It's been a year and I guess it's only right for me to reflect on the time I quit my job with no plan, that's what blogs are for right? At first, I wanted to title this blog, "I Failed At My First Year As An Entrepreneur". I truly feel that this year wasn't about becoming an entrepreneur, I still don't like to refer to myself as one. This year was something else, something I couldn't quite put my finger on until recently.
I didn't quit my job to become a budding entrepreneur who was going to be on the next episode of 'Shark Tank' telling my why story to the sharks. I didn't quit my job to travel around the world and have a pre-30 Eat, Love, Pray journey through Southeast Asia (even though I did spend three weeks in Asia in April). I quit my job because I could.
It was the first time in my life that I felt I had the option, my bank account and savings would tell you otherwise, but I didn't care. Combine that with no longer having fear (I blame this on bungee jumping in South Africa), a shit ton of faith and no longer having the desire to appease the corporate structure (i.e. White people), so I quit. I'm sure it would sound better if I had quit with a plan. 6 months savings for living expenses, a signed contract for x amount of dollars with x amount of clients, but I didn't have that. I simply wanted to quit and I did.
I wanted to write an insightful piece about the 4 lessons I learned since quitting my job. Maybe offer hope to someone who is struggling in a cubicle or tired of their commute, but that wouldn't be me. My 4 lessons wouldn't be your 4 lessons. I just want to write the truth. The truth is I have no idea what I'm doing, but it's alright. It was the lesson I needed to learn.
There is this liberation I feel now that I know fear is no longer connected to who I am. I've read all the books, recited all the quotes, listened to all the TED Talks about faith, but nothing compared to the application. Nothing compared to this moment right now, when I can look back and although I have the same uncertainty as I did then, I am one year removed from it. A whole year of distance away from my doubt.
Many of us don't want to admit that we live with fear. It has a key to our home. It sleeps in the bed next to us and it alarmingly jolts us out of our sleep in the morning. Fear makes us rush to work in bumper to bumper traffic. Fear makes us hold our tongues and not speak up in meetings. Fear makes us stop looking for another job when we already have a good one. Fear makes us complacent for the things we wanted our life to be.
For years I've had a fear of success. What if things go exactly as I strive for? What if my vision board comes to life? What if I succeed? Working and living with my fear never allowed me to address this because within the system I was working in my dreams would only go so far. I would never become the millionaire I strive to be working as an Account Manager for a Healthcare IT company. I would never become an author, speaker, and entrepreneur working for someone else. It wasn't possible, but even though I know my dreams, fear kept me working. As time progresses you talk yourself into a new dream. A dream that correlates with what you're currently doing. Every day you get more comfortable with that fear. Usually followed by an added responsibility, spouse, children, house, etc. and then you die. (Yes I'm dramatic).
I finally have space from my fear and that is a joy I can only express in tears. I don't know how other people sit an articulate four concise lessons they learned, I sense it's just to bring traffic to their blog. I couldn't do it. I have a million lessons, but creating distance from my fear was number one for me. I didn't know I was going to write this until I started typing, so you can imagine I am writing this through teary eyes. It's like breaking up with the love of your life and realizing you're doing just fine without them. When you didn't think you could live without them. When your identity was attached to the air in their lungs. When you couldn't imagine your life without a steady paycheck. When you didn't think that you could quit.
I can't tell you how much money I made this last year or how many times I had to say no to happy hours and outings with friends. I can't tell you how many times bill collectors have called my phone or how many different flavors of Ramen Noodles I have tried. While I'm still uncertain about what I'm doing, one thing I know for sure is fear is no longer at the table helping me make decisions. I am grateful for every month, week, day, hour, minute and second of this year and I am excited to charge into the next year with a greater distance from fear and truly start to figure this shit out.