How I Found The Courage to Quit My Job and Follow My Dreams: A Reader Shares.

Everybody has a calling. Your real job in life is to figure out what that is and get about the business of doing it. – Oprah Winfrey.

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(This is a reader post by Deevra Norling. Got a story to share? Check out the details here & email me).

I took a bold step this year.

I quit my dead-end job to follow my dreams.

I’m not going to lie to you, this was not easy, nor was it a decision I made overnight. You see, I’ve always known what my passions are; I just didn’t have the courage to pursue them.

Writing, working with animals, travelling… it all seemed like a pie in the sky dream. 

When I made the decision after careful consideration, I was realistic about my goals. I am well aware that I won’t be making much money out of this initially.

But here’s the thing – other people make money in these fields, why can’t I?

True, it won’t be easy, but after 18 years of suffering in jobs I hated, I finally reached breaking point. I’m 40 and I’ve wasted half my life doing things I didn’t want to do.

Yeah, you could say I’ve hit my mid-life crisis ;)!

This is the biggest and scariest decision of my life, but what scared me even more was the thought of waking up at 60 having wasted my whole working life being miserable.

I just KNEW I could not wake up on my 40th birthday still sitting at the same desk, in the same company, doing the same job, being unhappy.

It was now or never. I’ve spent too many years being unhappy. No more.

The road ahead may not be easy, but it has to be easier than what I left behind.

Nothing is harder than living in misery. 

The minute I handed in my resignation, I felt a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I slept for 12 hours straight that night and it was the most amazing sleep of my life – the sleep of a free woman. The next morning as I looked out my apartment window everything looked sharper and the colors seemed brighter.

The world just looked different.

I was finally free.

You see, I am a free-spirit. I am not cut out for the cubicle corporate life. Getting up every morning at the same time, driving the same route, sitting at the same desk, the 9-5, the boss, asking for time off, calling in sick, performance appraisals, the office politics – I hated it.

All of it. It made me feel trapped. I cannot begin to express how soul-destroying the last 18 years have been. It killed my spirit and sucked the life right out of me.

So why did it take me 18 years to do this? 

1) Social conditioning.

We are told from a young age that we will grow up, hopefully study something and then get a job and spend the rest of our lives working for someone else. This is the way they say life works. Our parents did it, their parents did it and generations before them did it.

Therefore, we believe that this is the right way to live. Not that there’s anything wrong with that if it works for you. For years however, I had been asking the question, is this it? Isn’t there another way to live that would make me happier?

I felt so strongly that I was not living my true purpose. And it was making me miserable.

2) I had bills to pay!

When there’s a family to support, you can’t just give up a job like that. It’s so hard! Even as a single person I felt I couldn’t pursue working with animals or writing because it paid so little and I would not have been able to make ends meet.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying quit tomorrow. You need a plan and you need some savings to tide you over while you try and get things moving. You may not be able to quit tomorrow, but you can start saving and planning towards it from today.

You can even start slowly building up your business while still in your job and once you start making a decent enough income, go ahead and slap that resignation letter down on your boss’s desk with relish. There are various ways to skin a cat.

Find the way that’s most comfortable for you. But please.. don’t skin the cat 😉

3) The biggest reason of all – FEAR.

Giving up a secure, stable job is scary!

Everything has its pros and cons. A 9-5 job means a guaranteed salary every month, medical insurance, retirement savings, an annual salary increase and a possible annual bonus. It’s comfortable and breaking out of your comfort zone is not easy. Some people also do not like change. The unknown is daunting. Fear keeps us paralyzed.

In my own circles, myself and at least four other friends, have made a drastic change this year.

All of us are finding the new path we’re on winding and bumpy at the moment. It’s not easy, but we’ve all decided to forge ahead. Like ships out on a foggy sea, we cannot see the horizon right now. We don’t know if we are on course and we can’t determine if we’re about to hit any icebergs.

We’re just maneuvering slowly through the water trying to stay afloat.

How then, does one navigate these waters? How do you stay inspired and keep going when the seas are choppy?

1) Celebrate the small milestones!

For me, it was landing a writing job with a new online news website that really made me believe this was happening.

While it may not provide much of an income right now, it will give me a chance to build a portfolio. Super exciting! What was even more exciting and completely unexpected, was that I received a small cash compensation for my first 3 articles.

This is a big deal – my first paycheck as a writer! Can you say over.the.moon?!

Savour the small or big accomplishments along the way and use the momentum they create to continue to push you forward.

2) Keep your eye on the goal – visualize.

This can be a challenge. When things don’t seem to be going anywhere, you may lose faith and quit. 

Most books and writers who write about positive thinking and goal-setting speak about the importance of visualization. You will be surprised at how critical this technique is to success in whatever you set out to do.

From running a marathon, to traveling to foreign countries, to buying your dream house, whatever it is – see yourself cross that winning line, sitting in a gondola in Venice, getting the keys to that house.

Literally, see the picture in your mind (or write it down if you’re not that into seeing things) and keep it there until it becomes reality.

3) Look how far you’ve come!

Turn around and look at where you’ve come from – do you want to give up and go back? Probably not. You may be making headway very slowly, but at least you’ve made headway!

The only way is to keep moving forward. 

4) Support from friends and family.

Surround yourself with people who want to see you succeed, even if it means meeting new people. Join groups in your field, volunteer in the field you want to move in to, for inspiration read blogs of people who did the same thing you are doing.

If you find yourself amongst naysayers/negative people who tell you that you’re nuts, avoid them. If necessary, cut them out of your life. You don’t need to be around people who bring you down.

 5) Remember that this too shall pass.

As tough as it may be in the moment, life is constantly changing. At some point the storm passes, the sky clears and the sun comes out. Things will get better eventually.

Living your dreams isn’t always easy. You may fail several times, but when it all does come together and it works, it will be amazing and you won’t regret it. I keep reminding myself of this every day. 

Theodore Roosevelt said, “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”

Thomas Edison failed his way to successfully inventing the light bulb too! “I did not fail 10,000 times, I found 10,000 ways that did not work.”

Failures may come along the way, but it shouldn’t stop us from trying. Success may just be around the corner. 

Over to you. What’s the boldest step you ever took? Or is there something bold you’re planning to do soon? Please share, thank you! 

Deevra Norling lives in Cape Town, South Africa. She quit her job as a Brand Manager in April 2012 and took some time out to go traveling around the USA for six months.

Deevra is on a journey to find a way to follow her dreams and find freedom, peace and happiness. She writes for an online news website called Scoop Post. Connect with her on twitter.

** Want MORE BLISS and less stress in your life? Inner Sparkle: The 21 Day eCourse is made for you. Click here to get inspired. Happy. Sparkly. **


Facebook comments:



  1. Jimmy says

    You said out the words in me; you painted my thought with those symbols( alphabet ) the form words…. Now am more determine than before …. I quit that comfort zone sometimes last year too to follow my dreams

  2. Deevra says

    That’s wonderful Jimmy! Good for you for having the courage!
    Since I wrote this article I’ve actually had some more opportunities come my way in the writing field, and while I am still not earning much of an income from this YET, I feel reassured that things are heading in the right direction, and eventually I will get paid to do what I love! And that’s exciting!

    • says

      Deevra is a fantastic writer and a fabulous person indeed. Big ups to your courage and determination and encouragement you so freely give. A free spirit indeed with a heart of gold! Yes your reward is on its way! Believe it and Receive it! Remain Blessed!

  3. Dominique says

    You are spot on 🙂 I am very proud of you that you took this gigantic step and did what many of us fear to do. I hope that all your dreams come true and please carry on writing your inspiring words!!

  4. says

    I wish one day I could say that as well, few weeks ago I had the chance to work for something that I am passionate about. I got a job offer with this certain company that I long to work with.
    However I missed the opportunity, I declined the job offer though they had offer me higher salary with one reason, the company is not yet stable and I have so many doubts of beginning again. 🙁
    I really felt bad about it but is a lesson learn which I know I wont do again the second time around.

    • Deevra says

      Fear sometimes keeps us from taking that step and many of us sometimes make decisions from a position of fear. Don’t beat yourself up about it. But I do hope another great opportunity comes your way soon. Wishing you all the best!

  5. says

    As a business and life coach, I meet and help people with the same dilemmas almost daily. I’m glad you feel free, glad you had the courage to take the decis ambion, and was happy to read this article. Well done!

    • says

      It’s never an easy decision. I was terrified! But something told me I had to do it. The pain of what I was doing became so intense that it forced me to make a decision.

  6. says

    Well done Deevra for taking such a brave step and following your dreams. I’m so glad that you are beginning to reap the rewards for this and hope that more opportunities come your way.
    I myself am beginning to follow my own passion for writing – something I have delayed for too long. Things are slow to begin with and I can at times doubt myself BUT the JOY of doing what I love keeps me going. You have greatly encouraged me today.

    • says

      It makes my heart sing to know someone out there is encouraged or inspired by this article! Thank you for putting a smile on my face today. Wishing you all the best in your writing. Lovely website – I went and had a quick browse through it! 🙂

  7. says

    Making the decision to quit your job is always one of the hardest decisions that you will ever make in your life especially to pursue your dreams as an entrepreneur. It takes a great deal of commitment and hard work to survive as a new entrepreneur.

    • says

      You are so right, Katherine, and sometimes I have my doubts that I will pull it off. Sometimes I wonder if I’m good enough. I know it will be a long road to making a decent living.

  8. Tiffany Bush says

    THANK YOU for sharing, Deevra and others! This is so inspiring to me, as I literally sit at my desk at work and think about the life I am supposed to be leading, I am encouraged. I am currently pursuing my PASSION on the side: Yoga teacher training and studying to become a Wellness Coach. I am comfortable where I am, but my body and mind are aching with unpursued potential! One of my greatest fears is that I won’t find the same success I have come to find living the ‘mainstream life’ the life I have been told to live. I confront those fears through my yoga practice and by giving back with words and actions daily. Although I do fear not being successful, I truly fear not LIVING my DREAMS even more!! Thank you again, and I wish you and every reader touched by this article nothing but love, luck and success in life!

    • says

      I feel your pain. I sat at my desk constantly asking “Is this it? Is there not a better way to live? Am I really meant to be this unhappy?”
      But you are pursuing a passion, whether it’s full-time or on the side!
      I also understand the feeling of being in a comfort zone and not wanting to give up an income and a lifestyle that comes with the mainstream job. I grappled with that issue for a long time. In the end, I realized that the salary I was earning was not worth the misery.
      Thank you so much for your kind wishes. It is nice to have inspired a few people. That warms my heart! I wish all of the same to you!

  9. says

    Such an inspiring article that reminds me of why I made the choice to quit my job of 13 years. I’m still beaming from ear to ear! The hardest part of making the decision was actually doing it. I remember hyper-ventilating (literally) when it came time to inform my job that I was quitting even though I knew that was what I wanted. There was just so much fear of the unknown, but I don’t regret it. What helped me was articles like this.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    • says

      Yep Shantel – I also had the same anxiety and also came close to hyperventilating! It was the biggest and scariest decision of my life. The anticipation of resigning was incredibly anxiety-filled, and in the end I knew the only way to feel better was just to get it over and done with! Once the deed was done, I knew there was no turning back and felt relief mixed with the knowledge that now I had no choice but to make my new life work. Still working at it!

  10. says

    Thank you for this inspiring post! I recently quit my job to pursue my freelance photography full time. (Instead, I am now still freelance producing, but it’s better than being in a dead end job!) I have all of these dreams that seem crazy to my friends and family but I’ve learned to make new friends and surround myself around successful people who achieved what I want to do. And even though I don’t know if I’ll be able to pay the bills next month, for some reason I’m not as scared because I have faith and the support system. (To be so lucky!) And now, I have your inspiring blog to follow 🙂 Thank you.

  11. says

    Hi Stacey. Sounds like you’ve been on a crazy wonderful journey so far!
    “And even though I don’t know if I’ll be able to pay the bills next month, for some reason I’m not as scared because I have faith and the support system.” – I admire your fearlessness – that’s awesome! Keep rocking.

  12. Kiki says

    I searched “the long journey to a dream job” and then ended up on your post. It’s very nice, and you’re right: “this too shall past.” I’m 24 now and still on my way to get that dream job to be true. GBU

  13. Ron says

    I quit my job today. I hit breaking last week and decided i never wanted to go back to work again. I might have broken some contractual agreement in not giving any notice but i know it was the right the decision.
    It’s not a decision that came over night, it’s a decision that’s been more than 3 years in the making.
    I too got tired of the cooperate world, doing the 9-5, the traffic and people constantly complaining at work.
    I have never been one to complain at work and i have always worked my hardest for every company that i have worked in. But over the last few years it has become more stressful and less inspiring and less rewarding. So i decided to quit and start my own home based business which i have wanted to do for so long. I have my goals and i visualize everyday the success that it will bring me.
    Deevra – Thank you so much for this inspiring story. You really wrote exactly what i’m feeling right now & it has brought comfort in knowing that i have made the right decision.
    Thank You

    • says

      Wow Ron. You’ve got balls! Lol. Congratulations on your decision. Do you have any idea how many people out there don’t have the guts to do what you did. I admire your courage.

      How has it been going so far. I see you posted this comment in November – sorry for my delay in replying! I’m interested to know how the progress has been so far.

      It’s not an easy path (trust me, I’m still going through the hard part) but will turn out to be very rewarding once you hit that breakthrough.

      You sound very motivated. 🙂


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