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Navigating Non-Conformity • How I Re-invented my Career + Business Identities 16 Times • Part 1
Navigating Non-Conformity • How I Re-invented my Career + Business Identities 16 Times • Part 2

Identity no. 9 • online Strategist

What lead me here • My previous career showed me that my next career MUST be international, this is non-negotiable. I researched the entirely of the internet, and found NYC to be the best place to setup an international career. I applied to every online, creative or web design related position I could find that was in the international arena and that was NOT a startup. I set up 5 interviews in 5 days in New York City. By day 5, I got a dream job in an international humanitarian non-profit headquarters, a cell phone number and a Brooklyn apartment. I flew home to Vancouver on day 6, packed up my life, and moved to NYC on day 7. I could do good, have high work autonomy (since I'd be the only one in this role), they were still growing so there's potential here. And it was NYC, baby!

Grit: 6/10 | Magic: 16/10.

Name that fear • "Will my field mission colleagues think I've abandoned them, by moving on to greener pastures?" Fear of disloyalty, fear of disconnection, and fear of success.

Overcoming fear • I went binary and made it happen. Scoured the entire web for positions, tagged them yes or no, applied to all the yes's, every single one of them, lined up 5 interviews in 5 days.

Why I left • I finished a two-year project in 8 months and there was no "up" to climb. By the end of that year, my salary (after federal tax, state tax and city tax), minus my very frugal expenses and minimalist lifestyle, was equal to $48 in savings. Not a sustainable career path. Even though we did great work, there was still this "Linus cloud" of scarcity hovering above my head. I didn't see a future of poverty for myself.

Greatest takeaways • Doing good is fulfilling, but only for a while when there's no commensurate acknowledgement or compensation.

Critics corner • "You're a miserable daughter who failed at becoming the best eldest son / doctor / lawyer we wanted you to be. You failed to buy us a single-family house with a large garage and backyard in this insane Vancouver real-estate market." (I was only 25 and had already contributed $20,000 towards parents' down-payment.

Identity no. 10 • Global E-Project Manager

What lead me here • At my previous career, I was tracking Google Analytics and noticed a lot of traffic from a website. I clicked on it and saw a posting for my dream job WITH a higher salary AND a larger and  more reputable international aid organization. I finished my work day, and look up that posting later at home, by which time the ad had percolated way down the original website. What where the chances that I saw the ad at the TOP of that page the EXACT moment I click on it?!? I got the job effortlessly becaue it was a perfect fit. And for the first time, I had a great boss AND a team AND creative freedom AND did good AND generous/talented/funny colleagues AND shiny, shiny travels AND plenty of vacation time AND a better salary, which meant I could move to Manhattan (my landlord chose me out of 36 applicants because of this organization)! Phew, only took 10 career overhauls.

Grit: 1/10 | Magic: 17/10.

Name that fear • "Will they think that I am a thoughtless, heartless piece of shit by the mere act of leaving my former employer?" Agony, fear of (distorted perception of) disloyalty, fear of success, fear of self-worth, fear of martyrdom (disillusion that my purpose for existing was to take responsibility for everything and everyone).

Overcoming fear • There was simply a deep, strong, loud knowing that if I die, I'll die happy!

Why I left • Again, I finished 6-month long projects in 2 weeks. No matter my talent, quality and speedy results, I already hit the glass ceiling: no acknowledgement, no raise. I even spearheaded a global $1.2 million dollar initiative and nada... You're paid at your pay scale. I wanted to be compensated for my caliber results and talents, not for the number of hours sat at a desk. There was no up, no side. I wasn't willing to settle for my work become the same old, same old. I wanted to actualize myself, have great big adventures.

Greatest takeaways • Traveling the world and thrusting myself into leadership roles made me more and more fearless. I cherish every moment of laughter, group lunches, outings and hilarity with my soul sisters, we made a fun foursome!

Critics corner • "<insert heavy, heavy contempt devoid of any kindness> Heh. Where are you off to now, uh-gain?"

Identity no. 11 • United Nations Adviser

What lead me here • As other international offices took notice of my work and flew me to their countries to lead projects, I made a name for myself as a consultant. I basically helped United Nations and big international aid agencies play nice together. Oh man, the money was grrrreat! I bid for and got the projects I wanted, with teams already well-versed in remote-working. I was a digital nomad 8 years ago before that term was coined.

Grit: 6/10 | Magic: 6/10.

Why I left • Two words: bureaucracy and wastage. High positioned clients demanded results, but were never accountable to delivering the assets needed for me to produce those results. The deeper into the system I got, the more I witnessed disgusting money wastage. The UN was no longer about human rights advocacy, it had become a giant cog of rich people flying first class, with kids in the best international boarding schools, a nanny per child, a chauffeur, cook and all the trimmings, funded by little Western children's UNICEF Halloween pennies. Barf. I was probably having a 1/3 life crisis at the same time. I was also struck by the entrepreneurial gods when I took a "How to make your first $1,000" e-course, excelled at taxes so had $9k in refunds coming, on top of $20k in savings. I took a day off to prep for my 30th birthday and got so imbued with courage that I decided no more consultancy, I'm diving into entrepreneurship!

Name that fear • Am I really going to give up a prestigious, coveted, lucrative position, with abundant supply of consulting clients, after all the effort it took to get here? "I wonder who will take this away from me or who will leech my money?" Fear of greatness, fear of prosperity, fear of being taken advantage of again. Will I truly strike out on my own? (Shaking hands couldn't put the lid on my smoothie cup)

Overcoming fear • I followed my longings for self-empowerment, freedom and independence

Greatest takeaways • No more boss! No man will ever tell me what to do!!! Blissful freedom!!! Career paths, life purposes (<-- plural), soul contracts (<-- also plural), they all unfold like petals of a blossoming flower. There are times when it's all uphill and times when it's all downhill. That's just the way it is. Fighting that only creates suffering.

Critics corner • "So... um... when are you gonna get a real job?" (Dad's words, on my 11th career, where I'd nearly reached six-figures!)
"Don't sweat it. You're not leadership material anyway." (Mom's words, I kid you not.)

Identity no. 12 • Web Design Agency

What lead me here • Humanitarian aid had "failed" me with its sloth speed and glass ceilings, so I chose to return to my most joyful, color-filled roots of... web design (see career 2), where flow, timelessness, purity of the work, and unlimited creativity converged. Personally, I also needed rest and nourishment after being embroiled with a narcissist and running on empty cylinders since 14. I found and bid for a client contract ONE day before the application deadline. They called me the next day, on my birthday, to invite me to an interview. Within two weeks, I got the contract. What were the chances?!? This client lead me to move from Asia back to Vancouver. So I dove into health and wellness as a small digital marketing agency, another career 180. It was easy work, good pay, walk distance from home, with professional autonomy (since I was again the only one in that capacity). Being around heart-centered, purposeful, passionate people was a refreshing change to UN bureaucratic cogs. I bought my own condo 2.5 months later.

Grit: 3/10 | Magic: 9/10.

Why I left • I was masterful at my craft, but there was NOTHING more I could help my clients shine, as long as they had self-worth, scarcity, poverty, and/or emotional wounds. They will invest massively in their training but barely anything in their business development nor prosperity consciousness, so even the best website in the world with no copy won't lead to sales. I was tired of working for my clients, managing satellite team members who weren't loyal top talent, and ending up everyone's "tech bitch." This was years before I learned about this elusive unicorn thing they call "boundaries." I felt I mastered this arena. Is this all there is? I felt a soul boredom and atrophy slowly drown me.

Name that fear • Am I really going to give up a lucrative business that is easy to market for more balance and to follow a pie in the sky calling? Nobody knows me in health and wellness..." Fear of identity crisis and depression, again. Fear of uncertainty.

Overcoming fear • The pain and agony of working for "the man" got bigger than the fear.

Greatest takeaways • Being surrounded by health professionals opened my eyes to the overlooked and undervalued pillar of nourishing the body. I'd be in a terrible unrecoverable health state if it weren't for that immersion.

Critics corner • "You're insane for flushing a lucrative business down the toilet, for this wellness non-sense! What about your mortgage payments?!? What about our mortgage payments?!? There's definitely something not right in the head with you."

Identity no. 13 • Success Coach

What lead me here • Synchrodestiny: I got stood up on a date for the first... and last time. Instead of going home, I took myself on a date to the regional wellness show. Of all the dozens upon dozens of doors I could have walked through, from the very first booth I approached, a woman jumped out at me and offered a "laser session." It was Sue, the program advisor for CTI, the school I'd end up doing my $12,000 coach and $15,000 leadership training with. My true calling LITERALLY jumped out at me. What were the chances?!? I felt deeply seen and acknowledged for who I am (not for what I've achieved) for the first time in my life!

Grit: 1/10 | Magic: 20/10.

Why I left • I didn't fully leave, I just realized that wearing all CEO, COO, CFO, CMO, CTO and CHRO hats wasn't sustainable. And after reading Robert Kiyosaki's Four Quadrants book, I realized the residual income aspect was missing, for myself and my clients: if we stopped working, we stopped earning. So I course corrected to add to my career portfolio.

Name that fear • "Was I really going to throw away another lucrative business that I'm hyper talented at for an out-of-nowhere "calling" into coaching (which might as well have been voodoo at the time lol!). I remember wrapping up my last digital agency client ($60k-$70k contracts, for 1 month of work) and feeling the most expansive freedom and bliss. Next morning, I couldn't close the lid on my daily smoothie cup because my hands shook so violently from pure anxiety and fear of the unknown, fear of failure (a first for me!), fear of imposter syndrome, fear of ANOTHER identity crisis, and ANOTHER round of depression, fear of letting go of the good (certainty) to draw in the great (spiritual fulfillment and personal empowerment).


Overcoming fear • I followed my curiosity and turned my growth into a "Mario Bros. 3" game with myself, "What if I could make more than my MCC coach within 6 months time?" And so I did.


Greatest takeaways • Universe will test your willingness, again and again, to sell your soul purpose for physical safety. It doesn't feel fair, and that's how the laws of the Universe operate. Fighting them is a huge waste of time and great source of suffering. I'm just damn grateful that my calling happens to be a line of work that I can do well until I die (unlike female gymnasts who retire in their teens from all the a damage done to their bodies), with high earning capacity. I've never felt such depth and aliveness, I guess that's what happens when I'm living my calling.

Critics corner • "So you think you’re better than us now?"

Identity no. 14 • Wealth Mentor

What lead me here • I was supposed to stay with a friend, but when his in-laws came to town on the same dates I'd be visiting, my friend offered to help me find an Airbnb, never heard of it before! So I rented out my condo in Vancouver while I stayed in my very first Airbnb in Toronto for a conference. Once got a taste of passive income, I'd never go back. I was a pioneer and a pro, 2 years anyone else had heard of Airbnb. I never could have foreseen that I'd get so good at Airbnb that THEY interviewed ME to give advice on how to be 5-star host and how to choose the best rentals. Instead of 100% coaching, I now split my time 51% wealth mentoring and 49% mindset coaching, championing clients to create their custom e-programs and e-masterclasses, so they too can bliss out in residual income. At one point, I had 4 businesses (web design agency, coaching business, antigravity yoga studio and wellness partnership), 3 real estate properties and various digital products, I was earning $5,000/month working 2-3 days a month. Woo-freakin'-hoo! Fulfillment! Freedom!

Grit: 6/10 | Magic: 10/10.

Why I left • I didn't fully leave either. But the deeper my clients and I dug into wealth creation and soul fulfillment, the more we struck vulnerable chords of shame and/or trauma. So I needed a different set of tools. No amount of coaching or mentoring will shift a client's prosperity consciousness if there is shame/trauma in the way. Even clients who had plenty of real estate properties, they weren't fulfilled nor fully actualized because of residual mental or emotional blocks.

Name that fear • Am I really going to give up a niche that I excel at and expand my expertise umbrella when all my coaches and mentors advised me to the contrary? Everyone thinks I'm too young and won't be taken seriously. What if they're right? Fear of my own greatness and power of influence, fear of being hacked down to size or burnt at the stake for being too great. Fear of my own greatness.

Overcoming fear • I hired a mentor to guide me through the forest.

Greatest takeaways • The hardest part about becoming great is letting go of those who are not. Business will fail if partnering up with people who can't market, not matter how pure their soul, how loving their heart. Residual income provides the most blissful peace, free time, free space, and juicy creativity.

Critics corner • "Who do you think YOU are?" (In an industry where I'm "disadvantaged" by gender, skin color, age, introversion, personality, upbringing, hyper-integrity... pretty much every part of who I am).

Identity no. 15 • Psychotherapist

What lead me here • I fell in love with Brené Brown after I watched her TEDx Talk on The Power of Vulnerability and heard her say "You are enough." She was the first to ever say that to me, validate me that way. I wanted to meet her, thank her in person. She wasn't scheduled for any talks or book tour, but I stumbled upon her The Daring Way program. As a certified coach, I qualified, so I signed up on a whim, THAT's how much I wanted to meet her. I found out at the in-person training that: 1. The training opened that very day I stumbled upon her website and sold out 3 days later. What were the chances?!? 2. My training would be Brené's LAST training (future ones lead by her senior faculty). What were the freakin' chances?!? So I ended up trained and certified in psycho-educational-therapy.

Grit: 2/10 | Magic: 18/10.

Why I left • I added psychotherapy to my toolbox but coaching and empowerment are my true calling. I don't want a therapy practice, it attracted too many victims and energy vampires.

Name that fear • I did not expect the training to plunge me into such a deep turbulence, shame storm and depression... I faced the terror of allowing ALL my repressed shame, grief, loss, shadows and humanity to the surface.

Overcoming fear • I hired a psychotherapist to navigate me through the recesses of my psyche.

Greatest takeaways • Freedompreneurship is a spiritual quest. Who knew, it'd lead me through the dark forest of changing soul types, learning to meditate, breaking an engagement, legally changing my first AND last name, leaving narcissists and sociopaths, healing developmental PTSD and alchemizing the world's grief into joy?!?

Critics corner • "We have no clue what you're even doing these days. We don't know what to tell our friends when they ask. How are you making  any money?"

Identity no. 16 • Spiritual Guide

What lead me here • I had no idea that 104 countries, plus a Spain-Canada visa for 35 or under (which I found 1 month before my 36th birthday), plus a bestie living in Malaga, would lead me to move my life to Spain for 3 years. It had the big 5: sun / sea / international airport / great food / chill vibe. Never did I EVER imagine that it'd lead me to plant medicine and transcendental illumination by the end of that first year. I knew for a loooooog time that my brand was "Guide to (something)," I just couldn't put my finger or tongue on it. During one of my psychtherapeutic integration sessions after an Ayahuasca ceremony, it came to me: Grace, Guide to Grace, that it! Every molecule of me knew that was it, and that'd be it forever and ever! That's what Resonance with a capital R feels like, bone knowing. After much resisting and fighting, I finally surrendered to being a spiritual guide for my client, on top of success coaching. That's when I converged all that I've been into a sanctuary of soul maturation for lifestyle freedom (basically, the two hardest things to attain on Earth School, lol, of course, I had to go for the HARDEST two quests). Freedom was no longer my primary driver, joy was.

Grit: 1/10 | Magic: 15/10.

Name that fear • Am I really going to open myself up to "who do you think you are?" and make a name in an industry where I'm disadvantaged by my gender, skin color, age, introversion, personality and upbringing? I don't want to be labelled 'woo-woo'. Fear of fulfilling soul's sacred contract.

Overcoming fear • I made the decision to thrive, not just merely survive. That declaration engulfed fear like packman gobbling up cherries.

Greatest takeaways • At each upgrade, there are trials and tribulations, with a price to pay. You have to let go of who you used to be to become who you truly are. There's no price I wouldn't pay to be free, to be me, and to illuminate the world MY way.. Not for "The Man", but for the fullest expression of my soul.

Why I left • I'm here to stay!

Critics corner <Crickets> (Huh. Interesting.)

In the end...

If any past, present or future critics ask, "Why are you going so fast?", ask them "Why are you going so slow?"

If any past, present or future critics ask, "Why are you constantly changing?", ask them, "Why are you prolonging your own suffering?"

If any past, present or future critics ask, "Why can’t you stay still?", ask them, "What are you waiting for?"


With infinite grace,

xo, Ella

Women who are free will set the world free

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Ellany LeaAUTHOR • When Ellany said yes to freedompreneurship, she had no idea it'd turn into a spiritual quest of reclaiming the 1,000 pieces of her soul.