Hi everyone! I have been writing this post over and over in my head many times and I realized that I would never actually get it published until I sat down at my computer and typed. Today’s post isn’t about fashion or beauty but rather a life update that I wanted to share with you.
The long story short is that I quit my full-time job back in February and have been navigating the life of a full-time blogger peppered in with freelance gigs here and there! So technically, you don’t have to keep reading. But if you do, I’ll tell you why I quit and why it was the best decision I have ever made for myself.
There is a lot of fear and risk in taking a leap of faith on yourself to become an entrepreneur. And sometimes even though you arrive at the destination you wanted, the journey to get there is really different than how you saw or planned it. So here is my journey on how I landed where I am today.
I had quite a year in 2017. I’m really proud of it. I traveled a lot, I went to my first fashion week, I got promoted, I was on the cover of a magazine, and the list goes on. I think you should always celebrate accomplishments and not feel guilty about them or think that something is too small to be celebrated. But I think you also need to know how to talk about things when they aren’t okay, and I don’t think a lot of people do that.
Now, if you’ve ever met me you know that for the most part, I’m a pretty happy-go-lucky, laid back person. I’m usually smiling. I like to spend time with friends and family. In September, this all kind of went downhill. I was in New York with my mom and we went to Serendipity for dessert. We were there for fashion week and it was the first break we got that week, let alone the first break I had gotten in a few months. I was reading the menu, and all of a sudden started crying. I didn’t know why, and I couldn’t even verbalize why I felt so terrible. But I did, and I knew that although I couldn’t put my finger on it, I knew something wasn’t right.
I chalked this up to jet lag and the fact that it was the first real time for me to relax in a while, so my body just reacted. But come November and early December I had become grouchy, negative, and pulled away from friends. I yelled at Matt on the regular. I didn’t want to go to dinner, or even get dressed on the weekends. I looked at photos of myself and as the year passed I could literally see myself getting more tired in them as time went on.
By December I was so confused at whatever it was I was feeling and I went to my doctor. She asked what was wrong and all I could manage to get out was that I just felt tired all the time. Then came the tears. Lots and lots of tears. She told me that it sounded like a very bad case of mental and physical exhaustion. She asked if I had taken any vacations. Although NYFW was a trip, it wasn’t a vacation. Somewhere between all my work, family, and blog trips, I forgot to take a trip for me. Clearly, I needed a break.
I was not sure where this mental or physical exhaustion would ultimately lead me, but I was lucky enough to be able to work from home through the year-end. Within days of being at home I felt infinitely better, almost like someone had come in and reset the circuit breaker inside my body.
I had a lot of alone time and embraced the opportunity to really do a mental check on my life and where I was. What brought me happiness? What made me the most happy? And why wasn’t I doing more of that? Like I said earlier, you may know what you want your destination to be but the journey you had planned to get there may be really different than what you expect. After a lot of thinking it became pretty clear to me that I simply just wanted to take a chance on myself, roll the dice, and see where I landed.
Truth be told, I think I knew a week into being home that I needed to quit my job and reboot. I had always trusted my gut in the past and things have always worked out for me, but for some reason I couldn’t quite take the leap on this one as easy as I had in the past. I have always marched to the beat of my own drum, but as we get older I think we also tend to get comfortable with things. It takes a lot more faith in ourselves to take risks. As adults, most of us have a tendency to overanalyze things. We are more sensible and responsible than our younger selves. I feel like I was a lot more daring as a young kid because I didn’t think about or care about the risk. I’d hop on my pogo stick and try to jump as high as possible, not even thinking twice about the fact that I could fall off and break something. I’d try to flip off of the bars of our swing set in my backyard to stick fake gymnastics landings.
I think everything happens for a reason. I think all of this was exactly what I needed to take the next step for myself. For whatever reason, I needed something bigger than gut instinct to take a leap of faith on myself this particular time. In a very weird way, this was the universe telling me now was as good as ever to pursue something new.
If you asked me a couple of years ago where I saw myself in 5 years, I’d tell you that I wanted to climb the corporate ladder and become this big marketing executive. But I think I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit in me. I have always had big ideas for myself sprinkled in over the years between my corporate jobs. I have always had side hustles or hobbies here and there to fuel me outside of my full-time jobs. I also always knew more or less that the entrepreneurial life was ultimately the one for me. You can have Matt validate this – I always said over the years that a desk job wasn’t for me, so I always found jobs that allowed me to be on set or in a creative environment where some of the time it didn’t feel like work.
People usually leave a job because they are going to another one. They are leaving a place for more money. They are moving. Women usually stop working because they have kids they want to tend to. This is how it’s supposed to work. I, however, wasn’t quitting for any of those. I was simply quitting to be a happier person, and to be a better friend and wife.
The word “quit” is typically associated with something negative, but quitting always isn’t a bad thing, particularly when what you’re quitting led you straight to the doctor’s office in tears with mental and physical exhaustion. Quitting my job was the best thing I have ever done for myself. The truth is, you can absolutely dive face first into the unknown to pursue your passion if that’s what makes the most sense for you. You just have to trust yourself and jump straight into whatever it is on that pogo stick.
Sometimes I felt embarrassed to say, “I quit my job to do something I love to become happy again,” because I didn’t want to come across as lazy, or entitled, or spoiled. But then I realized that as long as I was feeling better and good about myself, that it doesn’t really matter what people think. People will make their own assumptions; let them.
There is nothing wrong with having a career goal only to find years later that it changed. You can always change your path; it’s never too late. Your priorities can shift up and down throughout life. If something is affecting your health and you’re able to pinpoint what it is, stop it immediately. It doesn’t matter what it is. Mental health, above all, is the most important thing you have because it can really dictate how you are with yourself and others.
As someone who has always held a job in corporate America, I was terrified to not have steady income. But the feeling I get when I receive whatever amount of money I negotiate for myself is fulfilling me much more than any bi-weekly paycheck I’ve ever had. Money doesn’t buy happiness; so don’t ever stay at a job just because of a paycheck, particularly when said job starts to affect your mental wellness and overall health.
If you have a passion that you want to go after, just do it. Do whatever you need to do to start putting it into action, even if it’s baby steps. The time will never be right. It’s scary to take risks in life. People won’t always understand your decisions, but they don’t have to. Remember that at the end of the day this is your life, and you need to do what makes you happy.
If you feel like something is wrong, don’t be afraid to confront it. Don’t be afraid to talk about it with your friends, family, or even a doctor. There shouldn’t be anything taboo about mental wellness. If you don’t feel like yourself, trust your instincts, chances are you’re right. Nobody knows you better than you know yourself. There is nothing wrong with burnout. There is nothing wrong with realizing that something isn’t working for you, even if it works for others. As humans, we react to things differently. Don’t ever feel embarrassed of how you are feeling or try to minimize it by justifying it with other people’s reactions. You can’t control anything in life except your own happiness. Don’t not do something just because you haven’t figured out the entire plan yet. Don’t not do something because you’re worried about how other will perceive you.
Being a business owner is interesting and tricky and hard and empowering all at the same time. But it’s really, really cool.