“I don’t like to gamble, but if there’s one thing I’m willing to bet on, it’s myself.” – Beyonce’
2016 was a weird year for me, and if I’m being honest, so far 2017 isn’t any less weird. Last year, I left a job I knew well to embark on a new journey and to try something new and different. I took a chance on myself. It was everything you might expect: exciting, scary, sad, and intimidating.
People change jobs every day. Big woop. There was no press release. I’m not a C-Suite executive at Google. It’s not all that exciting, but it is relevant. I have a point, I promise.
I decided to say “yes” to a new opportunity that totally took me out of my comfort zone. I said “yes” to a chance that meant leaving behind strong professional relationships, friendships, a familiar workflow, and a position at the company which had always been my dream. It was the only place I had ever wanted to work.
Leaving that job was so hard for me, and to this day, I am still a bit emotionally attached to it. I met the most incredible people and made some of my favorite memories, including some of my biggest mistakes. But why don’t we just call them “learning experiences”? This job taught me what to do, what not to do, how to handle tough situations gracefully and somehow manage to make good things come out of them. My boss was a magician at this. I still don’t know how she did it. And, I can say, I learned more in my time there than one could ever learn in school. Let me be the first to tell you (because word travels fast around here) that through all of this, I have failed, but I have also learned a great deal.
Change is so awkward. It gets messy and is incredibly stressful. It can be ridden with anxiety and pain. Leaving a job can feel more like a break-up and that is one of the most confusing feelings. But there is also something so beautiful and so rewarding about paving your own way. It’s saying “Yes!”, and going out on a limb for yourself. Sometimes in the most awkward, confusing, and most disappointing of circumstances, you find something you never knew was missing. You learn something you never knew you needed to know. Sometimes figuring out what you don’t want is just as important and absolutely crucial to finding out what you do want. And only then, can you begin paving a new path, writing a new story, and dreaming a new dream.
Sometimes, when you go out on a limb, that limb breaks. You can either fall all the way to the bottom and lay there, or you can sink your teeth into the tree trunk and pull yourself back up.
The hardest times are when the change is not your decision and is completely out of your hands. That’s when that big, scary, intimidating, and absolutely out of nowhere change becomes a gift. I have been given the gift of time and of freedom. I have been blessed with the inspiration to start a blog that I LOVE and has literally given me life during this recent time of transition. I have been given the gift of new friendships through collaborations.I have met the most incredible men and women – all who have decided to pursue their dreams in a fearless way. I have been given the gifts of restored self-confidence and of new found strength.
These precious gifts, however, have come from a very not Pinterest-worthy place. They came from months of reflection, regret, of questioning my self-worth and my value. I have questioned my experience and my abilities, knowing full and well what I am capable of. I have “ugly cried” and messed up my pretty makeup more times than I can count.
Answering to yourself is always the most difficult. We are all our own worst enemies. We pick at, stab and beat ourselves up over not knowing the answer to the questions. We may not always have the ability to see the clear path or know if taking that chance is the right chance to take. Hindsight is 20/20 and that can be scary.
But if I’ve learned anything over this last very weird year it’s that you absolutely cannot beat yourself up. You cannot be your worst enemy. You have to cheer for team “YOU” because no one else can do that for you. You especially cannot beat yourself up over things that you absolutely cannot change. The world is full of enough people who are going to knock you down, or break the limb you just stepped out on – you don’t need to be one of them.
So now what? Now, you embrace the gift you have been given. You pick up your pride! You pick up your freedom! And you run! You run as fast as you can towards the thing that has been calling your name. You sprint full speed ahead at everything that has been waiting for you. Step out on another limb, and proceed with ruthless intent. Apply for the job that you are not fully qualified for because you know you are capable of learning. Pitch to the brand that you think is out of your reach because you know that you WILL rise to the occasion. Ask all of the questions. Do not settle or sell yourself short. REALLY listen to your gut, and unapologetically trust and defend what it’s trying to tell you. But most of all, don’t be afraid to take another chance. Don’t be afraid to fail or learn, because if you give into that fear and that ugly self-doubt, you might miss out on the best thing that could ever happen to you.
For the first time in my life, my success is 100% in my hands. Is it scary? Yeah. Does it feel good? It feels damn good.