Cleo Murphy writing on self-reliance

Valerie Young was shocked by the sudden death of her mother — who had been planning a wonderful retirement — at just 61 years of age.

That was back in 1993, when Valerie was commuting 90 miles a day to a demanding corporate job. She was caught on the treadmill, believing that what she was doing was the only way to live and earn.

“I was by no means rich, but I was blessed to earn what would be considered a good, middle class salary,” says Valerie. “I had a new car, a nice home, the luxury of dining out when I felt like it, and a closet full of suits.

Her mother’s death was a wake-up call.

“Somehow I was always too busy putting out fires at work to attend to my own mid-life crisis. So, my longing for career fulfillment and a more simple life was always put on hold,” she says.

She knew that what she really wanted was simplicity and balance, a livelihood she enjoyed, and to be her own boss.

It took her two years of planning to escape her job…and she has spent the last 20+ years showing others how to do the same.

“For many years I hosted workshops which included a presentation by local entrepreneurs. On one occasion, we heard from a couple who’d walked away from high-powered executive jobs in New Jersey to raise alpacas on a small farm,” recalls Valerie.

“After starting their day enjoying one another’s company over a cup of coffee they would head out to the barn to feed the animals and clean out the stalls. They would feed them again around dinner time. The rest of the day was pretty much theirs to do with as they liked.

“To the workshop attendees, most of whom worked behind a desk, the couple’s lifestyle certainly seemed idyllic. As our work lives increasingly revolve around technology, more people than ever are yearning for a simpler way.

“Put another way…at no other time in history, has shoveling sh*t sounded so good to so many people.”

The simpler way involves starting with a plan. You probably have fears about making big changes…so did Valerie. But whatever obstacles you perceive, a plan can help break them down.

Editor’s note: Valerie Young guides people out of the job rut toward more satisfying, meaningful lives. Her website Changing Course shows you how to start earning by doing something you love.

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