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Guest Opinion: Are you playing it safe?


By Kathleen Riessen | Speaker, facilitator and business advisor

Have you ever made a completely crazy and irrational decision? My friend calls these “crap your pants” moment. I’ve had these moments three times in my adult life.

All three times, I walked to the proverbial cliff, took off my parachute, looked down and jumped. The first time was in 2008 during the biggest recession of most of our lifetimes. I was six months pregnant with my first child and had an overabundance of self-confidence that balanced out the voice in my head (and a whole bunch of people) telling me that I was crazy – that it was horrible timing. But not me, I saw it as the perfect time to start a business. Nowhere to go but up, right?

The second time was when my husband left his corporate job. We left the security of his paycheck, health insurance and our financial stability behind and we dove off the cliff again so he could run our gyms.

The third time was at the end of 2017 when I sold my partnership in my marketing firm to my partner. I wanted to follow my passion of helping others find their why. I’ve been on a journey for the last few years that was about some kind of change. I didn’t know if it was a personal change like taking on a new hobby or a professional change like joining a board or starting a new business. From the outside, I should have been fulfilled. I had received every award the American Advertising Federation gave by the time I was 33, I’d built a business that met my goals and made me feel like I had topped out in my career, I had invested in other businesses and we were making real differences in people’s lives, I had three wonderful children and I was in love with my husband. I’d faced adversity head-on when my husband almost died and then my baby almost died over and over again. I’d been driven to the edge of sanity while I was trying to run a business, volunteer on local, district and national boards, raise three young boys while my husband traveled 40-50 percent of the time and take our youngest child to five doctor’s appointments a week for the better part of a year. I lived to tell the story of all of it but I had no idea what any of this meant.

So I sat back and pondered. As much as I wanted to take action, I just waited. If I was patient, perhaps the answer would come to me and it did – almost three years later but it came. One day, I looked back and I saw a common thread and realized I’d already started down the path that I was meant to take. So, I announced my dream and the most amazing thing happened. Other people started telling me about their dreams. They started telling me about a feeling they had deep down in their gut. They didn’t know what to do with it but it was there. Once we brought it out into the open and started talking about it, they created these awesome plans and are making them happen.

I believe there are a whole bunch of people just like me that are sitting around with this feeling in their guts saying that there is something more/something different they are meant to do and they have no idea what to do with that feeling.

If you have that feeling, don’t ignore it. Raise your hand and acknowledge there’s a journey you want to take to understand what this feeling means. What are you meant to do? Maybe it’s a professional change. Maybe it’s a personal change. Who knows? It’s worth exploring because just on the other side of that feeling, could be true fulfillment and happiness.

Shoot me a note and let me know if you have that feeling. I’d love to talk through it with you and, if nothing else, you’ll confirm that I’m not crazy – well, maybe just a little.

Kathleen Riessen has juggled owning a professional services firm, owning three franchise operations, purchasing previously existing businesses, purchasing previously-owned franchise businesses, developing and running a start-up for 10 years and raising multiple children all before the age of 35. There aren’t many business challenges Kathleen hasn’t faced through her own businesses or through consulting work with her clients. Even with this immense amount of responsibilities, Kathleen strives to lead a purposeful life focused on her why. Her ability to balance family, multiple businesses and volunteering while leading through opportunities of growth disguised as crises has led her on a mission to teach others this delicate balance. Her transformative message of living your why-life will inspire you to lead and live more fully. Contact her via email.

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