet to match.
How did I feel? I felt extremely successful!
I felt like I had absolutely smashed my parents doubts and fears and more importantly I’d proved them wrong. They were so proud of me and all that I had achieved using the ability that I always had.
I had the most amazing corporate career that I am so thankful for. I worked with brilliant leaders and some that were technically great although lacked basic people and EI skills. Many asked me along the way, ‘Amy what direction are you heading?’, ‘Where do you see yourself next?’, ‘What do you want to be?’. My answer was always the same: ‘As long as it challenges me and I’m learning something new than I’m happy.’
I was promoted across all parts of the company and became a ‘go to’ person for everything EI or People Leadership related. I accepted leadership roles in areas that I had no technical experience in to simply focus on the core leadership responsibilities to lift teams that were capable of so much more and build their EI skills. I began facilitating and speaking at events on EI, which I absolutely loved doing. However, while every leadership role has a large people skills focus, it still had the technical strategic component and each department was different. Some I really enjoyed, others I couldn’t find the love for.
I still felt like, what’s next?
Who needs me next?
What is my purpose?
Where do I belong?
How did I really feel…… I still felt lost.
It’s like I was constantly at a cross roads waiting for someone to tell me the magic answer to my ‘y’.
One month after I achieved my final measure of success of ‘Exec Level title and pay packet, I handed in my resignation and notice period.
See, over these years, I had started to come back to my core fascination of the mind. Attending conferences and workshops, hearing speakers, gaining qualifications, being a speaker and trainer myself, and working with people each and every day as a leader, it started to become clear.
It was time.
I had found my ‘y’ and it was time for me to listen to myself and act on the advice I was sharing with so many others. Once you find what it is you love doing, it’s all about increasing how often you do it. Being happy really is that simple. Find what makes you happy and incorporate as much of it into your life as you possibly can.
I never ever had a dream or aspiration to run my own business. I know for some people this is the ultimate goal. I was always happy to be an employee. However, I knew that the only way to do what I loved doing all the time was to believe in the one (and only) thing I have total control over in life, ME! That is how my business was created.
And now we are here.
Today, Amy Jacobson Pty Ltd exceeds all of my expectations. I get to do what I love doing day in day out. I work with people and teams across all industries from Govt Departments such as WAPOL and Dept of Education through to mining giants such as Rio Tinto to SME’s in Real Estate, Retail and of course Insurance. I learn so much from my clients as they learn from me. A true appreciation for how different all of our days are even though our underlying emotional drives and the our biggest EI challenges are so similar.
For me, that 17 year old Amy, had created a belief off the back of proving her parents wrong. All about success being measured by a job title and a pay packet. It took me over 20 years to realise that success is not about a job title or a pay packet. Success is about understanding and finding your why.
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