Imagine sitting at your desk (or kitchen table) having a rare quiet moment. Maybe you’re not busy at work or the kids are taking a nap. In the moment you think, “Is this all that life has to offer? Could there be something more?”
I experienced that exact moment at the age of 26 and I remember it distinctly to this day. I was sitting at my “ubicle” (what we fashionably called our cubicles because they were made out of refurbished grain silos) silently suffering through another afternoon of being chained to my desk with no work to do. Even though I had finished all my work for the day, I still had to sit at my desk for another 3 hours until 5 o’clock rolled around to open the doors of my prison cell.
I didn’t hate my job; I actually enjoyed the work I was doing as the art director of a small, hip ad agency. What was sucking the life out of me was the fact that I had to sit there at my desk even though my work was completed. I was trapped there until the corporate day was over. I wasn’t allowed to leave! Doesn’t that sound like a prison sentence to you? It was in that moment I said to myself, almost aloud, “There’s got to be more to life than this.”
The next day, I picked up a book called “How to Become a Freelance Graphic Designer.” I read it within 2 days, and immediately launched my plan of escape. It took me about a year to save up enough money and build up enough courage to actually quite my job. As you can imagine, this day was exhilarating, the dream of regaining the reigns of my life was becoming a reality. Sadly, my bubble of excitement was quickly deflated. My boyfriend at the time and I were sharing a small home in a hip neighborhood of Indianapolis called Broadripple. Although I owned the house, he was splitting the bills with me 50/50. Just a couple of days into my new business, I found out he was cheating on me, and he moved out the same day. In my glorious plan to escape the rat race and be a freelancer, I hadn’t planned on paying all the bills on my own.
Financially I struggled. But the worst case scenario had happened and I was still alive and still had a roof over my head. But best of all, I didn’t have to drag myself out of bed every morning and commute to a job that I didn’t love.
This is a great example of that small ‘nudge’ we often feel when it’s time to make a change. It’s easy to bury this nudge under many excuses…it’s not the right time or I can’t afford to start my own business. But often times what we fear the most is actually not as bad as it seems. For me, it was starting out on my own and then having my rug of security swept from underneath my feet. What does the worst case scenario look like for you?
If you feel like you have had a nudge that it’s time for a change, now is a good time to sit down and write about what’s stopping you from taking that leap of faith toward your dreams. I actually encourage you to plot out the worst case scenarios on paper, get comfortable with the possible negative outcomes and then do it anyway!
I would love to hear your comments on when was a time you felt that ‘nudge’ in the comments below!