Crossing one bridge at a time

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Three lane road going over a large, cement bridge during early morning with pale blue skies and grey clouds.

A literal bridge crossing: From the beaches into Jacksonville

For the last two years, I trekked over this bridge, transporting me from Atlantic Beach to Jacksonville. Admittedly, I would openly sigh as I crossed over knowing a couple of things. One, I was leaving Bo, my black lab son, for 10+ hours. Two, I was leaving the air and energy of living by God’s pool. Don’t get me wrong, I was very grateful for my job which allowed me to find a rental home at the beach. But there was a distinct change in my body’s balance.

As each day came to a close, I greatly appreciated the blessed ‘cross back over’… the ‘ah, I am home’ moment when I’d see the marsh grasses swaying in the brackish water. When I’d smell the salt in the air and hear the birds squawking in delight as they sat at the water’s edge.

It was my evening exhale to the morning’s inhale. A bit spoiled? Yes. A lotta blessed? Yes.

A symbolic bridge crossing: From corporate leadership to freelance consultancy

A paved, curved road to the left with green trees and and grass on the right side. Stone post follow the curved road every 2 feet.

Life can throw you some unexpected curves. Recently, I made a big life choice I did not expect to make earlier this year. I resigned from my position as director of corporate marketing and communication at a large organization. My next professional journey will return me back on the professional path of marketing consultant.

Needless to say, this was not a decision made lightly nor overnight. From an organizational perspective, the department was making great strides in the marketing, branding and communication sphere.  Over time, I realized our momentum and progress had its limitations. After introspective prayer, self-reflection and conversations with mentors, I decided to step down and allow a new leader to pick up the ball and carry it over the strategic marketing finish line.

Grappling with your leadership limitations is a gut check. It’s messy and requires a new level of honesty that shakes your trust and floods you with way more questions versus answers. Yet during this gut check, an epiphany became clear. I know myself and I am comfortable in my skin. While my leadership role didn’t work out with this particular organization, it didn’t define the entire scope of my identity or capabilities.

As Tony Bennett says: The best is yet to come

A narrow, paved road in Italy leads upwards and away with a white stone wall to the right and green trees to left.


As my new journey begins, I want to intentionally scale back. I’d like to get back to doing hands-on work versus sitting in multiple, hour-long planning meetings. My heart is on my sleeve – I want to make a difference and help smaller organizations, including start-ups and young businesses, set up and surpass their marketing goals. I also want to seek a better life balance. At this new turn in the road, I know the best is yet to come. I’m excited to welcome new clients, adventures and partnerships. I am comfortable in my skin.

And now it’s your turn! This is your open invitation to share your newly planned journeys for 2018. Your leap from corporate to self-employed or to a smaller company. Have you made or do you plan to make a bold decision? This is a learning platform so please share as you may help someone cross over a bridge or journey down a new path.

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Andrea · at

I applaud your introspection and I can’t wait to see the journey. I’m so at home working for myself. I love the constant learning and the ability to pursue the kind of client relationships and work that drives my passion – and I know you will as well.

    Debbie Schallock · at

    I hope to learn from you and the Tigermoth team. I’m up for schooling and I know you are a terrific teacher Andrea!

Dan Medag Oppen · at

What an incredibly bold move Deb! Your message is inspiring because it is evident that the decision you made was so courageous.
Though I do not have anything to share, I couldn’t read this post and not comment on how much it affected me! Thank you for sharing!!

    cooldeb · at

    Well thank you Danielle and it’s nice to hear from you! Honored I could provide some inspiration. There are many more stories and adventures out there. I hope others will share for continued learning and inspiration!

Nor · at

Hey Cool Deb! I am so proud of you while at the same time inspired! You really are staying true to yourself…….& Bo! I know he played in big part in your decision, whether you know it or not. He is more important to you & being with him brings you true joy! (that’s my dime store psychology).
What separates you out is your grit! You do not let fear stand in the way. Enjoy your new found time, hands on work & positive energy you now have the opportunity to share with others. Thanks for sharing your journey! These days my journey is to take 1 Day at a Time & to stay optimistic!

    cooldeb · at

    I appreciate the dime store psychology Nor! : ) And yes, as Bo ages, I have a new appreciation for the value of our days, months and years together. I believe in working hard and having a strong work ethic. I also believe in playing hard and dedicating time to that area of life as well. I know you have been through many a journey. Thank you for your inspiration to so many of us – one step forward one day at a time.

Lisa · at

My dear friend – this post encourages at least me to take a moment and inventory the things I’m invested in – you are truely remarkable, brave, and I’m excited to watch and hear the adventures this next chapter writes for you — dare I say — you write for us. love and miss you —

    Debbie Schallock · at

    You are too kind Lisa. I am God led so bravery is moot. I join many who have gone before me! Let me know how your inventory exploration goes. I’m doing the same, thus the change.

Marcia Nurse · at

Great perspective. Love the read. As a fellow introspective person you are offering insight that many think, but dare not to speak. You are giving insight that will set the corporate captives free. I know you are resilient and your maker has covered the intentions of your heart. Your actions are proof that faith exists.

    Debbie Schallock · at

    Marcia, thank you for the introspection and reply. Your words are kind and Faith filled. Appreciate it; appreciate you.

Theresa S Hunter · at

Wow. Too many would just sit idle and collect a check. It is bold and courageous of you but it is also right for you. Follow your heart! I don’t have big plans for 2018. I just started back in a position on the middle school level that I have long awaited! Looking forward to catching up soon.

Ebony Dukes · at

I’m so in love with this because it speaks to my soul! I too questioned my abilities after I felt I had reached the limit, but I came to the same realization. The next chapter will be a new adventure each day and an opportunity to discover strengths you didn’t know you had. Congrats on taking a leap of faith 🙂

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