Around six months ago, my life turned upside down.
I quit my job.
I won’t elaborate on the events that led up to me walking out, because it doesn’t really matter. The important stuff came after those two little words landed on my boss’ desk. It was not an easy ride and there are certainly still bumps in the road ahead, but I am still certain that I made the right decision.
At least once in your lifetime, you’ll come to a cross road that requires you to make a monumental decision. What you do next can and will change the direction of your life completely. So what can you do when everything is riding on the choice you make?
First up, take a stock check. What is making you happy? What is making you sad? If a part of your life is taking away from your happiness, you need to reconsider whether it’s worth it.
Next, write down the things that are making you sad. Ask yourself which of these are under your control. Cross out the things you can’t control.
Take a look at what’s left. You control these things. What can you do to make yourself feel better? It could be as simple as promising yourself not to talk to your mother-in-law as often, or it could as complex as changing your career.
Think about you, and no one else. Not your partner, not your kids, not your window cleaner. What would you do if you didn’t have to think about anybody else? This is your decision, and you need to follow your instincts.
So you made the big decision – now what?
Remember that even baby steps are progress in the right direction. It’s easy to feel like you’ve failed after the initial thrill of following your gut. One month in, when you haven’t managed to get your dream off the ground yet and the bills are piling up, it’s easy to give up. Be kind to yourself and recognise that you need this time to recover from the crap you went through before. You need it to prepare yourself for the next step, and even making one phone call to a friend who used to work in editing is progress.
Believe that things are working out for you.
Don’t believe that things will work out for you – believe that they already are. Everything you do is a step in the right direction. Every rejection is pushing you closer to the perfect job, instead of trapping you in a crappy one. If the road is long, it’s because your body needed the time off. Have faith in yourself and keep going.
Be as kind to yourself as you would be to someone else.
Reassure yourself like you would a friend who’s going through turmoil. Buy yourself some chocolates or a cheeseburger to cheer yourself up. Take yourself to the movies. For some reason, we take a lot more care of other people than we do of ourselves.
All of a sudden you’ll notice that opportunities start to arrive from every angle. Take your time – starting a new job or lifestyle is just as monumental as leaving the old one.
For those of you who are interested, I followed these steps too. After three months of sporadic temp work and a whole lot of Jaffa Cakes, I was hired by my dream employer. I promise you, this stuff works.