What a Difference a Few Years Can Make

At the start of every year, I think back to previous years and reflect. Not only was 2017 full of highlights and epic memories, the past several years have been for me. What brought even more inspiring, positive vibrations to me was noticing how drastically different things are today versus several years ago. Like I said, what a difference a few years can make!


Instead of just thinking about it, I’m doing something I’ve never done before and writing about it. If you’re someone who has thought about what it would be like to change paths or try a new career and you’re hesitating, you’ll want to read on.

How Things Used to Be

I was a business student in university. After that I went to work for a big public accounting firm, where I did my articling and became a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA). The firm worked me very hard. I was working anywhere from 50 to 70 hours a week most of the time and I had no social life.

At the beginning of 2011, I left the firm. I got a new job at a big insurance company in downtown Toronto. This job paid well and I worked 9-to-5. I no longer worked into the evenings or on weekends. This was a pretty typical path for a CPA in his mid-twenties - pay your dues at an accounting firm and get your designation and then settle into a high-paying 9-to-5 job.

I felt a certain nonchalance toward my job, and I eventually thought about what life would be like if I did something different. I didn’t take much action towards this, though, because working 9-to-5 was all I knew. To me, at that point, things were going as well as they could. I worked at this job for several years, doing much of the same things over and over. I was bored, sluggish, and not interested in growing. It wasn’t very exciting, and I expected I’d be working like this for a long time until I retire… until 2014 when I discovered a business opportunity that would change everything.

How Things Changed

I learned about the opportunity to be an Independent Consultant for Arbonne. I learned about the network marketing industry as a whole. It fascinated me but it was completely outside of anything I’d ever done before—I knew nothing about their health and wellness products, I had never heard of network marketing before, and I had never been entrepreneurial. But the community of support that was going to teach me the ins and outs of the business, combined with the part-time nature and unlimited income potential was too good to pass up.

So I started my Arbonne business in March 2014. This was completely unexpected up until the week before I started. My whole university and work life had been about balance sheets, income statements, internal controls, and audit reports. My whole life I had been taught to be a hard-working employee and now here I was in 2014 an Independent Consultant for Arbonne, talking about personal care and nutrition products, doing presentations about our business, building a massive organization. I would spend a few hours a week on my business in addition to my permanent job.

Then, in June 2015, I made the decision to quit my job. Unthinkable! Never in a million years would I have thought that at age 31 I would be working for myself and not in the accounting field or in an office. Being immersed in the Arbonne community for a year and a half, I was starting to change my mindset on life. Little by little I was learning about the work-for-yourself life and about how to live a healthier lifestyle. I wasn’t just transforming my “work” life, I was also transforming my health and getting into the best shape of my life. After all, Arbonne is a health and wellness company, so their philosophy was bound to rub off on me!

I have attended four of Arbonne's Global Training Conferences since 2014. The vibe is completely different from what I knew in the corporate world!

My life has been completely different since June 2015 which was not even three years ago. I put about ten hours of work a week into my Arbonne business, and the rest of the time I get to focus on my personal life. Sometimes that means spending time with friends and family, or on my own personal growth. Other times it means traveling the world. Or there are days when I do nothing but chill out at home, run some errands, and relax. See how quickly things can change?

And Here We Are Now

In 2017, I took some more plunges into the unknown. I started to really explore my passions. I started allowing myself to naturally gravitate to the things I enjoy doing. Once I found things I enjoyed, I could think about doing things around those passions.

So, I discovered that I love hanging out with dogs. I’m hanging out with a friend one day and he casually tells me about this dog-sitting app where you can become a dog-sitter. I blink and all of a sudden, I have a dog-sitting business! Owners are contacting me, and the cutest, most awesome dogs are being brought to my home and I’m being paid to hang out with them. It just felt so right in my heart. I just went with it. I didn’t even know I liked dogs until about a year ago.

Also, I had been thinking for awhile that it would be cool to be a writer. I have conversations with friends all the time where I think to myself, I bet if I wrote about what we talked about, people would enjoy reading it. I also knew that I got a lot of benefit from reading other people’s writing. So shortly after the dog-sitting started, I also found myself with a writing coach and I was writing articles and posting them online.

These two new ventures have added even more excitement for me, and I can’t wait to see where they go in 2018.

When I worked in accounting, my clients were people in suits sending me spreadsheets and reports. Fast forward to now and my clients are these charming, furry dogs who just play, eat, and sleep. Perfect!

Sometimes when we take the time to reflect and think, it reminds us how much we have to be grateful for, and how far we’ve come. I went from being a stressed out, out-of-shape accountant working 9-to-5 in my mid-to-late twenties, to working for myself as a health and wellness consultant, a dog-sitter, and a writer in my early thirties. I went from being very indifferent with my job to absolutely loving what I do and wanting to share it with the world. I went from a really great life to an extraordinary one.

So if you’re someone who has a career that doesn’t get you excited in the morning, and you sometimes think about what life would be like if you did something different, just know that that’s exactly where I was in 2011. Maybe you’ve worked really hard to get to where you are now, and you feel “stuck” there, and the thought of starting something completely new seems like you’re wasting everything you’ve worked for. That’s exactly how I was feeling from 2011 to 2013. It was so easy to just blend in with what everyone else was doing and go with it and keep doing what I was used to doing.

But, as my story has illustrated, you can make a change, despite how strong those thoughts and feelings are, no matter how drastic that change seems to be. The hardest part for me was that very first decision to take a leap of faith and try something new. My decision to start my Arbonne business was the first decision I made that was not on my radar, and not a decision that mainstream society would have made. But it turned out to be arguably the best decision I’ve ever made, as it opened the door for me to transform my career and my life. It hasn’t always been easy, but there’s no doubt I'm living the dream today.

So think about where you are in your career. Be proud of it. Be grateful for it. Reflect upon all the great things you've done to get there. But understand that you don’t have to stick with that if you don't want to. You don't have to stick with what you studied in school. You don’t even have to stay in the same field. You can really pursue anything you want. Let your imagination wander. If you really want your next few years to be completely different from the previous few years, you can make it happen. You just need to decide you want to change and start taking steps to make those changes. Expect to be scared and that’s OK. It’ll all be worth it. In a few years, you can reflect again and notice what a difference a few years can make.

“If you don’t like how things are, change it! You’re not a tree” - Jim Rohn 

Nick Chan
Nick Chan

Network Marketing Professional. Dog sitter. Aspiring Writer. Chartered Professional Accountant. I am fascinated by personal development, friendships, and all the finer things in life like food, health, traveling and partying. 

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What a Difference a Few Years Can Make