Have you ever wanted to do something different?

Follow a passion or a dream? Work for yourself, change jobs or just choose a different path in your life?

How do we find the courage we need to jump off the cliff and follow that dream, or choose that new path?

I remember, I had given up my own career and life in Australia to follow my husband when his career took him to China. Then something totally unexpected and heart wrenching happened. It was there that I became a full time single mum with only $2000 left in the bank, and I had to start my life again. I had to move back to Australia and reinvent myself. But how did I find the courage to do this?

Looking back, it came down to a choice; a choice between letting this event define me or using it to create a new and different life for my little 4-year-old girl, Abby and myself. My mind chose the latter.

Believe me; it was tough, and some days I questioned myself, but I never let those doubts and questions take over. I stayed strong and followed my passion. That passion was leadership. I knew because when I was researching, teaching, consulting or thinking about this space, I was in the flow. It wasn’t work anymore; it was my true purpose.

So with this in mind, I asked myself how I could make this passion for leadership develop into something more meaningful - something bigger, something where I could be making difference to others. From there, I decided to start writing a blog which I called LeadershipHQ, meaning Leadership headquarters. It was a fitting name don’t you think? I also started working part time with a consulting company. My mind was a huge parachute; it was so open to learning everything I could about leadership and consulting. What happened next was pivotal in my career.

One day at a client site, someone said to me, “Sonia, I don’t understand why you are not working for yourself.” Now here came the ANTS (automatic negative thoughts) and I said to myself, “I can’t. I am not good enough. I am a single mum. It’s too scary, and what happens if I fail?” But where was the data? I couldn’t actually find evidence that anything terrible would happen (other than the single mum thing). I squashed those ANTS!

I stood on a cliff, looking down to the water which on some days was calm and others rough. Then I looked up and saw what appeared to be a very clear and beautiful sky…with an amazing light. The light was shining from the amazing cheerleaders around me, the courage within me to follow my passion and dream, and finally from the clarity around building an amazing future for my little girl. I jumped. It took innate passion, complete vulnerability and absolute courage to jump, but I did. Now I have the most fulfilling and awesome business, and have just launched my fantastic women in leadership program – empowHER.

Let me share some of my key learnings along the way:

• Know your strengths, find your passions
• Watch your thinking, you will become your thoughts
• Surround yourself with only people that want to help you row your boat
• Start planning now, and do your research
• Just JUMP!

If I can jump, anyone can jump. Any one of you can be the best you want to be, and live the life and dreams you want and desire. It starts with your mind. Remember you are the Director of your stage and you control the actors that come onto that stage. Stand at the edge of that cliff right in front of you and focus on putting empowering and inspiring actors on your stage, and then jump – because you are amazing and can do anything you set your mind to!

Sonia McDonald, Director of LeadershipHQ, is a thought leader, consultant, dynamic speaker and writer.
Her business LeadershipHQ started as a blog as she loved writing about leadership, neuroscience and talent. Sonia has written for the HRD magazine and The Australian and now her own video blogs on Youtube. She is internationally recognised as an expert in leadership and strategy, organisational development and neuroscience.
Sonia’s key focus is on the strategies behind successful business and leadership. Her writing and articles are empowering, fun and informative. Taking a neuroscience approach, Sonia shows how the power of the human brain can become the driver for business and team success, pushing your business to achieve and surpass organisational objectives.
For over 20 years Sonia has been inspiring leaders and organisations around the globe. She has worked across diverse industries such as retail, education, construction and engineering, consulting, executive search and the public sector.