“I’m going to leave soon, ” I told myself and everyone around me — for SEVEN WHOLE YEARS.
After resigning from my full-time marketing job in 2010, I planned to use adjunct teaching as a stepping stone between my comfort zone and my dream of owning my own business.
But then I got real comfortable again.
The fact that I was constantly overworked, overstressed, and struggling to make ends meet while scraping away at suffocating debt did not matter nearly as much as my belief that a little money was better than no money. Or that my long-term illness significantly limited my options for income. Or especially that my self-esteem was tied up in what I could say my job was.
This week, on Thursday, August 3 to be exact, I finally did it. I committed to walking away from my part-time teaching position at a prestigious Division 1 university and running like the wind toward my passions. Even though I didn’t have money saved or a stream of clients lining up to work with me.
It may seem completely crazy to forgo guaranteed income in a time of financial strain, but I came face-to-face with the truth that I was already living the definition of insanity — doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.
I realized how I was never going to get out of debt at that income level or the cycle it kept me stuck in.
I also realized that I wasn’t really staying for me. I was doing it to please and impress other people.
And once I saw that, there was no unseeing it. No more excuses for “just one more semester.” I had to make a change.
While I’d like to promise that everything is going to fall into alignment so that everything will be blissful and easy from hereon out (wouldn’t that be amazing?), I have no way of knowing that.
But I do know that people who insist that the only way to transform your life is to make big, bold, fearless moves in blind faith are missing something. If you don’t dismantle the underlying pattern that got you stuck in the place where you started from, you’ll only recreate the same circumstances with new props and characters.
You can’t just leap and expect the net to appear. Nor can you manifest a new reality through affirmations and vision boards and other forms of positive thinking alone.
Oh, did I ever learn that the hard way.
All the people-pleasing…
All the proving I was smart enough and good enough…
All the playing super small everywhere else…
Breaking free wasn’t about leaving my job with my sights set on what I wanted — which was exactly why I couldn’t bring myself to follow through before this point. It was about breaking free from old habits and agreements about my worth.
I’ll be continuing to teach at another, smaller campus to keep my benefits, but I’m excited to explore what’s possible now that I’ve reclaimed a sizable chunk of time and energy for myself and my solopreneurial ventures.
Of course, what happens from here is a mystery that only the journey itself can reveal. This blog will chronicle many of these looming discoveries in the hope that they’ll inspire you to embrace more joy and freedom in your own life.
Jill Ennis, M.S., is a teacher and transformational coach on a mission to support smart, talented women who are tired of feeling blasé about their lives to harness their inner brilliance and move joyfully toward their goals.
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