• Paul Clingan

12 Lessons, 12 Months After Leaving A Career At Amazon - Part 1

Updated: Nov 23, 2020

“People overestimate what they can do in a day and underestimate what they can do in a year”

I first heard this quote from a friend that is 4 years into his journey as a health and wellness entrepreneur and it is so powerful and true. He was convincing me to quit my job at Amazon and go all in on a new career path. A couple months after our conversation, I did. I personal trained and taught yoga full-time. My degree was in advertising. As was my experience. I spent five years working at ad agencies, including a three year stint at Wieden+Kennedy and a year and a half at Amazon. I remember a year ago taking a picture of the money I was leaving on the table in the form of stocks that hadn’t vested. But conviction is stronger than cash and I made the leap. A year is a long time, but it’s also incredibly short. I’m proud of what I’ve done in the past year: I started a podcast I became a lululemon ambassador I became a Barry’s Bootcamp founding instructor I met a girl (hi Haley) I’ve coached over 50 people and taught countless more in yoga classes, Barry’s classes, and events I’ve read almost 20 books The list goes on and I’m sure there’s impact that I’ve made that people haven’t even mentioned to me. What’s even crazier is I know how much I’ve left on the table. I have so much more in me that I’ve been afraid to let out or I’m just not as efficient as I will become. Maybe those will come in the next year. But for now, here’s 12 things I’ve learned since quitting my job at Amazon a year ago.

1. Always Do The Right Thing

One of my core values is integrity, but this is still one of the hardest things to do. People wrong you or you have opportunities to cut corners unnoticed. When people wrong you, it’s a reflection on them and not you. If you retaliate, it causes you to hold onto negative energy that will just end up bringing you down even more. When you can cut corners, just remember. “How you do one thing his how you do everything.” Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking. You never know who will provide you an opportunity down the road. I had opportunities come my way because I didn’t burn bridges. And yes, there’s a time when burning bridges is the right thing to do.

2. Macro Vs. Micro

Zoom out more often than you zoom in. Day to day stuff can suck, but the more I zoom out the more I realize how blessed and fortunate I am to do what I love doing and still have food, shelter, friends, family, and my own health. We get so caught up in the micro that we aren’t able to see our own growth. We can’t see how good things really are because we’re hyper-focused on one little problem that won’t matter in 3 months. On a cosmic scale, how big of a problem are the problem(s) you have?

3. Coaching Is The Best Investment I Have Made

No one is self-made. It took a huge support system to keep going and make the shift I made. Before I quit and to this day, I’ve had coaches. They keep me accountable. They are further along the journey than I am and show me that the goal I have is achievable since they are living proof of its possibility. They accelerate my development because I can learn their systems and they help me avoid obstacles. They give me perspective. Nine times out of ten, the story that you tell yourself isn’t true. Good coaches call you out and instill the truth and belief in you.

4. Passion Is Suffering

The root of the word passion is derived from suffering. When you are truly passionate about something, you will endure pain, scrutiny, and sleep deprivation in order to achieve it. Think about the movie “The Passion of the Christ.” Jesus wasn’t passionate about being hung on a cross. He was willing to suffer for something bigger. So when you are looking for a passion, ask yourself what are you willing to suffer for? What has caused you pain? What have you endured that you are willing to suffer for so that other’s don’t need to suffer the same way you did?

5. Anxiety Is Real

I didn’t think anxiety was real until I found myself unable to breath on all fours with a heart rate of 2,000 beats per minute. I was stressed about clients and money and stuff that I had never learned to manage or handle. Luckily, my girlfriend is supportive and was with me when these attacks happened. I’m grateful to have someone that values mental health and supports my passion to help others prioritize it.

6. Opportunity Is Everywhere

Think about all of the problems that you have that you would love to be fixed. Good products and services help people bridge that gap. In the health and wellness space there are millions of people that have thousands of problems. Obesity is sky high. And even if people aren’t obese, they are overweight and need to make changes in order to live longer and healthier lives. Desk job and phone related injuries and discomforts are growing at a crazy rate. Mental health is becoming more and more of a problem with social media. Everyone I walk by on the street could benefit from having better mental health and physical health. When you believe that opportunity is everywhere, you start to train your mind to look for opportunity. For two months I journaled and meditated that “there is an abundance of opportunity” and it turned my month around. Barry’s Bootcamp reached out exactly a month after I started journaling. That one phrase gave me the perspective of just how many people there are to help.

You can check out part 2 of the 12 lessons I learned in 12 months after leaving a career at Amazon, here. - Paul


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