The notion of becoming safe – what does it mean to you? Does it involve being at home? Not just physically at home, think about emotionally being at home….with yourself.

While I was climbing the corporate ladder, I always thought I was at home, but I was not. I was more caught up in the excitement of the moment or striving to do what the company or my boss wanted.

My life revolved around my work. I had very few outside friends and activities because I was a workaholic and an over achiever. I thought everything was great.

Don’t get me wrong. I made those choices. The work experiences laid the ground work for my business today. It also led me to being at home too.

In 2000, I made the decision to become an entrepreneur. I thought it would be a good challenging next step. Physically, intellectually and financially, I was ready. Emotionally, I had some work to do.

There was a shift from having a support system at work to being alone and working at home. Gone were the people you managed. A network of colleagues became critical to my success – business owners – and I had to build mine from scratch in a city where I had relocated the previous year. That was tough – a new business, new city and no connections.

A new sphere of influence emerges when the power of having a recognized company or organization behind you is gone. Alone, you have to find your purpose, your mission and your voice. It might sound easy, but it is not.

What you say becomes more important. What you say and do is what you stand for. You will be tested and face some of your most difficult decisions. When you are facing a dwindling bank balance and someone dangles a lucrative deal in front of you that compromises your principles, you will learn a lot about yourself.

Earlier I said it was not easy. Here is why. You have to overcome self-doubt. When you show more of yourself, some people may not like you or the decisions you make. If you are a pleaser or a chameleon, I would venture it is hard to be at home.

Safe, being at home to me is knowing who you are, what you do well and being confident to express it publicly – it is your personal brand. It means standing up for judgement and feeling good about it, even though it might hurt.

Many thanks to Dwane Lay at Lean HR for hosting this month’s HR Carnival. You can read how other HR thought leaders responded to writing about the title: Safe at Home on his blog.