Almost two months ago, I decided it was time to start chasing my dreams and officially left my corporate job. You heard that right – I quit my job in the middle of a pandemic. There were a number of drivers – stress, mental health, entrepreneurship, family. My husband and I started a new business last year and it has grown so quickly we knew in order to truly take it to the next level we would have to dedicate more of our time to it.
I should pause here and thank God for my husband. He saw my struggles to navigate my high-stress job and take care of our kiddo. He encouraged me constantly to do whatever I needed to, even if that meant chasing my dreams. And he finally told me I had to do this, no excuses.
Our family couldn’t do it anymore with the way things were. chasing my dreams became a reality.
Now you could argue that I left one stress for others. Chasing dreams isn’t necessarily stress-free. That the stability of a big paycheck and excellent health care that my job brought, counterbalanced the stress of the day-to-day work. Paychecks, when you’re self-employed, look much different and less secure. Health care for the self-employed can be a whole different kind of stress.
Two months in, I’m not exactly an expert. But there are some lessons I’ve learned already in this season of change and chasing dreams:
- There will NEVER be a perfect time to start chasing your dreams. That thing you’ve been putting off, telling yourself there will be a better time, do it now. You will talk yourself out of it most of the time. It won’t be easy but starting is the biggest obstacle to overcome at this stage.
- Decide what’s important to you. We sat down as a family and talked about what was important to us, and what chasing my dreams really meant. We prioritized, and then we started to map out how best to get there. Which leads to step 3.
- Prepare as much as you’re able. This will give you some breathing room. Quitting my job was not a small decision. It was one with huge impacts on our family’s finances. I read quite a few books and articles for ideas. One book I connected with in particular was Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez. After we decided what was important, we started to pick out what we could cut out to get there. Where could we scale back? How much could we save? What could we pay down or pay off and how fast?
- Talk to people. My life and work have brought me in touch with a lot of different people. They have different skills than I do. They’re experts in things I am not. I’ve been able to ask them questions as I go through things for the first time, like searching for health care for my family or using new business software. Think about the resources you have in your life already and don’t be afraid to ask questions!
- Be creative. One of the important things to me about quitting my 8-5 job was my hope of chasing my dreams and trying new things. I had worked in the same industry since I graduated college. I was considered an expert in that field. I hadn’t drifted too far from it. I wanted an opportunity to try other things that interested me and see what skills I might have there. Also since our business can’t fully support both of us yet, this means we have to get creative with income streams. I recently started working one day a week for a friend who owns a small boutique in my hometown. I’m having a blast and I get to help out a friend.
- Take a chance on chasing your dreams. You’re made of stronger stuff than you know. There will be lots of people ready to tell you you’re crazy or you can’t do it. You might be one of them.
If this pandemic has taught me anything, it’s that time is precious, and our lives here are so short. I don’t want to look back with regret. I want my kids to see their parents taking chances and chasing dreams so that the attitude they have as children – that anything is possible – never dies.