Just over two month ago, I made the decision that it was time to not only do a small overhaul of my life, but that some big actions needed to be taken. With the realization that I would not be satisfied at the end of my life, if I would not make some major changes now, I handed in my resignation at my current job. I gave an almost three months’ notice so I could see out the current committees I work with until their election of a new leader. This also bought me time to figure out what would be next for me, as I had nothing lined up.
What was interesting to me was that my job had always been all consuming of my work and home life, with no room to think of much else throughout the day. But the minute I handed in my resignation, it seemed that I signed up for an additional mental capacity that I didn’t know existed. I haven’t slacked off in the work I am doing for my current job. Quite to the contrary, in trying to ensure that I leave as little as possible undone and prepare everyone to take over my tasks, I have actually worked just as hard.
But suddenly there was also the option to reinvent myself. And the excitement over these new opportunities made me less tired in the evenings and willing to put in extra hours at night to dream and discover what the next journey might look like. It was a huge eye opener. None of my other responsibilities diminished and the days hadn’t magically grown longer, yet that is exactly what it seemed to feel like for a while.
With a newfound enthusiasm, I explored the possibilities that could be my very own story. I dreamed big and envisioned the different options. I also engaged in the process of letting go of the things that felt like they were lost. I knew that holding on to the things of the past, would always push me back to the road already traveled, rather than looking for new ones. I made the conscious decision to step into the unknown each day, which led me to some big breakthroughs in the last months.
But just like with a new love, the novelty and excitement of a new direction can wear off after a while. As the last days of my current job are nearing and as my new endeavors are still not formalized, the old feeling and fear of the unknown has found its way back into some of my days. It is then that I go from my honeymoon phase, where everything seems to magically be in place, to the next phase that makes me see that things aren’t always as perfect as they originally seemed. Now there are days that are harder than others. Days where living my dream actually requires work and tenacity. Now I grapple with the question of whether the idea I originally had was such a great one after all. Should I just give up my dream and take the offer of my current boss to stay on in any capacity that would work for me?
What I have learned in this process, is to allow myself the day of doubt. I make a deal with myself that self-doubt can have a day once in a while to make itself heard. I will not push it away or judge it for being there. Instead I will use this as an opportunity to determine, if I am still on the right track. I will let it play out alternate scenarios of what I could be doing instead. I picture myself continuing in a job following someone else’s lead. I look around and picture myself with the ability to have a steady income and not have to worry about the next day, as I can be ensured it will be similar to the last one.
And that is when my thoughts stop and I open my eyes to reality. If that is what I wanted then I would already have all the riches and would not need to look any further. I could have stayed exactly where I was, with a promise made to move up the career ladder. But it was the moment that I did receive a raise, where I knew that this money was not buying me any happiness.
I remind myself of the moment of relief, when I handed in my resignation and the new mental capacity that came with that choice. For better or worse, I am wedded to my passion.
I think at first I fell victim to the belief that once you know what your story should be, everything else will fall in its place. While doors surely open, if you follow the path meant for you, it doesn’t take away from the work you have to put in as well.
Passion is what makes you see the overall vision and fuels your intuition to cross-check, if you are still on the road you are meant to be on. But it is tenacity and the work you are willing to put in every day that will make you move further along the path.