It’s so deeply ingrained within the collective consciousness. Graduate from high school, then graduate from college with desired career in mind. That path will lead to success and hopefully a family will follow soon after. All this will guarantee fulfillment and happiness. For most of my life, I bought into this mindset. Inexplicably, one day, I decided that my curiosity about the path less trodden was more appealing than living a life coloring within the proverbial lines.
I left college to pursue my dreams of becoming a life coach and published author. Along the way, I completed a couple of necessary certifications and began working as an office administrator and then as a bartender in order to bring in quick cash while building my coaching company. The fear of building my business crept into my consciousness and spread like cancer. I kept telling myself that I would eventually quit and devote more time to my projects but a year later, I was still working the job I dreaded yet felt comfortable in. It felt safer to stay than to pursue my dreams.
Everything began to suffer. I was too exhausted from work to write my book and my service industry job made me crave solitude. Coaching was impossible. I uncharacteristically began breaking dishes out of frustration. My poor then-boyfriend was subjected to dealing with a version of myself I’d never known before.
I decided it was time to separate myself from exchanging my time and dreams for the mere earning of a pittance. I knew that no amount of cubicle time nor bartending money would ever make me feel fulfilled, and the moment I admitted that to myself, I felt free.
So, I quit. I couldn’t imagine the awesomeness that followed.
- Being broke didn’t scare me.
I saved up enough money before I quit because I knew that it was going to be dry for a few weeks or months, but I wasn’t afraid of sacrificing through building my dreams into my reality. It’s a small price to pay, and I had faith that doing what I love would eventually generate an income beyond what I was going to earn as an employee.
- I became a morning person.
It’s strange that I dreaded waking up every morning for my previous jobs, but when it came time to wake up to work on my book and correspond with clients, I had so much energy even before my first cup of green tea. I rose happily to work on my life’s mission.
- My relationship with my partner flourished.
I am deeply indebted to my then-boyfriend (and new husband) for seeing me through that rough patch. There’s only one thing more unsettling than jumping into uncharted waters: living a painfully mediocre existence. He understood and embraced this about me. When I realized how well my man supported me, I loved him and served him more deeply.
- Investing time and money in myself became necessary.
Because I didn’t have a “Plan B,” I knew I had to equip myself with the tools to be able to follow through with my visions. There was NO way I was willing to risk falling back into the fold of working a job that I hated. I took courses, certifications, studied books and methods by the people who did the damn things – the same things I was determined to do.
- I worked more hours but enjoyed it.
I worked less than 40 hours a week at the jobs I hated and more than 75 hours per week doing what I love from home. The former burned me out and the latter brings joy to every working day. I can’t tell you how many times I worked for 18 hours straight; 20 days straight with no breaks or days off. This is not a recommendation. I’m stating a point. Because money was not my only source of motivation, I experienced sustained energy more often. I was forced to take care of myself in order to be fully functional in my endeavors.
- I stopped tolerating nonsense.
The mere act of walking away from a superficially rewarding (being paid) gig was the first step in taking no shit in exchange for a small exchange for my time. The toxic friendships I had, I ended. Wasting time happened less often. I began to acknowledge that my time and energy were the most valuable currencies and I no longer suffered fools.
- I no longer feared failure.
Failure is necessary in life and learning. It is the ONLY way to properly learn when something doesn’t work. It’s not that “F” I worked so hard to avoid in the realm of academia. As an entrepreneur, failure has become my friend. I’ve made some expensive mistakes and from those mistakes I learned a better way. Failure is a constant for those who are courageous enough to step outside comfort zones and make moves, and fearing it is out of the question.
I finally gave myself the opportunity to prove to myself exactly what it is I’m made of.