PART 2: RIDING THE EMOTIONAL ROLLERCOASTER
In part 1, I talked about the steps I took to quit my full time, corporate job. It involved saving money, picking a date to quit, and putting myself in situations to explore and test out my new business idea. Now, let’s chat about after you take that exhilarating leap!
Quitting a familiar job to find a more purposeful career path can stir up emotions. I questioned if I did the right thing. I would still entertain job offers from recruiters with opportunities in my prior field. They were tempting but I realized I would be trading one company title for another and putting myself into the same misaligned situation. Also, be prepared for the reactions of family and friends. There will be some cheering so loudly for you that you’ll question who actually quit their job, you or them? Then others will tilt their head and ask a few questions like, “You’re really leaving that good job?” or “How will you make money?” Those are the ones that will spread doubt in your mind. However, it’s only fear of the unknown talking. It will make the pull of the familiar hard to ignore. This is normal! Recognize it and move through it. I have a few tips that helped me to stay on course.
Rest and Recharge
We work most of our lives and often feel guilty about taking time off. Well guess what? We weren’t put on earth to only work, work and work some more. It’s okay and necessary to feed our souls with breaks from our daily habits. Four weeks after I quit my job, I traveled to Africa. I saw all of the animals from the Lion King (seriously) on safari in Maasai Mara, Kenya. I rode a camel on the white sand beaches of Mombasa, Kenya. And all by myself, I relaxed at a resort in Zanzibar, Tanzania.
Finally, I connected with 25 beautiful souls at a BeUnsettled co-working retreat in Capetown, South Africa for the month of October. I was able to connect with people in transition or taking sabbaticals from corporate jobs and with others who were already working for themselves. The best part of the experience was getting access to a community of people that would support me through my transition and help me to form my new business. I did not think I would find so many other people that were like-minded and had a more purposeful approach to making a living. The experience helped tremendously in walking forward in my new career path.
Travel and getting out of your normal environment is so helpful in clearing the mind. You don’t have to book a trip across the world. It can be going somewhere that you’ve always wanted to check out. If you always wanted to have that afternoon high tea at that boutique hotel, do it! Be a tourist in your own city and check out something new. Take that dance or woodworking class you’ve always thought about. The internet is a direct line to a plethora of options. The point is to get used to being outside of your comfort zone. Embrace the new, the different, the unknown. Travel and new adventures is one invigorating way to build that muscle.
“Titles don’t mean anything. What really matters is the impact you make on a daily basis!”, Akilnathan Logeswaran
Right after I quit, when people asked me what I did for a living, I said I was retired. I received incredulous looks of amazement and if I’m honest, it made me feel great. It was freeing to not be identified by what I did for a living and to just be a human being in the world. We have attachment to titles. Our society rewards us and determines respect levels based on titles. Without my “Director” title, I had to redefine who I was. That redefinition may take time.
Remember that this is a new journey. If your routine has been one thing for many years and then it suddenly changes, it will take time to adapt. Be patient and kind to yourself during this time. You will need to retrain your brain from the corporate or past environment. No longer will you have quarterly or annual reviews to let you know you are performing well. No one will be expecting you to be at your desk by 8 AM. Thoughts of feeling like a “bum” may creep in. Again, remember those feelings are temporary and will pass.
The best way to combat feeling unproductive is to set up a new routine for yourself. Write down what your ideal day consists of and then put it into practice. Does your day start at 10 AM and then break at noon to go to a class at the gym, then resume from 2-5pm? How awesome is it that whatever your ideal day is, you can now create it?
You will feel productive once you have a new schedule in place. I recall living in New York City and taking a day off and seeing people out and about and wondering, “What do they do for a living?” Now I’m one of those people out and about during the day! The beauty of it is that your new routine is all yours to develop, not someone else’s. I have found that I work on the weekends because I don’t always work full days during the week. However, I don’t mind. I’m energized to do it because I’m doing what doesn’t feel like work to me. Here is a glimpse at my general daily routine (and it flexes based on if I’m working from a different country):
8:30AM Wake up and 10-minute meditation
9AM Breakfast & Write down my intentions for the day
10AM Start my work day (at co-work space or coffee shop)
1PM Lunch Break
7PM Class at the gym
9PM Work, read, browse internet or watch TV
11PM Go to bed
I find that I am more productive if I start the day taking a few minutes to pray and meditate (still learning this practice) and then set my intentions for the day. It helps me set the tone for the day. Short checklists also help with productivity and accountability. They show you that you are accomplishing tasks and moving forward. Make your list, check things off as they get done and smile at your progress each day!
In summary, to get prepared to ride post-leap emotional rollercoaster:
1. Take time to rest and recharge. Travel or do something you’ve always wanted to do. Embrace the unknown!
2. Be kind to yourself on this new journey. This is unfamiliar territory. It’s OK to not know everything.
3. Establish a new routine. Take pleasure in the fact that you can create your ideal day.
Stayed tuned for the final part of the series, where I talk about how to keep the momentum going on this new journey. Let me know your thoughts below!