In 2019, I read a magnificent book by Marie Forleo. I had never heard of Marie before and I only stumbled upon her book because she was on an interview with Gary Vee. She had just launched her latest book, Everything is Figureoutable, and I knew I had to read it. At the beginning of the book, she shares her life story about how she became a life coach. She had a couple of successful jobs, but things just did not feel right for her. Job after job, she felt a void, a feeling that she did not belong in that job. So, like any wise person would do, she quit her job and started chasing after her dreams.
I remember reading that section of the book and thinking to myself, I could never do that. I have way too many responsibilities and my family depends on me making money. It was a nice gesture, but not something I had the courage to do. It would take me two years before I finally gained to courage to go chase after my dreams. And, since it took me so long to find this courage, I wanted to share my tips and lessons learned to maybe help you get after your dreams. Quitting your job is hard, especially during a pandemic. Giving up a steady paycheck and insurance, and other benefits is a very tough thing to do. But, if you are miserable and hating the decisions you make in life, shouldn’t you do something to change it?
Just Do It.
Nike’s slogan isn’t applicable just to athletes. Literally, the best tip I can provide you is to just do it. I sat on my decision to become an entrepreneur for years. My earliest memory is in 2011 when I created a website for my senior project. We were building the first fleet of autonomous hexacopters to help with rescue missions. But, because you are supposed to get a job after college and not create one, our team dismantled and focused on graduating after we submitted our report and product demo. I wish my professors would have pushed me harder to bring that product to market. 10 years later, I finally just did it. Quitting your job is really not that hard. Some get fired without a plan. Others quit without a plan. My recommendation is, when you get ready to quit your job, have a plan. It is very easy to just around the house and not do anything all day. It is easy to sit in front of a computer and you tell yourself that you are going to write that book. So just do it. Quit your job and have a plan for how you will support yourself. It is much easier to chase after your dreams before you have a mortgage, children, and a spouse. But, I was able to quit my job even with all those major responsibilities.
Quitting your job isn’t going to yield good results. No one is going to come looking for you and new opportunities are not going to magically appear. You need to develop a plan of attack. Fortunately, the entire world is digital now and almost any work can be performed with a computer. Remember, everything is figureoutable and you too can develop a solid plan to make money without having to go to a traditional job. If you Google passive income or how to make money online, you are going to be presented with a plethora of options. I personally did not like many of the options out there, but if you have a willingness to work, you can find something out there. I took a slightly different approach. Since I have an engineering background, I felt that I could start my own software business. Most of the time, folks trying to start a business need a lot of cash because they need to hire engineering talent. I am fortunate enough to have the engineering skills required to start up a software company. Whatever it is you want to do, just plan it out. Get a piece of paper and start writing some milestones. How much money do you need to survive? What are you trying to build? How much money do you have and how long will it last? Ask yourself the personal questions that are going to help you map out your future plan. It’s also probably a good idea to do this planning before you quit your job. This is not something you want to be figuring out the day after you quit. It is very easy to procrastinate on making a plan because it is challenging to create something for a bunch of unknowns.
Quitting your job is challenging. We spend so much of our lives comparing ourselves to others that the thought of quitting your job can sometimes be difficult to share with people. My tip to you is to embrace it! Show your vulnerability and be transparent with people. There is so much fake news out there. Share your story, your struggles, your wins and your losses. Share with the world what you are thinking. I’ve learned over the last few months that people really do want to help you succeed. I’ve invited complete strangers and friends into my journey. The support and motivation I get from everyone gives me that daily push to keep in going. If you cannot be vulnerable, you are going to have a hard time quitting your job. You need to own your demons and grab life by the horns. Quitting your job means you need to do things that are scary and maybe beyond your comfort zone. That’s okay, I’m here to tell you things get better and I encourage you to be vulnerable and pursue your passions.
Finally, my last tip is to not live your life with regrets. Every year, I had an opportunity to quit my job. Even to this day, not a day goes by without me thinking about what my life would be like if I just took another job. But that mentality has caused me to live with regrets for the last 10 years. I regret not holding on to my senior project and seeing where it could go. I regret not finishing my basement and building out a workshop that I had so many intentions to create. I regret staying in a job because it was the right thing to do. As you can see, I have a lot of regrets. Quitting my job is not one of them. Yes, it was scary and made me super uncomfortable. Yes, I had a lot of uncertainty. But, I do not regret it. I have a plan, I have a support group, and I am doing it. No regrets this time. If I fail, I will have at least given it a shot. I’ve missed so many shots because I was too scared. This pandemic has taught me to that you need to take every shot you get. Otherwise, others with more courage will take the shot. More likely than not, they wont miss. But if you do not take your shot, you are going to miss every opportunity.