Category: Seeking Inspiration

Overcoming the Fear of Unemployment: Step 1 To Designing a New Life.

Last week’s post about why I decided to leave my “cool” job got a tremendous response. Amidst all of the notes of “congratulations” were questions. Many of you all want to know what my thought process was. And that is what today’s post was supposed to be about until I realized that before I could go there, I needed to explain how I overcame the trauma of long-term, unplanned, unemployment.

I spent the majority of 2009 without a steady job. This took a toll on my psyche. For months I was frustrated and depressed. I even got physically sick from the stress.

So, how did I, a person who freaked out about unemployment come to the point where I could willingly walk away from a j.o.b. with a smile?

“It’s the story BEHIND the story.”
I’ve never told anyone just how hard that year was for me. I am one of those people who likes to put up a strong front. I didn’t feel as if I could tell anyone about the terror I felt because my fear of looking like a failure is stronger than my fear of actual failure. Even now it’s hard for me to write, but no one is really talking about how the recession is impacting people beyond the stress of needing money.

The months of being rejected in the job market shook me at my core. Recession be damned, I took all of the unanswered resumes personally and it chipped away at my self-esteem. The feeling lingered even after I started working.  After nearly a year of feeling lost, I felt as if I needed my job to validate me. It was a dangerous state of mind. And it was the reason I held on to my corporate existence long after I realized that I wasn’t happy doing the office thing.

The traumatic unemployed feeling was replaced by something new: the traumatic “um, this is so NOT what I want to do” feeling, which was quickly followed by the ” hot damn what am I going to do feeling?”

Too many bad feelings.
I never wanted to feel that sense of powerlessness that I felt in 2009 ever again.  But I did. All of the times I told myself I wasn’t capable of doing something better, I felt it. All of the times I wanted to sink back into my bed in the mornings, I felt it. And every time I felt frustrated because I didn’t have time to work on what REALLY inspired me, I felt it.

Before I could even began to rationally think about how I could make an escape, I had to get to a place where I could be at peace with defining my role in life for myself. I had to stop caring what people (especially the ones I care about the most) think of it because it is MY decision.

I had to get to a place where I am strong enough to say that I’ll discuss my future plans with you when I am ready because I don’t need to validate myself through the approval of others. I had to get to a place where I could handle failing without thinking it was the end of the world.  I had to get to a place where I could define what “cool” is for me.

Most importantly, I had to get to a place where I could actually SEE all of the options for myself without hearing a bunch of “woe is me and the recession” buzz in my mind anytime I dared myself to think about doing something different.  So many of us have been taught to find a job and then grip it tightly and never let go. This blinds us to seeing when something might be choking your spirit.

Many people never find out just how resilient they really are. They make up al kinds of excuses for never seeing how much they are capable of. It’s way too easy to fall into that category. Honestly, I don’t want that to be me.

So how did I overcome all of my funky feelings?

Mostly by reminding myself that life is short enough not to enjoy all of the good things if you don’t act on them, but long enough that it is possible to rebound and reinvent myself several times over.  It was a process that took months. But I must say, it was darn worth it.

3 Reasons Why I Left My “Cool” Job

I have wanted to write this post for weeks. I knew that I need to address the subject here because it is so central to what I write about. I aim to shed light on bold ideas that inspire you all to really think about the life you want to create for yourself. So here is my latest bold idea: No matter how “cool” a job sounds out loud, it’s possible for you to feel unhappy on the inside. As the months have tumbled on, I felt increasingly despondent and depressed about my 9-5. Sure, there were a lot of cool aspects to it (the free stuff, the celebs, the fun events), but the days I struggled to get out of bed out numbered the days I got up with a smile. I felt as if I was getting lost in the shuffle of misery.

So I decided to leave.

It obviously wasn’t as simple as that, and I do plan on writing another post about the thought process I used to make a change, but right now I want to focus on the top three reasons I decided to leave the 9-5 hustle in pursuit of points and places unknown.

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Don’t Be Afraid To F* Up

Most people (myself included) got the message in elementary school that making mistakes is a bad thing. We were taught to memorize facts and figures, and that only bad things come out of making mistakes (bad grades, failure in life, ect).

But this wasn’t always the case.

In fact, during our formative years, our parents encouraged us to make mistakes galore! We fell down many times before we learned to walk and we made garbled sounds before we said anything audible. We tried, and failed until one day we succeeded.

The fear of making mistakes paralyzes us into living lives that look nothing like the ones we have imagined for ourselves in our heads. It’s at best, a shoddy representation of the desires we have in our heart. We plug away at things we don’t care about because we are afraid that if we go after what we really want, we will fall flat on our face. No one likes falling in public.

But the beauty of life is in the mistakes that we make. Because mistakes are lessons waiting to be learned, and harvested, and turned into a better model of what we were trying to achieve before we fell short.

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Doing “That Thing You Do”

Lovely image from acobox.com

I bet you have a special thing. Some hobby, or interest that makes you giddy. When you work on it your smile stretches from ear-to-ear, and you realize just how beautiful life really is.

If you spend some of your free time plugging away at projects that give you that good feeling, kudos! Rock on! This post really isn’t for you, though. This piece of writing is for all of my peeps that neglect their projects.  You know who you are.

Maybe you have been too busy working at your day job to really work on “Project You 2.0.” Perhaps it got lost in the hustle/shuffle that is “real world’ life. Are you spending your extra time trying to make some extra cash? I feel ya.

Extra cash is a good thing, but what about your special thing, you know the thing that you love to do just for the sake of doing it?

Are you neglecting THAT thing?  The thing that soothes you, sustains you, and feeds your creative soul. The thing that makes everything all right again during the dark moments.

If you are anything like me, you’ve probably been neglecting it. But alas, we aren’t going to bash ourselves. Nope, we’re going to figure out how to bring it back. (Resisting the urge to throw in a Sexyback/J.Tim reference here.)

Story time!

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5 Strengths I Forgot I Had Until A Drunk Man Wandered Into My Room

My weekend was odd. It started on Friday, when I got locked out of my house (no keys, cell phone, money, nothing!) and went into early Sunday morning when a drunk, male, stranger stumbled into my house, into MY BEDROOM, and reminded me of 5 strengths I forgot I had.  My guess is that you have them too; but hopefully some drunken lout doesn’t have to wander into your room before you remember you do.

Curious? Read On.

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