10 Lessons I Learned From Ditching the 9-5 Career & Standing Up For Myself
After a roller coaster year, it is hard not to look back to glean the lessons from it. It's important to look back, take what will help you going forward, and leave the rest behind. At least, that's what I recommend if you want to take 2017 by storm like I do. Dragging negativity with you is harmful - but we'll get to that in a bit. In March, I walked away from almost eight years as a well-paid, white collar career woman. It was the resignation heard round all my social circles and met with shock, subdued admiration, and even jealousy because it was a crazy thing to do.
Yet I did. I walked away because God was tired of gently nudging me to leave and He downright smacked me upside the head with it. I jumped into what became a transition year. There are many lessons to be had in transition, and I've rounded up my top 10 here.
1) It's lonely. At least it can be when you haven't quite figured out how to fully rely on God. That complete reliance is new in the last few months and is still a work in progress. Between leaving my job and setting firm, appropriate relationship boundaries that created waves of tsunami proportion, a large part of 2016 was kind of lonely. I knew leaving my job and standing up for our little family was what God was instructing us to do, but we weren't fully relying on Him to get us through. The majority of relationships that were in my life a year ago are no where to be found today. Yet my relationship with God is stronger than ever and those friends and family who are new or still around are the ones who truly care about me. Which leads into the second lesson...
2) Not everyone gets the privilege of a front row seat to your life. Front row seats should be reserved for those you can rely upon, fully trust, and with whom you share a mutual respect. We are the sum of the top five people we spend the most time with. Take a look at your inner circle and how it influences you. Is it pushing you up or pulling you down? Is it bringing you closer to your dreams or farther away? I urge you to evaluate your biggest influences and whether or not they should remain in the front row. You are responsible for protecting your energy and well-being. The more you do that, the more you are able to do for others.
3) Negativity is a dream killer. The lens through which you view the world can make all the difference between prosperity and staying stuck dreaming with few results. Focusing on wrongs done to you, ranting and raving, and allowing others' negativity to suck you dry is a recipe for mediocrity and misery. This isn't new information, but I have been on both sides of the fence. A large portion of my life was spent on the negative side. It is the far more miserable, so....
4) Positivity, belief, prayer & scripture are the stuff of miracles. Consistent prayer, scripture study, trust, and positivity can lead to some pretty amazing results. It never ceases to amaze me when I'm praying and in that very moment someone randomly messages me about exactly the thing for which I'm asking God for guidance or answers. In these last few months of dedication to prayer, watching my mindset, and studying scripture, I have gotten more answers and traction than at any other time in my life.
5) I wasn't as prepared as I thought I was. Somehow I thought I had it all together at the beginning of the year. The funny thing about not having a 9-5 is that I couldn't hide behind it anymore. Hello, world. I'm taking a ginormous leap but who knows where I'll land! Yeah. Not quite the way I recommend doing it. Haha!
6) Authenticity is where it's at. When I became increasingly more positive, confident, and overall empowered, people sat up and took notice. They were drawn to that light and strength. Yet the most powerful reactions came from that empowerment sprinkled with struggle and imperfection. Every once in a while, when I decide to let you in on the heavier stuff, the response is incredible. You message me in gratitude that someone else gets it. You reach out with your stories because you know I hear you. It's hard to trust those who only show perfection. It's hard to relate to that. At the end of the day, people want to know you are real.
7) When you stand up for yourself and set firm, reasonable boundaries, pay attention to how those closest to you react. If they react with hositility or you walk away and they let you...keep walking. Those aren't your people. Referring back to lesson two, know who is in your corner. Bless and release those who are not. Worrying about and getting sucked into what people think and say about you steals energy that should be directed positively elsewhere. It steals focus, confidence, and overall peace.
8) Being the boss means a whole new level of self-discipline. In the beginning I took full advantage of not setting an alarm for 5:00 AM. I wore leggings almost 24/7. That ended up being a bad idea for my confidence and the weight control side of things. My daily to do list slowly disappeared. Running a business means getting up, showing up, and dedicating the time to your baby. It might only be a few hours a day, but those few hours are crucial.
9) You can get stuck in self-development. Self-development is a wonderful thing. It has helped me transition from the "employee" mindset to "empowered business owner." I got stuck in a loop, though. New books, articles, and worksheets were my jam. There was an endless supply of it and I researched just as endlessly. Part of it is because I came from an industry where research is critical. The other is because it became an excuse to stand still and not make any forward moving decisions. Which brings us to lesson 10...
10) Make the decision. No one else can make the decisions for me anymore. I'm the boss. I'm not sitting in a conference room with more people on the speaker phone. I can't hide, hedge, or otherwise wait others out so that they make the decisions. Sure, I can gather outside input, but no one else is going to pull the trigger. I spent too much time standing on the edge of the next cliff, scared to jump. It's ridiculous, really, because I'd already made the biggest cliff jump by quitting my job. Holding myself back didn't make much sense, but fear will hold you captive as long as you let it.
So there you go. Ten of my biggest lessons since ditching the 9-5. What a growing opportunity. I went into the deep end and am finally up for air. The odd conglomeration of joy and struggle has been a blessing. I would not trade it for anything. It has been a year of healing. It is incredible to compare Rebecca in January 2016 to Rebecca in December 2016. What a difference. What a wonderful, astounding difference. That being said, I'm ready to leave that struggle behind. Look out, 2017. You have no idea what's in store for us.