Empowerment Series: Entrepreneur and Co-Founder of Zentap, Sormeh Attarzadeh Shares Bold Career Move with AW
Many people take on jobs to fulfill financial responsibilities, not necessarily satisfy a passion. Sometimes, we choose careers to meet expectations, instead of going in the direction of our dreams. Why do we make such decisions? It may be that playing it safe or following a plan offers more stability. Going off-script not only takes courage and determination but it is also the road less traveled. For those that choose to listen to their inner voice, belief in themselves enough to go for it and succeed, the payoff can be much greater than money, it’s freedom.
Sormeh Attarzaden is an Entrepreneur and Co-Founder of Zentap, a leading digital marketing solutions app for professionals in the real estate industry. In 2015, the millennial graduated from Loyola-Marymount University. Law school was part of her plan but a twist of fate changed everything. The path outlined became unclear when she was not happy with her choices. The nagging feeling, she wasn’t in the right place, forced her to carve a different path for herself. The decision to change course required bravery but would be worthwhile in the end.
AW had the exciting opportunity to interview Sormeh about her journey. She shared plenty of golden nuggets to help anyone facing a similar conflict. It is wonderful to be able to share with our reader her inspiring story, which a lot of you could relate to.
Sometimes, we set a path for ourselves then realize it is not the right one. We may continue in this false direction for fear of change, disappointing others, and investment of time or money. You left law school to pursue a dream and do something very different. Can you share a bit about that decision and making such a big transition? What was happening in your head? It was definitely a scary and unexpected transition. My major was history, the plan was to go to law school. In my culture, the expectation is to be a doctor or lawyer. I studied for the LSAT, got into law school, and did a full semester. But towards the end of the semester, I wasn’t feeling like myself, anymore. I thought it was part of the journey, and eventually, I’d be happy. So, I went on with the second semester but internally, the unhappiness continued. I decided not to tell anyone that I was so confused. There were nerves from the fear to tell my parents, what was happening. But over the course of a few weeks, I grew the courage to tell them. I thought I was supposed to have it all figured out. Law school was intense. I needed a break to work out what I really wanted to do. I knew, I had to start from scratch.
Many of us would be overwhelmed with fear to make this decision. What was your breaking point before taking a hard turn on your journey? I started spacing out which didn’t feel like me. I wasn’t at all happy, and it began to show on the outside. There was no passion for what I was learning. The pressure was weighing heavy on my shoulders. I no longer felt like law school was a choice, it felt forced on me. I was scared to let go because there was time invested. A game plan but I couldn’t do it anymore, it was when I realized that something had to change.
Many women struggle with guilt and lack of confidence. For much of my adult life, I was afraid to ask for what I wanted in the personal and professional areas of my life. In order to gain confidence, it was critical for me to believe that I deserved to have the things I wanted. Did you always have the courage to pursue your passion? I had no idea what I wanted to do and there were bills to pay! I had confidence but not to the extent you would think. Getting into law school helped me realize that I could do it, I was capable of getting to the next level. It is important to put yourself first. Being in a mental space where I wasn’t satisfied, visualizing a career, I wasn’t passionate about really scared me. I couldn’t do something that wasn’t right for me.
We have been talking about your passion. What are you doing now? Excited to be part of Zentap, working with real estate agents and mortgage brokers. We have created a technology for content creation to serve our clients. Marketing can fall at the end of their to-do list and we can help with that area of the business.
You are now doing what you love. What is one expectation you had going into this part of your journey that has been challenged? I did not expect to end up in sales. I worked for the Beverly Hills Weekly but the job did not last. I was not good at selling, however, this opportunity challenged me, again. Never imagined, I’d be in my garage on the phones, learning how to sell. It took a while to ease up and get it done.
What has been the biggest lesson you have learned about yourself? If I don’t get in my own way or overthink things, I can make anything happen. There will be failures and mistakes but it will be part of something good, as long as my heart is in it. I have always talked myself out of things instead of shooting my shot. If I feel something, and am intrigued, I have this passion to do it! If I don’t try, I won’t know!
We like to end interviews with a positive message or advice for listeners. Many of us are afraid to pursue our passion and dreams. What advice can you share about the benefits of going after what you want in life? We put our armor on and look content, thinking we have to follow one path but we can break out of that life and do something else. Be selfish, it’s ok to live for yourself. If you don’t pursue the things makes you happy you will never be fully satisfied. If you are happy, more opportunities will arrive. A better mindset gets you closer to making your dreams come true. Lastly, stop caring about what others think, if people know you, they know who you are.
AW is grateful to Sormeh for sharing her inspiring story. Undoubtedly, her experience will provide hope for those feeling stuck in a job or career that is not fulfilling. It is not uncommon to feel like the mouse on a wheel.
We question our place in the world or purpose. At times, there is ambivalence about whether or not we’re capable of something different. It can feel like you don’t have a choice. If you share this feeling, let this story be a reminder of what is possible. It is never to late, you can alter your path at any time.
The full interview with Sormeh can be found on the AW Confidential Podcast and YouTube channel.
This interview has been condensed for clarity.*
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