One year ago I went rogue and walked away from a comfortable and well-paying job with no back-up plan. I didn’t leave because I hated my employer or my role as an events manager. In fact, I got paid doing exactly what I loved, which was organizing events and traveling the world on someone else’s dime. Not a bad life.
Some applauded my bold move, while others thought it was one of the stupidest moves I’ve made. I get
the haters those concerned for my wellbeing. It wasn’t as if I had inherited even a dollar from some rich relative or met my own version of Prince Akim from Coming To America. So why would I leave a good job? I left because I knew if I didn’t, I’d hate myself for settling for comfort instead of pushing for greatness.
I left because I knew if I didn’t, I’d hate myself for settling for comfort instead of pushing for greatness.
I did actually get why people were concerned, as my events were like my babies. It felt like I was giving my children up for adoption against my will, but at the same time with my consent, if that makes any sense. I wanted and needed to leave, but relinquishing what I had worked so crazy hard to make appear seamless, was about to be handed off to some other person. Would she take care of my babies or treat them like some unwanted stepchildren?? I was freaking out over this thought!
This was probably a great time for an intervention on letting go, but that would have gotten what I call the “Whatcha talkin’ about Willis?” look from Different Strokes. I was too deep into denial to recognize that my comfort and my love for my “babies” were slowly killing my spirit. Looking back now, there were so many signs! Instead of seeing them, I focused on frantically debriefing my team on every little detail I had gained from my seven years of experience, said my goodbyes and then walked out the door.
I cried a lot the next day. I’m still not sure if those were tears of joy or tears of fear that I made the wrong choice. Of course it is easy to second-guess yourself when you’re jumping without a net. All I knew was that my intuition told me to push the reboot button and start working on me, and that’s exactly what I did.
And what better way to push the reboot button than with a drink in hand while lounging on the beaches in Maui? I also threw in some yoga and meditation for the spirit in between refills. I have to admit, it felt weird not getting any work emails or calls while on vacation as that was the norm. It took a few days, but I finally forced myself to relax and start reflecting.
That’s when it hit me that quitting my job was the easy part of this journey. Letting go and moving towards the unknown was going to be the real challenge. Not to mention cash would be a very close runner-up soon.
Letting go and moving towards the unknown was going to be the real challenge.
I wanted to do something big to symbolize my discovery and readiness to let go. That’s when I saw someone jumping from a cliff out the corner of my eyes. My first instinct was hell no. I can’t swim, unless you count doggy paddling, and I’m afraid of heights. But then I stopped myself in the midst of this mental diatribe and knew those were the reason why I needed to jump from that cliff (yes, potentially the second dumbest thing I did that week for those concerned about my wellbeing).
For the record, I did take some precautions. I found a hot lifeguard willing to watch me in case I remembered I couldn’t swim or worse, needed mouth-to-mouth recitation (the latter was why looks mattered). Still nervous as all hell, I climbed up the cliff with a little help from some strangers. I then stood there for about another 5 minutes contemplating my death and the potential excuses I could give for backing out. It didn’t help watching some 5-year-old repeatedly jump in front of me, but I figured he was just showing off his new swimming skills. Clearly he hadn’t been taught yet that showing off is never cute.
What kept me on that cliff was my hottie lifeguard down below in the water cheering me on and telling me “you got this!” It wasn’t until I felt his words myself that I knew I really did have it. That breakthrough occurred somewhere in the middle of me screaming every curse word I could get out during the first jump. I didn’t truly feel that I had it until the second jump. That’s when I jumped with intention. I jumped with faith that I really do have this new chapter in my life and that I wasn’t going to die from jumping off this cliff, figuratively or literally. Now talk about an emotional high.
After jumping, all I could hear was the word “free” repeating in my head. Free to discovery new things. Free to push the reboot button and challenge myself. And more importantly, free to let go.
I didn’t think I was strong enough to do any of this, but it’s amazing what you can accomplish when you jump out on faith and go rogue. But first, you need to jump.