7 Lessons I Learned When I Quit

The thing about reflecting back on a big decision, is that you now have a different perspective. I quit my job at the end of 2012 and looking back, it was one of the most difficult and life changing things that I've ever done. Where I am now in my life is a result of that decision. 

The backstory

Here's a bit of the backstory. I had pondered the decision to leave my job more than a year and a half before I actually gave in my resignation letter. My feelings fluctuated between being grateful to feeling completely overwhelmed and dissatisfied. And after a few years, my anxiety became a constant. The more I ignored it, the worse it got.  It's funny now, looking back, how I explained it to myself. I thought I didn't have the skills to perform at my best and that I had to compensate for those gaps.  What I didn't realize is that what I wanted and who I was was changing. 

Why did I stay?  Like so many of us, I believed my job was part of who I was. My job gave me confidence and I hate to admit this (or maybe I actually don't), I liked my responsibilities. I worked my butt off to get them damn it.

It's also hard leaving something that you've invested so much time and energy doing and dive into the unknown. What would happen if I walked away? I didn't know. What I did know was that the misalignment between what I thought I wanted, and what I actually wanted was growing.  Something had to change. After a year and a half of going back and forth, negotiating with my fear like it was a decision maker, I finally made the only decision I could. Staying would have cost too much. I submitted my resignation, packed up my life and move half-way around the world (more on that story later!).

Why does it matter? Because after I took that risk, I found myself on my journey of self discovery. It matters because I've been lucky enough to speak to so many of you that want to do the same thing. To find your way back to who you really are and what you want. To feel fulfilled and happy.  

We all have had experiences where something that we were doing didn't sit right. We spend so much of our time doing things that we actually don't want to do. We know, deep down, that something is missing but we can't quite take that first step. Whatever you're feeling or experiencing, every challenge, every time you say "something doesn't feel right", is a chance to take a closer look and to choose differently. 

 

Looking back, here's what I learned:

1. Your Values Make You...You

After a few years of walking in one direction, it's easy to forget what you really want. Heck, it's easy to forget who you are and what makes you happy! After much soul searching and talking to my support system, it became clear that my values were no longer aligned with what I was doing. I wanted to help people, to find an ease and a flow in my work that just wasn't there. I wanted to bring back meaning into my life. Take the time to think about your values and what's important to you. Those values guide your decisions. Some of the most important work my clients and I do, especially at the beginning of the coaching process, is values-based. IT'S FUUUN!

2. Listen To Your Gut

Or instincts. Or that feeling you have when something's not quite right. If that's the case, chances are that there's something deeper's going on. Even if you're not clear about what your gut is telling you, take the opportunity to get clear with a lil bit of personal exploration. You may be surprised by what you find. 

3. You're The CEO Of Your Life

Yes at times we're not satisfied with our responsibilities or how our life is going. We may require more challenging work and our skills may not be utilized to their maximum potential. But, whatever you're doing, be the best at it. When you take pride in your work and you're positive, you feel better and people notice.  Chances are your positivity will rub off on those around you. Where you are in the present moment is where you're meant to be. Cherish it! 

4. The Grass Is Green, Even On The Other Side

This is an extension of #3 but I just wanted to elaborate on how our perception influences our experience. We always think that if we had another job, partner, house, life... things would be better but, that's not always the case. I'm not saying that it's not time to leave or make a change. What I am saying is that we're all responsible for my own experiences and happiness. Completely. 100%. Full Stop! So how can you make this moment happier?

5. When Challenged: Learn

Even though it took me a while to realize I wasn't happy, I learned so much of myself because of it. So yes, you may feel like it's taking too long or that you shouldn't be where you are but what you are experiencing is just another step closer to what you ultimately want. Take the time to see the lessons in all you're experiences. When you know better, you can do better. 

6. Scared? That's Okay

Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of the unknown. Fear keeps us from expressing ourselves fully! Fear kept me small.  What is fear keeping you from doing? When you're feeling stuck, take time to look at your fears. It's ok to be scared. I'm not telling you to be fearless because fear has its place. But what if you can recognize your fear and act despite it. Now that's powerful! 

7. The World Will Not Fall Apart! 

Yep it's true. We spend so much time building something that we actually think if we leave, everything will fall apart. Maybe we will.  This was an excuse I used. I was the one holding myself back from doing what I was really meant to do. How are you holding yourself back? What are you telling yourself that's keeping you where you are? 

 

Some distance away from that time in my life has given me some perspective, like distance tends to do. I wanted to reject my experience, to move past them but now, all I am is grateful for them. Sometimes, when we do what we don't want, we realize just how much we're willing to fight for what we do want.

In the last couple of years, I've realize that I do know what's best for me. I just have to listen to that internal pull telling me that something greater. 

 

I'd love to hear from you!

Tell me about your experiences of walking away from a job. What did you learn? What changes would you have made and what do you know now that you didn't know then?