Most of my big life changes have happened in the morning.
If I’m pondering a life or business change, I will have anxiety about it for a few days — and then one morning I wake up and know exactly what I need to do. It’s as if my head comes out from behind a cloud of worry and doubt and I have complete clarity.
But looking back on all the choices I’ve made, I can see how every career or life choice I made was setting me up to be prepared for my next opportunity.
I opened an etsy shop in 2011 (maybe even 2010, my mom brain can’t remember). It was a complete and total dud.
BUT, because I tried something new, I realized that I loved the social media side of having a handmade shop/running your own business. So I began to go to events where I met more people who were in the online world. To give you a bit of perspective, in 2011 none of my real-life friends blogged or had an interest in being on twitter etc. (I had been blogging since 2009!)
In 2012, I tried to start a website and community. It was a complete and TOTAL flop.
But when I was planning to make this great website, I knew I wanted it to be on WordPress. I was clueless about WordPress, and my own blog was on the blogger platform. My mom knew the basics of WordPress, so I remember asking her a ton of questions and then somehow teaching myself the basics. Knowing WordPress has proven to be helpful in so many ways that I can, without doubt, say that the purpose of my flopped site was to learn that skill.
Not soon after I decided this short-lived website was a flop I was presented with opportunities to manage the social media for two businesses, a non-profit and a company that paired brands with bloggers. Because of my knowledge of and excitement for social media and my new skillset knowing the backend of WordPress, I was qualified to do these jobs.
I was willing to put myself out there and go to events where I met women who would eventually hire me for these two jobs.
I was willing to try new things that my friends and family didn’t fully understand. What some people might have thought of as possible mistakes I thought of as opportunities.
These two jobs allowed me to learn a lot about myself. They taught me about running and managing a business, and, most important, these jobs gave me the confidence to think of myself as a business owner.
When it was time for me to move on from these jobs (at separate times), I had a few days of stress and anxiety. I was questioning myself. I kept asking myself if it was a mistake to walk away from a job that was paying me to do something I enjoyed.
And just as it always happens, one morning I woke up and I knew what I had to do. The doubt was gone and replaced by it was this strong feeling that I had to follow my gut and go.
Anything that I have done and walked away from I have never regretted because I know it was meant for me in that specific season. Sometimes we know that a new season is coming, so we can confidently make a change. For me, that is usually not the case.
When I left my non-profit job, I was working two jobs and clocking about 50 hours a week of work. I decided it was time for that door to close when my husband came home from a 9-month deployment. The plan was to celebrate the holidays (Thanksgiving & Christmas), go on our post-deployment trip to Europe, and then in 2015 I’d be focusing on adoption stuff, my other job, and starting a podcast with my biz bestie.
The reality was I would become pregnant in early 2015 and very quickly deal with the worst morning sickness. Had I not walked away from that job 5 months earlier and let myself explore other things in life, I think the first first half my pregnancy would have been even more difficult. When I left my cool job at the non-profit, I knew I was getting ready to enter a different season, but even I didn’t know what that season was.
I used to think every time I wanted to quit something I was failing and it was a mistake that I had even attempted it. But the reality is, trying new things means you’re willing to learn, you’re willing to be vulnerable, and you’re willing to possibly fail.
When I look back on the things I’ve said yes to, I never think of them as mistakes. What I do think of as a mistake is all the things I didn’t allow myself to try. So whenever I question whether to pursue something, I don’t think about if doing it will be a mistake. I instead ask myself if I will regret not going for it.
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