If you’ve followed the leap stories for a while (thank you!), you’ll know that many of the leapers we’ve written about, have had the backup of a partner to help them take risk (financially and emotionally). This story is different. This story examines what happens when you no longer have a partner to help you ride through the highs and lows of self-employment.
Petrina Turner is an interior designer and founder of Petrina Turner Design. Petrina had been successfully running her studio for several years, before ending a long-term relationship 18 months ago. Unravelling her personal life forced her to find the courage to take bigger leaps in her professional career.
It also put her back in control of her life. Petrina reignited past contacts, looked for new opportunities in familiar places, and reached out to her support network and asked for what she needed (women need to do more of this!).
I’m not sure about you, but I definitely believe that leaps are a personal revolution. It doesn’t matter if the leap is in your private or business life, the change always starts on the inside. Self -awareness of what is and isn’t working in our lives is what we need to stay awake at the wheel. Curiosity to consider alternative paths and imagine ‘what ifs’ can take you places you won’t get to by playing too safe and being comfortable.
This week I received an invitation to Petrina’s launch of her new collaboration with Designer Rugs, which she says she may not have considered without the events of the past few years. And so I’m reminded that every struggle is an opportunity for growth. Challenge is how we expand our lives. And not giving up on ourselves is the most important work there is.
What did you want to be when you grew up and why?
Olivia Newton-John… from the time I could remember. I think it started from watching Grease. I was, and still am, quite shy. An extroverted introvert of sorts and I think I identified with Sandy, who was just waiting to burst forth.
Once I realised that it wasn’t really achievable to be someone else I knew I wanted to make lovely spaces, I just didn’t know early on what it was called. I was always making and creating.
What did/do you study?
At high school I majored in art and industrial drawing. I was the only girl in the Industrial Arts Department. It was full of male students studying metal and woodwork. I ranked in the top 10 percentile in the state but because I had chosen arts subjects my marks were scaled down and I didn’t get into my interior design course. So my dream to study interior design didn’t happen straight away… I took a couple of small hops to get there.
I then applied to study architectural drafting as I could already see what a benefit this would be in my career path. When I went to apply at the building department one of the male staff tried to direct me to the fashion design department, three times… I almost didn’t get in as applications had closed and all the places were filled. My mum and I rang every day until the head of department eventually decided I really wanted a place so they could fit me in. I think he just wanted us to stop calling…
After completing my drafting course, I then studied interior design. I loved every moment of my studies, even the late nights and long weekends of work. During my studies I won a national design award, and on completion was awarded most outstanding student at the design school I attended. I was so proud, and so eager to get out and start designing.
And the learning has never stopped. I really do think that it’s so important to keep expanding your mind, you never know where it will lead you. I take creative classes whenever I can, and as a small business owner I am open to learning as much as I can to grow my business.
What has been your most scary/courageous leap you’ve ever made (preferably in your business/career/life direction)?
I’ve made a few leaps.
My first job out of design school was at Designer Rugs. I started as a design assistant and went on to become senior designer and oversaw production. But I just knew that I needed to get out into the world. So at 27 I resigned and travelled the world for nine months. I left with a backpack, a camera, and a wish list of places I’d always wanted to visit. It was inspiring, and freeing, and I learnt so much about myself, the world, and wonderful cultures and architecture. I came back with an even greater desire to create and an appreciation of how fortunate I was to live in Australia with the kinds of opportunities available.
Almost seven years ago I was working in a well paid job in the design industry that I was really enjoying, but it was more of a management role, while I was freelancing design projects on the side. I just knew in my heart that I wanted to be focusing on my creative pursuits so I took the leap to resign, with their support and well wishes. At that stage I didn’t have a single client, I just knew I needed to make the time to make it happen. I am not one of those types to make brash decisions, so I went into this new phase with enough money in the bank to pay my bills for three to six months, even if I didn’t get any clients. I knew I could go and find another job if I needed to at the end of that time. I didn’t need to. Within a couple of weeks I had my first client and my business steadily grew by word of mouth from there.
I’ve only shared this with my closest friends and family, but I think it’s time. One of my scariest leaps came a year and a half ago. It was a personal leap, but was also tied up in my work…when you work for yourself everything is personal.
I had been in a long-term relationship and while I had the love and support of my partner in the day-to-day, as well as the financial peace of mind to know that there was someone else sharing the bills, there were things we had talked about and planned for that I had to finally accept weren’t going to happen. They were my deal breakers and I just couldn’t live a life in waiting any longer. I realised that love is not all you need, trust is also immensely important. So I made the difficult decision to let the relationship go. And everything changed. I had to re-assess my whole future, and it was heartbreaking and confronting and scary. But at the same time I suddenly felt back in control. I felt I could make plans and have them come to fruition.
From a career perspective it was difficult navigating the doubts in my mind about how I would pay my bills now that I was a single income household, and a freelance one at that. But I also knew that I had a wonderful support network. I learnt to take help when it was offered, and I had to trust in myself that I had built enough goodwill, that I created enough beautiful work, that the cycle of referrals would continue and it would all be OK. And it is!
Through it all I have proved to myself that I am stronger than I ever imagined, and I have been laying some exciting foundations for some collaborations that I may not have previously considered had I not taken this leap. Wow, that was another small leap just in the telling of this and it feels good: to share that, even in what appears to be a picture perfect life, everyone has something going on that they keep to themselves. So take care of each other, ask someone how they are doing and ask for help if you need it.
What were you doing before you made your leap?
I was doing what I’m doing now, but in the knowledge that if there were lean times, as there can be when you freelance, that I had a partner that was there sharing the financial burden. So in hindsight I was probably playing it safe in my career.
Who have been the biggest 3 – 5 influences in your life, in terms of your career and doing work?
My mum is definitely my number one influence. She has been a constant support throughout my life and has always supported and encouraged me in whatever I am doing. So much so: to the point of sitting up with me until 4am too many times while I was studying, pretending to watch Miss Teen USA or some other TV show she had no interest in, and when I would tell her to go to bed she would assure me she was riveted. She was also an amazing role model for my career, running her own successful small business with her sister for 25 years. When I made my biggest, most recent leap my mum and dad were there to give both their emotional and financial support. They took a leap of there own and became the “Bank of Mum & Dad” loaning me the money to buy my first home, and create my design studio within it.
My wonderful friends who have been there to help me through the tough times when I felt overwhelmed beyond imagine and celebrate my triumphs. They have reminded me of the beauty and wonder of what I do, and have offered their love and support when I needed it. I could not do what I do without them. They are my goddesses.
My creative tribe are so very important. There are a few who stand out to me that have guided me throughout my life. Tamara Maynes, my friend and mentor who not only inspires me with her amazing talent but encouraged me to take some leaps that will soon be revealed. Megan Morton and her sharing machine, The School. Sharing herself and her kindness, sharing her amazing teachers including Robyn Holt who has inspired and guided by journey in business. And of course Kylie and Binny at Of Kin who gave me the courage to voice my beliefs and embrace them, as well as their unending inspiration, love and support.
I think my year 11/12 industrial arts teacher Mr Hopkins would have to rate pretty high too. In a male dominated subject at my school (I was the only girl in the department), he was a constant encouragement to me and my ideas when I was just starting on my creative journey.
What did you have in place before you made the leap?
A wonderful support network of family and friends, and a sneaky bank account as a safety net. I say sneaky because I behave as if it doesn’t exist, until I need it for something.
What was your defining ‘I can’t do this anymore’ moment that lead you to the leap?
I think with all of my leaps, it’s come from my soul, from a sense that I needed more, and that I had to trust myself to deliver it. A need to be in control of my own destiny.
How did/do you overcome/work with the fear that comes with leaping? How do you decide to choose courage?
I think, for me, when the fear of staying where I am and not following my true path becomes stronger than the fear of leaving the comfort of my current surroundings, that’s the time to leap. I never saw my decisions to leap as choosing courage. To be honest there was a little survival instinct involved. It wasn’t until I started sharing my story that friends told me how brave I had been, perhaps that’s reflective of the things your heart knows that your mind doesn’t.
Plan for a leap, both emotionally and financially, as best you can. I kept reminding myself that if things didn’t work out the way I planned, I could choose a new direction.
How did you fund your leap?
I am very good at putting money aside ‘for a rainy day’.
What other leaps have you made in the past?
It’s funny that this is about leaps. From the time I was five I was a tumbler, my mum sent me to lessons because I used to cartwheel down the hallway at home. So I guess you could say I honed my leaping skills at a young age. I leapt all the way to the USA in 1998 for the World Age Group Games where I represented Australia. Tumbling is all about calculated risk. I would throw my body around doing what should be impossible things, but trained three times a week until my late teens making sure I was as prepared as I could each time I went out onto the floor.
What leaps didn’t work out? What did you do about it?
I think all leaps work out to some degree. They may not always go to plan but from them you can learn so much about yourself and the people around you.
What are you most fearful of? How do you deal with it?
Being on this journey by myself. But I’ve come to realise the people that are important in your life are always there, so now I know I can reach out at any time and they will be there to share it.
How would you rate your level of happiness about making your leap?
1 being sad, 10 being rad.
Of my most recent leap, initially I was about a three, now I’m closer to an eight and aiming for a ten.
What’s the biggest upside to making the leap?
Knowing that I am following my passions and that I am in control of my own future.
What’s the biggest downside to making the leap? And how do you get through it?
The fear of the unknown is the scariest thing about a leap but it can be so amazing when you accept it, leap anyway and see things you never imagined possible.
What might be your next leap?
I’m not really sure, but I’m peering over a few edges.
What are your favourite words to live by?
Be brave and believe.
I also find HOPE really powerful… everyone needs it.
Who do you admire who also made the leap?
My mum… she is the bravest person I know. I learnt all of my leaping skills from her.
I also admire my amazing friend Dara Shashoua who lives every day with strength and grace. In the face of an MS relapse less than 18 months ago that would make most of us retreat to a simple life, Dara took a leap to start her own business. She also recently took an 8km hike, amazing, and shared her story for the first time on her business Facebook account. Not because she wanted anyone to feel sorry for her, but because she hoped to inspire and empower others, by showing that even in adversity you can follow your dreams. She does that in spades. Dara passionately she runs her business Byzantine Design with a knowledge unmatched, care for her clients that is unending, and the most beautiful spirit.
A piece of advice for someone with an itch to leap?
Jump. You never know where it will take you and there’s a good chance it will be wonderful.
Right now I’m:
Hearing: The waves washing on the shore as I stroll along the beach.
Eating: Thankyou Group Sea Salt and Carmel Nut Bars.
Drinking: Aperol Spritz.
Reading: Tea leaves… sometimes it’s good to get a heads up about what’s on the other side of that leap…
Loving: Life, surrounded by my beautiful family and friends.
After reading Petrina’s story, this week I’m going to ponder “what’s one thing I could do this week that feels uncomfortable, that I know is worth giving a shot?” I invite you to join me.
P.S. The Time eCourse starts this Friday! Enrolments are still open. See below!
Now. Is. The. Time.
Class starts Friday 15 April 2016
Enrolments now open until Sunday 17 April
Calling possibilitarians from across the globe! We invite you to take a leap this leap year and join us for an productivity and planning ecourse to program your business GPS for 2016.
Our newest ecourse, The Time, is a creative and interactive 6 week (or self paced) ecourse for curious and entrepreneurial types, exploring your business goals, getting to what is essential, planning tools, dealing with stress and overwhelm, and becoming the master of your time and energy with a good dose of self care. It’s like a day spa for your business brain!
Mindset, Action, Self-Care Method
We strongly believe if you don’t prioritise your life, someone else will do it for you. From our experience of surviving corporate careers and building families, to leaping and starting our own businesses, we’ve taken the best of what we know from both camps and devised our method for prioritising our lives, and crafting a career on our own terms.
Over six packets we take you through the following phases:
- Phase One starts with heightening your self awareness and checking in on your mindset;
- Phase Two is about capturing all that is going on inside your head, wrangling it into a structure and creating doable action;
- Phase Three makes sure that we take care of ourselves in the process by lovingly managing all our vital energy sources.
Suss it out
Want to hear us talking about what you’ll experience in the course and get a taste of what it’s like working with us? Watch our webinar here.
I think for me the biggest take away has been to really spell out my priorities . I tend to get lost in the “urgent” rather than the important things that will actually propel me forward to my goals. I spent a lot of last year feeling as though there was a lot of action, but not much progress. Amazing how focusing on my priorities – decluttering my life and our home in particular – has seen so much change and transformative energy flow. – Kate McMahon
At a time of change and new challenges in my work and family life Kylie & Binny’s THE TIME course helped me immensely. It offered tools, insights and tricks to gain clarity and focus, and with that in mind to plan and plot my realistic daily, weekly, monthly rhythms. – Bettina Kaiser, Bettina Kaiser art + design
The Time workshop was invaluable. You are guided through business and wellbeing topics with exercises along the way to help you articulate for yourself where you’d like to take your business and what you would like to achieve. – Anne
This workshop came at a critical time for me – it enabled me to get the space I needed to focus not just on my business, but also on making the most of my life. Thank you! – Elise Heslop, Director, Plyroom
Kylie and Bin are both so lovely. They emphasised simplicity, mindfulness and self awareness, along with tapping into feelings and beliefs, planning for the next few months and prioritising tasks – which was all a great reminder for me. – Nhung Vo Founder, The Sunday
The Time workshop was a magnificent combo of personal development and business planning & development. Who we are is such a critical part of what our business is and how we operate, so this workshop really helped me connect these. – Emma Diffen Peritus Communications
The first quarter of 2016 has already passed. Are you where you’d hoped you be?
Get on track and enrol now, and ensure that the rest of 2016 takes you where you want to do.
The Time Is Now.