From the Inside Looking Out: Where I've Been and What's Up Next

Yowza - it’s been almost 3 years since I’ve posted at!  Did you miss me?


I’ve been feeling the urge to plug back into this little community for quite awhile, but I COULD.NOT.MAKE.IT.HAPPEN.  The resistance is crazy strong.


I recently completed Seth Godin’s altMBA (highly recommend) and I feel like I have found [am finding] my voice again.  So here I am. And here’s where I’ve been:



Back in the spring of 2015, I started a job as a Sr. Data Analyst at a “big” company.  I’d been resisting a legit corporate gig for so long, but this position just felt right.  Since that time, I’ve continually been asked to take on more and more responsibility, and now, almost 3 years later, I’m managing a team of almost 10 full-time employees and 20 contractors and I’m responsible for an enterprise data warehouse.  [I like to think] I’m a pretty big deal.


I don’t say all this just to brag about how great I am...  In hindsight, it’s clear to me that I was taking my own advice - the advice that I’d been sharing on this website and with my 1:1 coaching clients.  Since I doubt you want to scroll back through the blog archives, here’s a few key points:



I got crystal clear on my core desired feelings (CDFs).  

My #1 CDF then (and now)?  FREEDOM. You might be sitting there scratching your head trying to figure out how exactly I found freedom in a corporate gig.  

Well, for starters, I negotiated ample vacation time.  I started working with a global team, so it mattered less where and when I was working, and more that I was getting the work done.  TIME FREEDOM: CHECK. LOCATION FREEDOM: CHECK.

Add to that the thing that comes with a corporate gig (aka a regular paycheck)... FINANCIAL FREEDOM: CHECK.


I identified what my dream job would look like.  

This is a little trick I used to use with my coaching clients.  I wrote up my ideal job description - what’s the work I really love doing, what am I great at, what do I suck at, what type of environment do I want to work in, which benefits are *really* important to me and which ones could I care less about.  Then I found THAT job.


I sold myself.  HARD.

I like to poke fun at my husband because when I applied for this job, he told me I was *NOT* qualified.  And I wasn’t. On paper, I don’t think I met even the minimum job requirements. I’m honestly not sure how I got in the door for an interview.  But once I was in, you better believe I was singing my own praises like nobody’s business. You know why? Because I knew I had all the skills to ultimately be great at this job.  And I was right.

Once I got hired, I focused on one thing: DOING GOOD WORK.  I wasn’t concerned with corporate politics or the “who’s who” or who my “allies” should be (although I am starting to think about that now and I’ll be sharing more about this in the weeks and months to come) - I sold myself through the work.


I let go of the belief that Corporate = Bad.

In the entrepreneurial circles I was running in at the time, Corporate was the literal devil, just waiting to steal your soul.  

Look, Corporate isn’t good or bad.  It just IS. I decided to start looking at what this opportunity could provide me instead of focusing on what it couldn’t.


I took impeccable care of myself.

I knew from my past burn-out, that I needed to take care of myself to truly be successful.  I became obsessed with Crossfit as my outlet and stress reliever. I’m still up on the newest nutrition and superfood trends and am constantly experimenting with what works best for me (more on that in weeks to come!).  For me, that was the easy stuff.


I also needed to get honest with myself about what was feeling heavy, weighing me down, and no longer serving me.  And, that was this Steph Cook Wellness. But, this was my baby! And I’d worked tirelessly for *years* to get to the level I was at. It was really hard to let go, but, it no longer felt right, so I walked.  I knew when the time felt right, I could come back.


So, what’s next?

As I mentioned earlier, I was inspired by the altMBA to kickstart this project again, but it’ll be looking a bit different.  (spoiler alert: will be getting a facelift!)


Full disclosure: I signed up for the altMBA with the #1 goal of getting promoted this year.  I was PISSED during last year’s promotion cycle when I was fed what felt like a serious corporate line about how you can’t get promoted 2 years in a row.  I decided I wanted to fight the system from the inside out.


Through the 4 (grueling) weeks of the altMBA, my perspective shifted.  


I transitioned from being driven by a flashy title to recognizing that what I really want is to be an exceptional leader.  


I shifted from wanting to FIGHT the system (my natural Aquarian rebelliousness coming out) to having a burning desire to change the system from the inside out.  



I’m fully embracing that #intrapreneurlife and I want to share my journey with you.  Obviously, since I’m IN this thing, I can’t be as transparent as I’d like, but I hope you’ll stick with me as I navigate these waters and share what I can.


And, of course, there will be some wellness and work life balance tips thrown in the mix, because every good leader needs to know how to take care of themselves!


Let’s do this thing!