Martha's Dare inspiring you to achieve your dreams

Create the life you want: a true story

It is my pleasure to introduce my first guest blogger, Mandy Gresh. Mandy is a volunteer, marketer, business developer, writer, entrepreneur, but most of all someone who’s proving you can create the life you want. She has inspired me with her determination and spirit as she makes her dream a reality and today she’s here to inspire you. Folllow her journey at

When Martha asked me to write for her blog, I had a hard time deciding on a topic. I have my own blog telling my day-to-day story, but writing as a “guest” is a big deal: The pressure of pumping out something good — not just for my followers (who mainly consist of my mom, Martha and a good friend E.), but also for hers.

So I looked to Marh for advice and she said: “Mandy, the difference between you and other people is… Other people talk about taking a leap of faith, quitting and giving their own thing a go. You actually did it.”

Now to be honest, I don’t consider myself a “leap and the net will appear” kind of person. I spent 10 years happily working for other people. More than six of them at one company I was quite comfortable at… Until it became all-consuming: I woke up and checked my blackberry, went to the office from 9-7 or 8, ate lunch at my desk, took a break for gym/dinner and then got back online around 9-11 doing more work. For many years I stressed out about sales, revenue numbers, marketing plans and making my direct reports happy. I traveled three to four times a month which left little room for anything else… Friends, Men, Hobbies… You get the drift. As much as I loved it, there had to be more to life than this.

I knew in my gut I wasn’t going to find my next thing by staying at my current company. I had tons of ideas for my own business. I wanted to take on the world. I tried to talk to my parents and friends about it, but it was always the same thing, “In this economy, you can’t quit without finding another job first.”

Regardless, I knew in my gut I couldn’t move forward without making a drastic change first. I reviewed my savings, did some calculating and decided that I could afford to support me and my “family” (a rescued dog and cat) for at least six months comfortably. During this time I would explore any all opportunities that came my way — projects, my own business, yoga, travel, classes, etc. I would be open to things that came my way. I would invest in myself. So I leapt and gave notice.

Six weeks into “creating the life I want”, I’ve never been happier. Or busier. I’m building two businesses on my own and have already landed a consulting gig. I work when I want. I’m meeting new people. I’m writing. I’m exercising more. I’m sending old friends notes. I’m making new friends in New York. I’m generally loving life as opportunities find me.

I’m not advocating that everyone quit their jobs to do this. But in the spirit of Martha’s Dare, I’m giving you permission to listen to that little voice that’s saying somethings off, evaluate the situation and take a leap. As much love and support family and friends give you, no one knows what you need more than you. In the wise words of my sister, “you only get one life, you might as well make it a good one.”

So I’ll leave you with my favorite quote: “Faith is believing that one of two things will happen she said. That there will be something solid for you to stand on or that you will be taught to fly.”

About Six Months “Off”
The Six Months “Off” blog is produced live from the life of a 30-something female living in New York who’s giving herself six months to create the life she wants. At the end of six months, she’ll choose to go back to “the grind” in a full-time position OR (hopefully) continue living the project-working-business-developing-extra-volunteering-yogaing-social-networking-spinning-writing-class-taking life she’s created.

About Martha van Berkel

Martha is the co-founder of Marketing Technology company - Hunch Manifest. She likes to fire up customer adoption and disrupting industries! She is a entrepreneur and a Mom!

2 Responses to “Create the life you want: a true story”

  • This sounds like me! I worked in a public practice accounting firm for 10+ years, only to be depleted physically and emotionally. I worked harder and more hours then anyone else in the office which I resented and even though I loved my job and clients I knew it was dragging me down. So 3 years ago I decided to leave and start my own business doing consulting for other small businesses. The first two years were tough while I grew the business but now I choose the hours I want to work, I have time for my family and to focus on myself and I get to enjoy life. I may not be making as much money as I had in public practice but give me 2 more years and I will be! I am definitly healthier and happier with my life, my lesson learned in all of this – not everything revolves around money and you must put yourself first!

  • I think there are a lot of wonderful things about what Mandy’s done. My favourite is that she has made a calculated decision to have faith that something ‘better’ was in store for her. The faith is the fuel for all the hard work she’s done – the certainty that her decision to swim directly against the grain of society would pay off even if doubts or fears swam across her mind. She did it anyway. Interesting that even when we don’t always feel faith, we can choose to have it. Once we have the courage to make that choice, the rewards are immense and so rich! Though I speak from my own experience, I have been lucky enough to witness Mandy’s courageous journey, and I am so proud of her and inspired by her! Go M!