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Dropping Out and Moving Up

by Amanda McCreight

This past year has been the craziest and most unconventional year of my life.  Let’s see… where do I start? I dropped out of graduate school, moved from New York to Atlanta on a whim, and ultimately landed my dream job.  Don’t get me wrong – in the moment, it was all very scary, but while making such bold decisions can be very hard, it’s all about calculated risk and determining how much you’re willing to take a chance on yourself.

My sophomore year of college, when I was in school to become a Physician Assistant, I felt my creativity stirring and stumbled across the (not so new) idea of entrepreneurship.  It was 2016, and I had just read the book “Living With A Seal” by Jesse Itzler. Upon reading, I thought to myself, “You mean people can really have an idea, and just because they believe in themselves and get their foot in the door, it can be successful…?” In no time at all, I caught the entrepreneurship bug and decided to spend my time outside of class working on a travel app I had dreamt up. I became obsessed with the idea that something that came out of MY BRAIN can end up tangible, talked about, and known to the public.

By the time grad school was approaching, I had to make a gametime decision about what I wanted for my future.  My project was gaining legs, I had a clear vision of where I wanted to go with it, and I had other people believing in it too.  I was spending most of my time working on this project and had really fallen out of love with school (sorry mom!). To give me the extra push I needed, I decided to take Jesse Itzler’s life optimization course, Build Your Life Resume. Remember that guy Jesse Itzler I mentioned earlier? Yeah, he comes back around in this story (and he’s pretty central to it). To give you some background, he is a serial entrepreneur. He started the first ever private jet card company and sold that to Warren Bufffet, cofounded Zico Coconut Water and sold it to Coca Cola, wrote two bestseller books (one of which I mentioned earlier), had an early “failed” career as a white rapper, is extremely funny, a family man, and an all-around interesting guy.

I ended up taking his course the semester before I was supposed to start grad school. He talked about “Taking life into your own hands,” “creating your own luck,”and “trusting in yourself enough to build the life you envision.” The further I got into his course, the more clear it became that I didn’t want to spend my time in grad school and, rather, I wanted to dedicate 100% of my time to myself and my project.  It’s all about the calculated risk that I mentioned earlier, and this was fully worth it in my eyes. 

Ultimately, I dropped out of school – but it didn’t start that way.  All I did was request to take a one year leave of absence from my program. After months of formal letters and interviews, they obliged to hold my spot in grad school for one year, while I was off to explore my entrepreneurial endeavors.

Last summer I packed my bags, moved back home to New York, and set out to dedicate 100% of myself to personal development and making my project come to life.  At this point, Jesse’s coaching course had ended and he decided to start a new round of the course that I couldn’t afford. I really wanted to be a part of it considering it had given me so much inspiration in the past, and now that my future was in my own hands, I really needed to hold myself accountable and keep my momentum going.  I came up with a plan.

I created my LIFE resume – not my work resume or my school resume with old GPAs or college awards. Instead, I put everything that makes me, me, into one clean document: Climbing a volcano in Nicaragua, joining the varsity bowling team in high school (I don’t really bowl), maintaining annual holiday dinners with my friends since we were 15, and of course, my entrepreneurial side (see: winning a pitch competition for my project, speaking to college classes about my entrepreneurial journey, and taking a leave of absence from school.) Within that document, I highlighted my values, interests, morals, and goals. I then compiled all of this into an email to Jesse and at the end of the email, I proposed that in exchange to be in his new course for free, I would love to help him out with whatever he needed. I pressed send on the email.

I could’ve never imagined the response that was to come.

He replied, “You got it, you’re clear to be in this course…but what are your thoughts on moving to Atlanta and living / working with me and my wife Sara Blakely, founder of SPANX.”

When you get an opportunity like that, you take it.  I had never been to Atlanta, don’t have any friends or family there, but knew this is where my soul would thrive.  In a few short months, I had moved into their house and went full speed ahead working with Jesse on his companies. Somehow, I went from taking his coaching course to helping him build it.

Life is really funny and when you look back, it’s funny how the universe foreshadows your future.  Who knew reading that book in 2016 would be so important to my own story.

As the months went on, I decided to put my personal project on hold. It was a tough decision to make, considering my initial goal was to focus on that, but I became incredibly invested in putting my time, effort, and energy into Jesse and his companies.  He took a chance on me, and in turn, I really wanted to show up for him. After a few short months, I was offered a full time job with him as the Social Media Coordinator and Content Creator for him and his brands. Since then, I’ve been able to speak on stage with him, attend life changing events, and be a part of the exciting rollercoaster that is the growth of his companies.

I confidently called my school and told them I wasn’t coming back – for good.

It’s really hard to go against societal norms. Dropping out of school is NOT the safe option, but I felt that pull in my gut and I listened.  I trusted myself and that intense feeling of belief led me to having one of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs believing in me too. When the opportunity presented itself to help out and be a part of this team, it was an easy yes!  I’ve come to learn that when something feels right, when you feel called to it, you never pass it up.

Feature Image via Stocksy

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