In addition to studying historical profiles, there’s significant value in learning from others that have achieved success more recently. We can ask meaningful questions directly instead of synthesizing anecdotes from previous material. More than that, we can gain insights that are particularly relevant in modern times.
Today, I’m excited to introduce you to Farnoosh Brock, a Fortune 100 executive that successfully made the transition to entrepreneur and hasn’t looked back.
She’s also managed to grow her business while improving her health and marriage – two key areas where many entrepreneurs stumble. In this interview, we’ll learn how she redefined success for herself and built her business without sacrificing her other priorities. We’ll also learn about the areas where she’s still looking to grow.
Farnoosh, thanks so much for sharing with us. First, let’s talk about the big picture. How do you define success?
My definition has morphed since I left the corporate world where I chased promotions and raises all day long, since I gave myself permission to do the work that truly suits and defines me, and since I stopped pleasing others or living up to their standards. It may be worthwhile to share both perspectives, the *before* and the *after*!
Before corporate, I defined success as a job with a fancy title, preferably Vice President but Senior Director would have sufficed, a large income, and a lot of responsibilities for other people and projects. I defined success as having a nice big house stuffed with nice big things and a closet stuffed with nice clothes and killer shoes. I defined success as having stature, a network of wealthy friends, and a rich lifestyle.
Now, even though I still want the clothes and the shoes – really, I do! – they have stopped being a measure of success for me along with a few other things.
Today, success in its simplest is an expression of freedom and permission, freedom from the expectations of society, culture, tradition, and people that do not align to who you are and how you want to live, and permission to allow yourself be free.
Success is having the courage to live life on your own terms, and neither apologize for it nor feel guilty about it . Success is making your contribution through authentic and honest means. It means engaging with the world and seeing where you can insert your gifts and talents and skills and then going out to do just that.
Success is building a sustainable model to support your aspirations and your dreams. Success is making a difference in the world and knowing that you had direct impact on that, and then doing it again! It means not having to trade your values or compromise your honesty, no matter how big and popular you get.
Success means inner peace at the end of a long day. Success means being able to live with yourself and your choices. Success means building wealth doing what you love. Success means living without regrets.
How has that shaped your life today?
For the longest time, I was chasing the wrong measure of success, and that started to shape me early on. I did not like the effect it had on me, my personality and priorities. Life was a big fast chase after something that I ended up not wanting at all. Imagine my disappointment!
Maybe it had to happen that way because now, the definition of success does shape my choices in life, my pursuits, my plan and even though I still want to achieve so much more, I feel successful right now, and that feeling has started to shape me in the right form finally!
You were particularly successful at making a smooth transition from employee to business owner. Can you talk about your habits and schedules during the time you were still working and building your business on the side?
Great question and that was a tricky balance to manage, but I was so passionate about the website and the possibility of doing something on my own, which until then I had thought inconceivable, that I was just compelled. I say this part because if you are just having fun, this won’t work. You need to be serious and passionate about your side-hustle and of course, still true to your work and job responsibilities.
Here are a few things I started doing on the job side:
- I started to treat it like a job instead of a career. I knew it wasn’t long-term whether or not the side-hustle worked out, I was going to get out of corporate.
- As the result of #1, I stopped going above and beyond, and I just did a good job with what I was supposed to do. This gave me back time. I also stopped caring about corporate politics and networking and outreach and all the things I had to do to get ahead in my career. It gave me peace of mind.
- I started saying no to work that had little impact and was not of importance to my boss, such as side requests from teams and projects outside our group (because of my expertise). Hard to do at first, but it was no longer a priority for me nor was it my job.
- I used every minute of my free time – even during daytime because I worked from home – on my website. There were lots of pockets of time to do this.
- I took days off here and there as I had vacation accumulated to shut off from work completely and focus on my side-hustle.
- I used weeknights and weekends to do my serious heavy-duty work because it was still hard to do it during the day with the “work distractions.”
It was an intense period, but I am so happy I did it because it helped me grow the side-hustle to the point where I felt comfortable quitting. I still wasn’t making any money when I quit. I was just ready to give it my undivided attention. Today, as I write this, I am getting very close to that six-figure salary I left behind in my own business, so I assure you that it’s possible for anyone out there, if I was able to do it with my limited knowledge of entrepreneurship, business, sales and marketing. You can learn just about anything! Stay motivated and hungry!
Aside from work, do you have any broader core beliefs, habits, or practices that you believe are just as important to your success?
My first core belief is that we are capable of what we set our minds to do. This I believe with all my heart. It is the belief that keeps me going when I have no idea what I’m doing and when I feel lost and confused. Total conviction and faith that you are meant for success.
My habits have gone through a roller coaster but that’s because I am human like everyone else. The best habits that I have formed in the pasts and keep reforming are my early rising habits, being vigilant with my time, learning to say no and doing it in such a way that leaves the person asking feel good and understood, nurturing my relationships with love and compassion before business, and self-care of the physical and mental body through super healthy foods, green juicing, yoga, walking, and cycling.
In a nutshell, early rising, learning to say no, nurturing relationships, and taking care of your body and mind.
These habits are so important because you have got to feel good in order to be at your best and do your best, therefore you must create these conditions daily. When you do, you give birth to a better version of yourself every day, and you do your best work in life.
Are there any habits you don’t have yet but want to develop?
Oh my goodness! So so many more habits, and I will gladly share.
For years, I’ve wanted to get into Ashtanga yoga but they don’t offer it where I live. It’s the form of yoga that I feel I was born to do, and I want to develop a daily practice of this yoga in my life. A 90-minute practice at the crack of dawn, 6 days a week.
I want to learn martial arts and infuse that powerful and peaceful mindset into my life.
I want to practice the habit of patience and non-judgement every day and all situations. It’s a work in progress.
I am relatively happy with my writing habit but Stephen King has inspired me to up the ante. I believe writing is the source of all wealth and whoever you are, you can benefit from the habit of writing.
I want to become a raw foodist and eat only raw wholesome foods and vegetables. This may happen when I hire a personal chef!
There are more, but this gives you an idea. I am in a constant state of personal development and self-improvement, and whenever I have met anyone else who has gone through a similar journey, it’s been the best decision they made. I hope to inspire you who are reading this here to do the same for yourself. You won’t regret the self-discovery that happens along the way.
Farnoosh Brock left a 12-year career at a Fortune 100 company to start her own company, Prolific Living Inc. and follow her passions. She now teaches unhappy professionals how to manage their “mid-career crisis” with a step-by-step plan out of a bad job into work they can love and find profitable. Check out the Smart Exit Blueprint course (open for August registration) or the FREE educational videos for some immediate career tips.