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.
(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 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.
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