Maybe you’ve been there before; that moment when you question your happiness. “Do I love my job?” “Am I able to pursue my hobbies and passions?” “Do I feel I have enough time for travel, friends and family?” If you answered no to any of these questions, know that you are far from being alone.
I first found myself struggling to find fulfillment in my profession at the ripe old age of 22. I’d been working seasonal jobs for a couple of years and enjoyed my vagabond lifestyle and the adventurous people I’d met along the way, but something just wasn’t clicking for me anymore. I felt stretched financially and peaked professionally. I was overrun with guilt, for how could this thing that once gave me so much pleasure, bring so much stress and angst. Was it bad that I wanted more?
I realized quickly as I sorted through my thoughts, that for the first time in my short life, I felt quitting was a feasible option. I was never told that it was an answer, by professors or peers. “Pushing through,” was always seen as a proverbial badge of honor. The opposite of that mentality, in my mind, let to something I truly feared: failure.
Now this quandary arose inside me and both options could ultimately end in failure; stay where I was; comfortable but not content or take a giant leap of faith and quit my job and current lifestyle. I’m sure by the title of this post that you know I decided to choose the latter. Within hours of my decision I’d start to see all of the positive things that would begin to arise from what seemingly felt like an end.
My friends supported and complimented my outward confidence in the decision to quit (even though inside I had no idea what I was going to do next). My fear of quitting something stemmed from a fear of losing acceptance. In retrospect, it’s quite an ironic thought to feel as though your intrinsic “reputation” exists only when you feel as though you’re accepted by your peers. Creating happiness based on what others think is the opposite of happiness, it’s just plainly conforming to social norms and opinions. I began to accept that those who supported me were true friends and (frankly) to hell with the rest of them!
My family was proud that I was able to make a difficult choice for the sake of my happiness. They became my major support system while moving from a state of unemployment to landing my dream job. Having them be there for me in a time when I was really doubting myself and my abilities really calmed me and allowed me to go through the process with an open mind. They all reminded me to SLOW DOWN and trust the process and most importantly, not get discouraged when things didn’t happen immediately. Passion, perseverance and patience would be the keys!
Having no ties to hold me down in one particular place created an exciting time where life’s options were endless and I saw possibilities everywhere. With my eyes now open, I realized what a gift it is to be able to reinvent yourself and step out of your own personal limitations. My old identity was just that; old. I now could allow for other (potentially unknown) attributes to blossom.
Quitting made me humble and forced me outside my professional and personal comfort zones. Each day following my decision, helped me to learn more about myself and my motivations. I began to step away from the narratives that I’d stuck to in my previous professions and began to expand on these newfound horizons. There was so much potential to see out there outside my background, it just took this new perspective to realize it.
Quitting led me to my dream job and allowed my profession to become something that not only fed my brain, but was lucrative to my finances and ideal lifestyle. There are SO many things out there to see, and learn and do. I look back and see that I had placed myself where I was because I was comfortable there. I told myself that what I wanted from life and from work wasn’t out there. I held off, waiting for the “right” moment, knowing full well that it’s just a myth told by those who are too scared to chase the sun.
Ironically, my decision to quit turned into one of the most important forks in my life journey, and I hope by telling you my story, and of all I’ve leaned, to inspire you into creating the life you imagine. Don’t believe the myth that whatever “it” is, isn’t out there. It is. You’re just going to have to really look hard for it, pursue it, seek it out, ask a lot of questions, talk to strangers and spread those wings. Remember, the only barriers you have in this life are the ones you build and believe true for yourself.
Now go make those trails, and most importantly, enjoy doing it.