I walked into my boss's office and I quit. I'd been thinking about it seriously for two whole weeks, but it was an impulse I had been working towards for years. I wanted more control over my career and my life. And I wanted to get paid to do what I do best: think.
That was two years ago. I've learnt more since I quit my nine-to-five job to start my own business than in 10 years working in public relations. Like most entrepreneurs, I am an autodidact. I also surrounded myself with smart, successful people and learn as much as I can from them.
Following my dreams has been a lesson in growth. Here are my top 10 life altering realizations:
1. Mondays don't inherently suck.
If you find out what you are good at and you work up the courage to sell yourself, whether it is to your new boss or your new client you will never dread a Monday in your life again. It's normal to have a job you just like or even endure. Don't forget you have the power to make the sacrifices and do the work to reap the rewards of guilt-free lazy Mondays.
2. People are either full of wisdom or full of shit.
It's up to you what you get out of them. In people there is an infinite source of wisdom. Find out what they are passionate about and what motivates them. Apply what they know to your situation, ask for their advice on what they do best. Everyone can teach you something. When you find a teacher, show them their impact. A simple thanks can go a long way.
3. Creativity is like Valium.
Like more and more people these days, my mind has no off switch. When I am creative, real time feels more like a memory and everything is effortless. When you are using your creativity everything else becomes secondary. Creativity has a healing power and it can work for anyone. The key to exploring your own creativity is to do things not because you are good at it, but because you enjoy doing it.
4. Desire is essential.
Try to be honest and forgiving with yourself about your dreams. Dreams are important. They give purpose to each failed attempt, and they help guide us. Don't get discouraged by how long it will take be who you truly want to be, because time will pass either way. If you don't honestly want it you won't excel.
5. Fear is paralyzing.
As in, incapable of movement. Motionless. Stuck. My biggest struggle as an entrepreneur and as a person is fear. Though it still has a stronghold some days, I fight it. The only way to deal with fear is head on. Stare it down. Study it. Understand it. And find a way to overcome it. Get out of your own way and you will get there faster.
6. Passion is fuel.
Bukowski wrote "Find what you love and let it kill you." Hemingway confessed, "writing is easy, you just sit at a typewriter and bleed." Being true to your passions can feel like torture. But when you feel a sick pleasure from enduring it; that is passion. Passion is a curiosity about life that never ceases. So stay passionate; however jaded you may be. It will fuel your success.
7. There is no such thing as being ahead of the curve.
Jokes on you, it's a circle. Just one never ending curve. So stop trying to win. Hell, stop comparing yourself. Most of all, stop trying to solve your problems with somebody else's solutions. The answers are within. Others should inspire you but not lead you. Be mindful the people that surround you. Work hard and be nice to people and you will carve your own path.
8. Your body is a machine. Your mind is the control panel.
The power of the mind is infinite. The mind is a muscle. It's ability to concentrate and create depends on your ability to real it in. The old cliché you can do anything if you put your mind to it is false, but if you focus your energy on one thing you may be surprised what eventuates. The trick is to focus your thoughts on your honest desires, and not just that shiny thing over there.
9. Failing is necessary to success.
In fact, I believe it is what you learn from your failures that dictate your success. Failing is cathartic, it purges you of your emotions and forces you to renew. It is this painful growth that leads to success. If with every struggle you gather your strengths and try again. Failure is the only pre-cursor to success. So learn from your mishaps and get over it.
10. Dreams don't come cheap.
Dreams do come true. But they don't come gift wrapped. Like most people, I never dreamt of working for myself. I have the desire to sleep in on weekdays, of unlimited vacation, and of never having to waste time or punch a clock again. I often thought about how cool it would be to get paid to make decisions and write. Being my own boss turned out to be all those things. It's not easy, but I can sacrifice a whole lot to live my dream.