Each graduating senior in my high school got to paint a shoebox-sized portion of “The Senior Wall,” a huge hallway in the middle of the school. Some people painted inside jokes, some people wrote their names and the names of their friends, some of the artistically-inclined painted landscapes or designs. I’m not sure if I just thought it sounded smart, or if the quote really meant something to me even back then, but I wrote this quote in my section of the wall:
Today, that quote means more to me than ever. You see, since I started consulting in 2007, I’ve gotten on an early morning flight almost every Monday morning (besides when I was in business school). Well, today I’m not on a plane, and I’m not getting on one.
I have left my job. I am no longer a management consultant. And you have no idea how hard – and scary – it is for me to even type those words. I’ve been a consultant for my entire adult life, and (although I don’t recommend this) it had become a big part of “who I was.” As I mentioned in this post, I kind of chose my job because everyone else at my college wanted an offer from my company, and I was fortunate enough to get it. So, I figured it must be great. Over the years, I was fortunate to realize that it was great – I learned so much about business and the way various companies operate, got such amazing opportunities and responsibilities, and met such incredible people.
However, I haven’t been truly happy for a long time. Some of it is a “me” problem – I put far too much pressure on myself, and I’m not very good at relaxing and unplugging. But some of it was a “work” problem – living from a suitcase/restaurant for more days that I lived from my own closet/kitchen, dealing with constant uncertainty and stress, and working consistent 70+ hour weeks were all manageable when I loved my job. Although it’s hard, I do think it is possible to live a healthy lifestyle even with a very demanding job, and I prided myself on being an example of that. But … something changed. I discovered my passion for the world of health, wellness, fitness, and nutrition several years ago. And as I came to believe that I could make it more than just a hobby (through my education at IIN and talking to others with careers in the industry), my dreams wouldn’t rest. My desire to help people become healthier and happier somehow made my dissatisfaction with my “real job” unbearable. I was making myself miserable, and worse, I was miserable for my husband and my family to be around. I tried so hard to make it work, because change is hard, and it would be so much easier to stay in my “safe” job that I was “good at.” (picture source)
But, in the end, I couldn’t make it work for me. I was doing my job, but I was forgetting to enjoy my life. (picture source)
I was certainly stressing and complaining more than I should have been, rather than taking action. (picture source)
As of today, I am taking action. I am making a promise to myself to go confidently in the direction of my dreams, and to live the life I have imagined. And I will appreciate and enjoy every single moment of it.
So, if you’re still reading, you may have some questions (I know I still do!). Here are a few of my answers, and I’m sure I’ll be sharing more as I go through this journey:
- What’s next? I don’t have it all figured out (yet!), but I know I want to try to help people improve their own health and wellness as a Health Coach. I would also like to venture into Corporate Wellness, to try to help individuals live a healthy lifestyle even while working a full-time job. I am starting a 6-month “Immersion” program to refresh my training as a certified holistic nutritionist, I’ll be completing a training to be a certified running coach, and I have several other projects in the back of my mind. I’m not sure if all of that means taking another “real job” or not, but I know I’ll figure out the right balance.(picture source)
- But you always seem so happy! This one is easy. When I blog – I AM happy. This silly little blog has brought me so much joy, and while I’m shocked that there are still people reading it, I have loved every second of writing it and interacting with you all. My Motivation Monday posts have helped me more than any others to reset my perspective and focus on the (so many!) things I have to be grateful for, even when I was less than satisfied at work. Sharing my knowledge, and continuing to learn more, is what I want to do – and this blog has helped me do that. I also have so many other wonderful things going for me – my health, my family, my friends, my ability to give back, and especially my incredibly supportive husband, who has never once doubted me or thought I was crazy for wanting to do something “off the beaten track.”
- What’s going to change on the blog? Given that I didn’t talk that much about work anyway, I would assume that not much is going to change on the blog! I do realize that some of you were most impressed by my ability to balance a full-time job with blogging, fitness, and living a “normal” life. And yes, I’m worried that I’ll disappoint or lose you as followers. But my hope is to still offer tips on how to balance all of these things – because I did it for many years, and I still have a lot that I haven’t shared! You’ll probably notice several tabs (like the Health Coaching one) change as I open up for business, but the blog will still be here! (picture source)
- Are you scared? I’m scared out of my mind. I’m scared that I’ll fail, I’m scared of what people will think when I say I left a very prestigious business role to venture into the world of health and wellness, and I’m scared that I’m sacrificing a meaningful and steady income for … who knows what? But I’m also confident. I know I can help people, and I know this is the right choice for me. I’m really proud of myself for recognizing what I need to be happy, and working to give it to myself. I know it will be a difficult journey, but I’m so excited to go after what I truly want. (picture source)
Since it is Motivation Monday after all, I’ll tie this back to you with a few thoughts for you. If you are unhappy, it takes a lot of bravery and courage to realize and admit that – to yourself and others. But if you don’t admit it and try to change it, you can’t expect your situation to change on its own. And if you do admit it to yourself, please don’t feel as guilty as I have felt for so many months. I can tell you from experience that the tears are not worth your agony, and that “giving up” is not always a bad thing, but often a positive one. (picture source)
What do you need to be happy? Are you settling for less than you deserve? What can you do today to change that? I promise you, you DO deserve it.(picture source)
So tell me in the comments … Have you ever left a job? What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever admitted to yourself? What can you do to make your life a little bit better today?