A Lot Can Happen in a Year | My One Year Reflection
One year ago, I left my previous job with no grand plan and no idea what was next. Though I know we all have different circumstances, fortunately I had the ability to take a step back and re-evaluate. When I finally came to terms with the fact that being unhappy in my career was a choice, my whole perspective shifted. As with any life-altering, risky decision, I was filled with the fear of uncertainty and experienced a whirlwind of emotions, but not once did I question my capabilities.
I’ve sat down to write this more times than I can count and it finally feels right to share. Here goes!
I recognize that not everyone can up and leave their job in pursuit of something they feel more aligned with, however, I planned for this (I'm type A after all!), am doing some freelance work to help pay those bills (real life!), and am at a stage in life where I can make it work before any other big life changes in the future.
Let's first say that taking the unconventional path scared and continues to scare the heck out of me but it's also exhilarating. I get to prove to myself each day that the best things come from stepping way outside my comfort zone. No one can do this for me and that's empowering. I've always loved a good challenge and I've also always believed that everything works out how and when it's supposed to.
Where was I one year ago? Long story short - burnt out, professionally unhappy and unfulfilled, exhausted, confused… depressed. I hadn’t been happy in my job for a long time and it had finally caught up with me as It infiltrated into my personal life and affected my health. I didn’t feel like myself for longer than I’m pleased to admit. I drew the line there, realized that no amount of money, recognition, or success in that role would be enough, and made the decision to close that one very hard door in order to make space for new ones to open.
I’ve learned that you can only do something not meant for you for so long. At one point or another, and probably when you least expect it, you’ll realize you’ve forced yourself into a position where it’s time to peel back the layers and figure it out.
Starting a business had been my dream for as long as a can remember but I know now that until you stop finding justifications and excuses, it won’t happen. I grew up in an environment where my parents worked for themselves and I knew I wanted that one day too. I’ve always been entrepreneurial – my best friend of 20 years can back me up here. I used to orchestrate little business ideas for us like making greeting cards and baked goods and selling them around her neighborhood in elementary school.
I’ve always identified as artistic, something I hadn’t tapped into in years, and I’ve always loved creating; whether that was coercing the employees of my family’s restaurant into coloring with me on the back of placemats, taking after school art classes, constructing dollhouses out of cardboard and fabric remnants, cutting my Barbies' hair and dressing up paper dolls, decorating book covers for school (anyone remember when that was a thing?!), watching HGTV for fun as a child, asking my parents to buy me a massive book of floor plans at Home Depot because drawing houses was fun for me… you get the idea.
For my entire life, I saw myself in a career that melded business with fashion (you can read more about that here) and after leaving my job realized I’d regret not trying to start a business doing something I enjoy.
It took space, hard work and lots of introspection for me to get reacquainted with what it is that I truly want from my career. It's not just money for me; it's getting to wake up each day and face a new challenge, be in charge of my future, do what I love - and on my own terms.
In running your own business, the fear and stresses don’t go away but the unfulfillment does. After leaving my old job, I spent four months getting back to feeling like myself again. I let curiosity lead the way because if I was given this opportunity to start fresh, I wanted to do it justice and not opportunities pass me by.
After the idea for Maragold came to me at 3 AM one morning of last December, I woke up and just started (it’s true – you just need to start) and I haven’t looked back since. It’s been a hard year but a good one… a really good one. I don’t regret the path I’ve taken because the composite knowledge that I’ve gained personally and professionally has landed me here – where I feel like I’m meant to be right now. I feel more like myself than I ever have.