Slogs & Leaps Part III: An Interview with Judy Hamilton

By July 21, 2010 One Comment

Judy Hamilton

Today is part three of Wise Living’s four-part series on Slog vs. Leap Challenges. If you haven’t been following the series, you might want to start with this post; it will tell you what the heck we mean by “slogs” and “leaps.”

Today, we have the privilege of hearing from Judy Hamilton. Judy is the founder and CEO of TerraTap Technologies Inc., a start-up tech company that helps businesses plan, develop and launch smartphone apps. Judy is a powerhouse! And she has a powerful story to tell about her own journey from slogging to leaping.

What about the idea of slog challenges versus leap challenges resonated with you?

You managed to put into words what I had been struggling to understand. There was such an “aha” when I read your article that I immediately had to show it to my family, who have been watching and helping me go through a difficult but amazing transformation. It was unanimous: You nailed it!

I’m so glad it spoke to you. Tell us about a slog challenge you took on, and the effects.

I accepted a position that I thought would be the pinnacle of my career. I jumped at the opportunity to take on the top technical role with a well funded not for profit organization. As far back as I can remember, I had always wanted to work for a nonprofit. I was raised to believe that it was simply the “right” thing to do.

My perception of nonprofits was one of consensual leadership, ethical decision-making, and respectful and honest treatment of employees. However, I quickly found that “not for profit”, does not guarantee a positive working environment. The senior management team I joined was quite ineffectual and the top down, often erratic, decision-making style was stronger there than in any for profit I had worked for.

Over time, this took its toll… I was miserable, my family was miserable, I didn’t want to get up in the morning. Normally exceptionally healthy, I was now catching every illness that came in the office. The tipping point was when my own work ethic started to suffer and I started to actually change as a person. I caught myself leading my staff with some of the same negativity.

I quit. It was the first time I had ever left a company without somewhere to go but after a long conversation with my husband…we agreed, there wasn’t time for that — I had to get out before the damage was irreversible.

I think this is such an important point — that staying in slog environments can begin to change who we are and how we behave.

I know from there, you moved into a huge leap challenge. Tell us about it.

I was so affected by this slog challenge that I took some time off to really think and reflect. I purposely cleared my slate and switched my brain into another mode (I did a lot of gardening!)…and quietly thought.

It didn’t take me long to figure out that I really missed the technology challenge and the positive team mentality of a startup environment so…I decided to start my own development company.

Right decision! Now I am on the biggest leap challenge of my life and loving every minute of it. Everything is different. I have energy, my brain is running at a zillion miles an hour and I can’t wait to see what I can achieve each day!

Fabulous! It’s interesting — so many people have commented that what most characterizes a leap is the incredible energy it brings.

So, I know a lot of people reading are wondering: what helps you take leap challenges in your life?

What helped me finally take this amazing leap challenge was “time” – something I don’t think we take enough of for the really important choices in our lives.

With the hustle of our lives, the hyper-connectedness, the pressure of advertisers telling us that we need everything NOW…we don’t feel that we have the right to sit and contemplate life choices anymore.

If there was one thing that I have learned, it is the importance of taking the time to really analyze what is important to us before taking on life changing challenges to make sure that the choice matches who we are inside.

Yes, sometimes it takes time for us to find our own voice or own truth around a decision. Other times, I think, we know the answer instantly, but it takes time to have the courage to act on it.

When opportunities arise, how do you discern the difference between the two types of challenges?

Slog challenges literally suck the life out of you. Stay in one too long and they have the ability to change your outlook on life, who you are as a person and negatively affect not only you but the people around you as well.

Leap challenges on the other hand, give you strength and stamina you didn’t even know you had! They are like perpetual motion machines that just keep on giving. It is like having your own personal energizer bunny.

Anything else you’d like to share about slogs and leaps?

I realized, in reading your article, that the two are related. Sometimes it takes the most intense slog challenge to get you to your best leap challenge. Had I not experienced the incredible low of a true slog, I would not have found, let alone appreciate, the amazing high of a leap!

And, I cannot emphasize enough how much I believe Leap vs. Slog is related to matching core values. If the challenge doesn’t match your core values, it will most definitely be a slog. But, when there is synergy, oh what a leap!

So true — where the values aren’t aligned, we are very unlikely to experience the leaps. Thanks so much Judy. Your journey is inspiring.

Check out the earlier posts in this series:

An introduction to slogs and leaps

An interview with Topi about her experience with slogs and leaps

Join the discussion One Comment

  • I agree completely about not for profit organisations. I worked for one, expecting exactly what Judy expected, and found a negative, competitive environment with no support or teamwork. I got out quickly too.

We are on a mission to help you realize your playing big dream.
Dive into our resources here: