I did something wild.
I quit my 9-5.
It was one of the hardest and scariest decisions I've ever made. But as scary as it was, I know there's no better time than now to follow my dreams and lean into my creativity.
Why was it so scary? I didn't want to be that person who took a risk and failed.
Since I was around the age of 5, I envisioned myself in a creative role- covered in paint, taking pictures, or writing beautiful poems. Society lead me to believe that wasn't good enough and that it wasn't possible- and I listened. I didn't want to be that person who disappointed friends and family. So for years, I let the fear of failure and the need for approval control my decisions and ultimately, how I lead my life.
"Pay attention to your shoulds," is one of the most powerful things my coworker ever said to me. The word 'should' is the comparison, the meeting of what we think others expect of us, and the societal belief of what the ideal lifestyle looks like. It's a form of self-criticism, it takes away our autonomy and gets in the way of us achieving our goals.
The "shoulds" creeped in on me: I should be happy, it's a great job with amazing coworkers; I should be thankful, it's a stable and reliable job with benefits; I should feel content, the job uses my educational background and allows me to share my knowledge.
But I simply felt like there was something missing. I wasn't living in alignment with my true self, I wasn't living to my full potential, and I felt stuck.
Again, the job was a good job, I was happy overall. But there's a difference between being happy and being fulfilled. The easiest way I can describe the difference between those feelings is with food (of course). You can eat a meal and feel full, but not feel satiated. Yes, you are fed and are full, but did you enjoy the flavours and the textures of the meal? Did it satisfy your cravings? Did eating it bring you joy?
I was simply not fulfilled.
The normalcy and familiarity of a 9-5 lifestyle brings a sense of comfort. And that comfort can make you feel like you're in control. But for me, it was anything but control. I found myself in the hustle, trying to keep up. I felt like I was constantly treading water but getting nowhere. Or like I had been living with two of me coexisting: my human form living a life out of alignment, and a "holographic form" floating around, holding my truth, looking to unite.
That imagery helped me finally understand why I have always felt lost in life, why I daydreamed all through math class, why every job has left me exhausted and unfulfilled.
I am not saying that a 9-5 job is bad, or that everyone should jump ship and quit. You may love your 9-5, and that's amazing! Even if you don't love yours, it's important to remember that we are complex beings and a job simply cannot define us.
But, the lifestyle did not work well for me. I need to rest and explore more than just two weeks out of the year. I need an environment that fosters creativity and allows me to flow and invite inspiration (for me this means more time outside of four walls). I need movement and nature and sunlight, and I want to experience the summer season more than just after 5pm.
Oh, and I also hate being told what to do... I'm a Scorpio.
Creating is what sets my soul on fire. It's what makes me feel most myself. It's when I feel the most inspired and most inspirational.
I understand I am speaking from a privileged place. I am in a position that has allowed me to quit and pursue my creativity and my business seriously, but this has been a work-in-progress for over three years. Maybe you can't just drop everything, but start where you are now. Whatever it is that sets your soul on fire, that makes you feel alive- the world needs that. You have a gift that deserves to be shared.
The biggest thing that always held me back was seeking and needing approval from others. Don't make the same mistake I did. Maybe no one in your circle believes in you or thinks you can do it. But what is most important is that you believe in you. At the end of the day, you are the one that has to unconditionally believe in yourself and your dreams. Everything you need is already within you and you have what it takes.
That dream that's in your mind right now? Promise me you will take one small step towards it today. It can be the teeny tiniest step, but it's still a step towards big things.