You can still honor your degree whilst choosing a “different” path
Over the last decade I’ve counseled hundreds of ivy leaguers facing the same conundrum: I want to be an entrepreneur and go into a field like yours, or a field I didn’t exactly study, but I fear I will be giving up everything I’ve worked for or been afforded / privileged enough to have i.e. a first class education, degree, and corporate world connections.
First off, I relate. I’ve written about this before. The day that I graduated from Northeastern University in Boston, I sat in a chair in the main hall and cried. This was before the super fun festivities later that night. Which, of course, were eclipsed with tears and stress by “caregivers” intent on making the day about THEM not me. I digress. As I sat in that chair, I felt guilt. Guilt for “doing what I thought I should have done” and getting this degree that I wasn’t sure how to use or even how I wanted to use it. This comes after entering the corporate world for the first time in December 1999 as a paid intern.
The University I went to actually paid many of us teenagers and early 20 somethings regular people salaries! I had friends working in investment banking who were able to take care of their own tuition on a quarterly basis. Pretty rad, if you knew your path and all. For me, I started with an ad agency downtown on Boylston Street. I began there, and then I got a paid internship at a boutique software development agency run by a super cool dude, who became a mentor and father figure to me. I learned about data and how that went into systems (cutting edge software) that could save consumer goods companies money. I also learned about family and work balance, as the man who founded the company seemed to have the perfect understanding of such. We bonded at my interview because I said that I wanted to end up living outside of the country or marry someone with a different cultural background from me. He was American, but met his wife while living in South Africa – Mauritius to be exact. I was relieved and excited to be hired based on what kind of person I was versus my knack and lust for software innovation. It was my favorite job to date, and it really grew me as a person.
Later on, I returned to the software job immediately post college but I really wanted to work offshore. I was discouraged from doing that, so I went as far south as I could without leaving the country – Miami. It was a different time back then. A lot of the 80s and 90s vigilante stuff had just settled down, and it was a time when you could go anywhere (no camera phones, thank God) and sit down with celebrities and just talk like normal people. It was fun, fascinating, and I had a zest for life like I never felt. If you read my eBooklet 1, you’ll learn about my first awakening experience and how my big plans and joy took a very unexpected turn. In any case, I worked for several different companies down there. I couldn’t seem to find my place, because I was learning about the politics of the world and how wealthy people got away with whatever they wanted in life. Those jobs weren’t a fit for me. The other jobs I took in another language – Spanish – and had to conduct meetings in Spanish in a closed room while my boss chain-smoked cigarettes. I recall thinking, well, I could have just “sold out” (for me, it would have been selling out) and worked for a major company that my University set me up with…but I was living for the LIFE experience – not the lemming experience (in my heart and mind this is how I felt – I’m not saying it’s true for everyone else).
As I navigated super uncharted paths for myself and ran around Miami and traveled to NYC to try and make my advertising career in Spanish work, I learned a lot but hit the skids. I also knew, deep down, that these jobs simply didn’t make my heart sing. I hit a wall around 24 and moved back up north to anchor. Anchoring meant taking “real jobs” to get steady again and figure out how to get what I REALLY wanted while having a baseline for myself. I wasn’t a trust fund kind, and even though I could have been floated by caregivers, I wasn’t. In fact, each time I got settled in a space for mySELF, I was reeled back in and somehow duped into losing all of my stability in every which way. Some people want you close, not because they love you – but because they can feed off of you. Unfortunately, this happens all of the time as parents lose their own identity and form it via their offspring. That is why I am so PRO “leave your house on time” – you can always come back into a supportive family unit. People don’t understand how important this is and our current generation seems lazier than the last, and so on. They want it easy. Insta-fame. Twitter-famous. LOL. Life doesn’t work that when, but when they are 50 still living with mom and no life of their own, it won’t matter anymore as they’ll be totally zonked.
Taking “real world jobs” was fine for me for a time. I actually sold door-to-door overnight shipping…but, in a suit. And I was only allowed to deal with C-Suites! Literally. I had to door-knock and ask for the owner. I wasn’t allowed, by company policy, to talk to anyone who wasn’t a shareholder or a C-Suite as they wouldn’t give a damn about the bottom line hence care about why I was saving them money. It was a brilliant sales program, but it also broke me out of my super-shy mode. I became the top sales person in my region but I crashed after about a year. I had a great time at their sales trainings in Texas only to return to the CT/NYC area and work the job, but it didn’t excite me. My boss was amazing and understanding. I then worked in corporate trade and barter, as well as ad sales again for the South American markets. These were much bigger companies, and I saw the good and the bad – I grew again as a person. After about a year in each, I had been plotting my bigger goal…expression of the heart. Acting.
“You’re too old” — people would say, as I was middle 20s thinking I would star on TV. Well, I did star on TV. In 2006 I turned down a massive salary to the tune of 200k + stocks etc and went to serve steak to people. I would stand at the table, taking their order, and feel dizzy and nauseous over potentially ruining my life by walking way from corporate at a peak time. It was peak time because I was very young, attractive, and I had an excellent resume. I knew I could never go back if this was my choice. I had a live-in boyfriend at the time, and he was very supportive of my decision. He, as well, was an entrepreneur. So I served steak. I had middle-aged men make gross comments to me and assume I was a career waitress (there is nothing wrong with that, it’s just that I had to really put my ego to the side of caring or wanting anyone to know that I had done more than that in my life), and when I first began I would go to the bathroom and physically feel panic. I didn’t realize, at the time, that this was part of my initiation! I was simply choosing to become someone other than society had told me to be. It was scary. I forewent financial success and stability. I didn’t have a fallback.
Within 9 months of pounding the pavement as a waitress, bartender and TV extra, I landed full-time work and my SAG card (this wasn’t easy to do back in 2007). I stood in for the stars of Gossip Girl on and off for two seasons, and then I had nearly full-time work on Ugly Betty as an office worker with no lines. This didn’t come from waving my headshot in the air, it came from fully leaving corporate and committing to my desires, working in sub-freezing temperatures on sets where no one cared about you, 16 hour days for near minimum wage, and very long subway rides and walks to locations. I enjoyed the challenge, giggled about how no one would ever guess where I came from, and felt proud of myself for just being me. I didn’t need to be rich or successful, because I was happy.
During this time, I had also been studying energy and the nature of human physics. When I entered college in the late 90s, I was a psych major. I quickly dropped that, but I never dropped the books. I knew well enough to know how many “therapists” go straight into the field in college and turn out bat-shit crazy by middle age. I would not become one of those people. And to date, therapists are hands-down the CRAZIEST people I’ve ever met in my life. So no, I would not go the traditional path there either. I would sit up at night or on any of my breaks and write down WHO I WAS. I wrote down my first, middle, and last name. I decided that my first name represented my face in the the world – acting, modeling that I did part time, and any speaking. My middle name represented my core — my writing, my healing, my helping, my philanthropy. My last name would represent my business and entrepreneurial side. I made goals under each name/category and knew it would take years to actualize them. Success is not a straight line.
Although it was my dream to launch Healing Elaine® in the early 2000s, I knew I had to learn about life first. So I worked with my gifts aka ability to advise successful friends of mine and truly help them on fundamental spiritual and psychological levels, while pursuing the other 100 things I wanted to do. I read James Altucher, who seemed to understand where I was coming from. I later met him in New York, as well as many others who inspired me. When HE® finally “took off” (years of sweat and tears behind it, no doubt – and NO ONE was doing what I did until instagram became a “thing”) – it finally became clear to me, and to everyone who doubted me, that I did the unthinkable. I did what was right for me and exciting for me, never selling out to hand-outs or offers from wealthy people who offered to non-profit me by giving me a bunch of cash when I needed it more than ever. This only expanded the power that I already held within me.
People are jealous of power, because they don’t want to do the hard work. Your power will always come from doing the things that others won’t do because they are lazy, entitled and ignorant. Your power is always yours, though others will try to take it by 1) living through you 2) putting you down 3) gaslighting you. The truth is that most people are unhappy (even the ones who SEEM happy on social media — especially them) because they constantly betray themselves. Only YOU know what it means to betray yourself. I knew that there were simply some non-negotiables in life that I couldn’t cave to as they felt like self-betrayal. In retrospect, I am so glad and proud of who I was and am. Even though taking certain “opportunities” would have helped me short-term. I didn’t want to be part of that world. I didn’t want to marry a Rockefeller. I had and have plenty of opportunities to settle down, constantly. Instead, I’ve chosen perhaps the weird path, but years of celibacy and autonomy. Sure, some of it could come from fear…but I am deliberate in each and every moment and decision of my life so probably that is only 10% or less of my decision-making.
If you are smart, attractive and have had certain societally acceptable opportunities in life, you may be at a crossroad and wonder what to do. Hundreds of folks over the last decade worked with me and launched their own things. Doctors became other things, totally unrelated to their fields. Healthcare workers became healers. Corporate executives became healers or started bakeries. You get the point. There is nothing you can truly trade off in this world other than your own essence…sadly, many people are happy to do so in order to fit in. I used to have friends like this. They abandoned all spirituality and morale and wonder why they are miserable and want to drink every night. Well I know why. And the very sight of me likely irritates them. Not because I am some huge outer world success, because they know how challenging my life has been…but because I own myself. Nothing can even come close to the power that comes from owning yourself. And I’m not talking intellectually.
If you are struggling with coming from a certain background and certain opportunity and you feel pulled between two worlds, I am here to tell you that you can bridge BOTH of them. I did. I worked those cool corporate jobs and made the cool corporate money only to feel like I was dying, and I knew that others would relate to me later on. But I didn’t stay past my expiration date. I also wasn’t perfect at those jobs. I didn’t stupid 20 something things that would now embarrass me. Only you know the cut-off between your old world and your new world, and there IS a way to do both. You just need guidance, because most will NEVER do this.
I was having a conversation with someone I adore recently, they are young, early 20s, and we spoke of their unique path and talents and how to never rip off mentors known or unknown on a personal level. I want to share that this is such an important thing to note. I always reference who was my very first official experience with spirituality and medical intuitive material and that is Caroline Myss. I came across her at the recommendation of an older acquaintance in my early 20s, even AFTER I lived right next door to the Barbara Brennan healing institute in Miami! God is always speaking to us, in this way. Anyhow, don’t rip off other people you’ve either met or not met. I can’t count how many have done this to me at this point. People I literally CRADLED for years, divulged all of my internal secrets to, hand-held them to their path, only for them to decide they want to become me versus themselves and act as though we never met. It’s a phenomenon for sure, I don’t take it personally, but I do better understand evil now and the nature of people who feel entitled to your strength.
What people crave more than anything in life is not your help — it is your STRENGTH. They will go about getting this in various ways. Strength doesn’t always feel like strength, though, when we are struggling. But no one can lend us strength. That is why it is so important to never confuse someone else’s kindness and strength with your OWN. It’s psychological transference to the max, and unhappy people of ALL AGES do this all day. Folks love to do this to me, not because I am special, but simply because I own myself and they do not. The best way to build yourself is by building others WITH others. I will always thank and recognize those who have inspired me, given me catch-phrases, or taught me things I didn’t teach myself. With that said, everything I write about has come FROM MY WORK. That is why it is crazy when I see other people ripped off concepts they have no experience with. In short: don’t ever betray those who have helped you. They will always end up eclipsing your transferred confusion of success, and you will wish you had them as allies later on. Be deliberate about the bridges you burn. The only ones I burn are the ones that threaten my life in some way — albeit a truly crazy person trying to live within me, or a thief.
I understand the pressure to “make it” and “be someone” and no, I didn’t grow up with stupid social media so I know it’s even “harder” now…but the soul tests remain the same. It’s all relative. As a young person, 20s, you think you will live forever. You can’t conceive of any other way. This is the time to take risks and become what you might have always been. It gets harder as we get older. Each year that passes in which you stay stuck, it will get harder to go live your dream. Nothing is permanent, other than the way we repeatedly treat ourselves and others. Taking a risk and letting your ego / self-image die as you worry about failing is totally worth it. I’ve “failed” so many times I can’t even keep track. I have endless horror stories. People think it’s because I made the wrong choices, but it’s not – I took risks, and they don’t.
Take risks. Know that you can “quit” one track, whilst focusing on another, and keeping the former in your mind and playbook. If you are brilliant, you can multi-task. If you are strong, you can reject all noise from the outer-world and the fake “success” on twitter / instagram / ETC and be who you are. The only true success, by the way, comes from 1:1 personal relationships in life. If you can’t have those, you have NOTHING. Once you have those though, and you want to flitter your accounts to 1million followers, go for it! Those who have that well, some are legit. Others, will crash and burn and lose it all. Nothing is free in this life. Not anything. It’s ok to become who you have always been…someone different than you thought you were supposed to be – because you can always change your mind again if you really want to. Chances are, you will not. You will bridge both versions of yourself in uncharted ways. Like I did.
Never forget that this is supposed to be hard. It’s HARD because we are hardwired to do things “the way we were told” or “the way we see them being done”. The only easy part is deciding that you will continue being a real person.
And finally, in accordance to my own personal path, if I’m being completely honest, if I could have the option of being a shoe salesperson in the middle of nowhere and raising 5 kids with a lovely husband from a young age, I WOULD. It would be much more aligned with what I feel matters in the world – love and community. It’s just that it truly wasn’t my path, and there was nothing I could do about that. My destiny is my destiny, your destiny is your destiny, and the path to achieving that love and community is intrinsically set differently for each one of us. Our soul chooses and our mind simply has to catch up with it and be at peace with WHO WE ARE.
Former clients: I have been shaking things up lately and making different offerings I’ve never made before. I am working with several people right now, helping them design, determine and launch their entrepreneurial careers separate from their corporate and traditional University careers and backgrounds. I am looking forward to sharing these people with you as they are collaborative — not competitive — in nature. In addition there are workshops, there is travel, and more on the calendar. Sign up for the mailing list here on the home page, and give me a shout 917-985-1221 to know what is going on. I don’t send out email blasts about special offerings – you will have to call me and ask instead. If you are a new prospective client, please simply follow my protocol in my about section and then call. NO TEXTS. If you want to work with me, you have to understand that I’m not giving you my core and strength – I am helping you access yours, and only if you are willing. If you are a celebrity, please do not have your manager or PR person contact me. Call me yourself. Use a pseudonym. We can figure the rest out later. If you are A list, working with you comes at a severe cost to me – energetically and otherwise. You can’t imagine what I have gone through and go through, as a consequence of working with or being associated with certain people. The fee for working with anyone who is world famous will start at a premium and I won’t negotiate. It’s not worth my health, wellbeing and logistical stability to take any more chances just because I want to help someone. If you are a regular person, please do not hustle me for a lesser fee. I have accommodated so many people as a courtesy, and it astounds me as to how often I didn’t need to do so.
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