If we waited until we were ready, we’d be waiting for the rest of our lives.
I’m starting my third career today, which is super duper exciting.
I was an attorney for 4 years, and a financial planner for 3 years.
Now, I’m a full time blogger / entrepreneur / founder / online biz owner / coach / I-dont-know-what-to-call-it.
Instead of the traditional “I quit my job to be happy” blog post, I wanted to do something different.
Because the truth is, I didn’t quit my job to be happy. I was very happy. Despite being happy, I knew it was time to complete a chapter (read the decision-making section below on how I knew). It was a tough decision. But it was the right one.
So, in this post, I’m sharing what each day was like leading up to quitting my job during the 7 days before I gave notice.
The point of doing this is so you know I’m not special or different in any way than anyone reading this who wants the same things. I get sooooo many questions from people about how to blog and monetize a blog, and I tell them exactly how to (I usually recommend doing everything in the Pro Blogger Bundle), but for some reason they don’t take action. And that some reason is usually fear and doubt (a mindset problem – not a tactic problem). So, that’s what I want to talk about in this post.
- Side note, if you want to start a blog, check out my Online Business Page with all my posts about how to start, grow, and monetize your blog.
So, here’s a look back at what was going through my head 7 days leading up to quitting my job…
Day 7 – Wednesday
Today, I realized it was 1 week until I planned on giving notice. I had made the decision to quit during my trip to California the week before (because all great decisions are made when you’re in California… (!!!)).
My thoughts today were that it doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen. It seems far away.
I put off thinking too hard about it most of the day.
I had a few random thoughts about it there were “WTF am I doing?!”
It felt surreal and impossible.
I felt very afraid when I did think about it, so I avoided it.
Day 6 – became day 5! – Thursday
Because of the availability of my bosses, I moved up the date to do it when they were both in the office.
I told family and close friends today. My family was super duper supportive and amazingly excited about it. This gave me so much great energy.
Some friends were realllly excited and supportive. This was so awesome and a huge confidence boost.
I was a little surprised that a couple friends weren’t that supportive. Looking back, this isn’t surprising – everyone reacts based on their own thoughts and feelings, which really have nothing to do with me. So, I didn’t take it personally.
When I thought about actually quitting, I felt very weird, uncomfortable, and scared.
One thought running through my head was “how the eff am I going to make money?!”
Day 4 – Friday
Since it was a Friday, I was in a good mood and excited for the weekend. I was also really busy, so I didn’t have much time to think about quitting.
I launched a product today – Dream Year (my goal-setting workbook). I realized I wanted to create an editable PDF of the eBook, so I was busy emailing with my editor on UpWork and consumed with launch day before work, during lunch, and after work.
I also went out Friday night to catch up with a friend, so this was a great way to wind down for the week.
Not too much fear today. I was distracted.
Day 3 – Saturday
On Saturday, I started the day recording a new YouTube video, which took several hours with all the shooting and editing (and pounds of makeup I put on for shooting!).
By the time I was done I headed straight to my first blog photoshoot. It was a blast, and admittedly super indulgent. You don’t need a professional photoshoot for a blog, but I wanted to have one anyways.
I told my photographer that I was quitting, so it felt very real. It was super cool to say it out loud to someone who didn’t know me.
When I got home, I looked around and realized my apartment needed to be cleaned, my car was a disaster and the gas tank was empty, and I had no food at home!
I had a wild Saturday night at the grocery store and getting gas.
I didn’t really think much about quitting today, either.
I had moments where the thought popped in my head (particularly at night), but I decided to let the thoughts go. I knew I made the decision already so there was no point in feeling anxious or scared right now. It would be a waste of energy.
Day 2 – Sunday
I went to Starbucks and blogged for 8 hours straight (from 7am-3pm). This was daylight savings weekend, so I was a little more tired than normal (it felt like 6am on a Sunday, which is early – even for me!)
When I was done, I went home, cleaned up, and ate (finally!).
At 4pm the anxiety overcame me.
This was the worst I felt about quitting my job to date.
It was awful.
The thoughts racing in my head were:
- What the hell am I thinking?
- This is insane.
- I can’t do this.
- I don’t make enough money.
- I’m terrified. I’m so scared.
- I don’t want to do this.
- I like my job.
- I don’t want to do this.
I spent most of the evening taking deep breaths and practicing feeling the anxiety and fear instead of avoiding, resisting, or reacting to it. It didn’t really work that well, but at least I was trying. LOL.
I had really deep thoughts about how short life is, too. I thought about moving out of my apartment, which I’m doing in a month. I thought about how everywhere we ever live is temporary (thinking about my grandma who just moved into assisted living after 30+ years in her home). I got reallllll deep with #lifeisshort thoughts.
I reminded myself of all the coaching work I’ve done recently. That the fear is coming from my primitive brain (the cerebellum), and that I’ve thought this through many times without the fear and made the decision from my prefrontal cortex. So, while my brain is trying to protect me, I knew I didn’t need protected from my goals or my future, and it didn’t mean don’t do it.
This worked until I went to bed at 9pm and tossed and turned for THREE HOURS. It was so bad. I normally fall right asleep, so I was super frustrated by not being able to turn my mind off.
This was the worst night.
Day 1 – Monday
Monday morning was rough since I hadn’t slept much the night before.
Work was so weird. I swear it felt like everyone knew. I felt like an impostor. I was even asked about a blogging eBook during a team lunch, which never happens – I always keep blogging and work separate.
Most of the day consisted about thinking about quitting, but being at work helped some by keeping busy.
Monday night I met with my former coworker who just launched his own biz, Launch Pad Planning. He helped me with healthcare questions I had, and I helped him with biz stuff. It was really helpful because I was able to get out of my own head.
Until I got home!
Queue more anxiety. All night!
Longest hours of my life.
Then, when I woke up, the anxiety left and it turned into straight adrenaline – like the kind you get right before you perform. The fear was gone. It felt like go-time.
It was as good as done.
Day 0 – D Day
It was quittin’ time.
I told my bosses first thing in the morning when they got to work. They were amazing. So receptive and supportive.
I immediately felt relief.
What was I so afraid of?!
It was slightly emotional because I’ve never left somewhere from a place of being happy before. I highly recommend this. One of the best things I’ve learned is to leave when you’re happy. Otherwise, you’re expecting happiness somewhere else and won’t find it.
I felt amazing. The fear was gone.
That night was a little weird. But good weird. It felt surreal.
When I told other people, there were mixed responses that were completely predictable by the type of person.
The type-A career job-holders had responses like:
- So, I assume you have your finances in order?
- Are you okay?
- How much money do you have saved?
The entrepreneurs had responses like:
- Finally! I’m honestly surprised it took you this long!
- I am soooo excited for you. Welcome to the other side!
The people who love me had responses like:
- You are going to CRUSH it! I’m so happy for you!
I think my dear, sweet grandma believes I’m joining a cult. She has repeatedly asked me to confirm I’m renewing my legal license.
And on that note, I am keeping my legal license inactive and I will keep my CFP certification active as well.
One important thing I was reminded this is that not everyone is going to respond the way you hope they would. And that has nothing to do with you.
Why Do I Keep Quitting?
People are usually shocked I keep quitting careers (I quit my job as an attorney 3 years ago).
I laugh a little when I hear this.
I’m not much of a risk taker or spontaneous at all, which may not be obvious based on my apparent career hopping.
It’s not that I’m a risk taker or indecisive – it’s quite the opposite. I do a ton of deep thinking and life planning. I have a weird acute sense of my own mortality. So, I really don’t think of it as bold. I think it’s bolder to stay in a career for 20+ years you don’t like. It’s actually insane to me.
I also never have left not knowing where I want to go. There’s a big difference between “freedom from” and “freedom to” as Dan Sullivan would say. I’ve always known exactly what the freedom to is for me before leaving. This is key.
My why is not defined by the job I’m doing – it’s defined by who I am and how I want to serve the world.
I can do this (and have done this) through many different forms – first lawyer, then financial planner, and now blogger/entrepreneur.
My why is now teaching other people howto create their dream life. I want to help people with personal development, money, and online business.
I’m living my purpose and the way I do that is going to evolve and change over time – blogging, speaking, writing, etc.
Happiness & Success
I’m really clear that I don’t think I’ll be happier on the other side of some goal.
I focus on happiness right now – in this moment.
I pursue success from a place of happiness and it’s incredible – I’m not overwhelmed or stressed.
I was happy at my job. But my purpose no longer aligned with me staying in it. It was time to move on.
- Here’s more on Happiness vs Success
A word about anxiety while you’re reading my diary. 🙂
I don’t actually have a chemical imbalance, or anxiety, for the record. So, when I talk about “feeling the fear” and “feeling anxious” I’m talking about the normal, day-to-day feelings that come when your brain goes into fight or flight mode. I’m certainly not addressing a chemical imbalance in this post!
The anxiety I’m talking about is just an uncomfortable emotion. The way to make it better is to relax into it (experience it). The worse thing to do is increase the anxiety by resisting, avoiding, or reacting.
Survival anxiety over quitting my job is really just my brain trying to protect me. Historically, anxiety meant danger. It protected us as humans. But now, I don’t need protected from modern day things like my bosses or from quitting my job, but my brain hasn’t evolved yet to chill the eff out and know the difference between being attacked and switching careers.
Knowing this (and I’ve learned a ton about it!) helped me understand I didn’t need to change my decision. I made my decision from my prefrontal cortex, from a calm state, and knew it was the right one. The fear and anxiousness that came when I took action did not mean I needed to change the decision. It meant I needed to feel the feeling and take action in line with my choice.
Decision-making as a skill set
I think at the heart of all this quitting is the skill set of decision-making.
And yes, I mean skill set. I wasn’t born this way. I have practiced – over and over – the art of decision making and following through on my decisions in spite of fear.
I’ve gotten better and better over time.
It doesn’t come naturally to me. I’m terrified. This is why the response from most entrepreneurs is “what took you so long?!”
You see, I’m not naturally a risk-taking entrepreneur. I never was. I was always going to go to school, get a good job as an attorney, be wealthy, be happy, (you get the idea!).
Entrepreneurship is not in my blood.
But I learned it and now I’m obsessed.
Personal development and learning how to manage my emotional health has made it possible for me to take action that I never would’ve thought possible a few years ago.
So, if you’re thinking about doing something or scared to move forward, here are my best decision-making tips…
- Know that decision making is a skill – not some God-given talent that people magically have. You can practice it and get better at it.
- For big decisions, give yourself a deadline. Decision-making isn’t a “process” – it’s something that happens in an instant. It’s a myth that you need to hem and haw over things. If you really want to test this out, put your brain to work on making a decision and practice making it by the deadline you give yourself. Over time, this will get easier and you’ll get faster at it.
- When trying to make a decision, ask yourself these questions:
- What is the best case scenario in both of your decisions?
- What is the worst case scenario in both of your decisions?
- What would you want to decide if it was 10 years from now and you were looking back?
- What if failing didn’t matter – would you do it?
- What if you reframe failure so that it doesn’t exist and that you’re either winning or learning?
- Ask your future self what to do!
- If you were 100 years old, reflecting back on your life, what would you have wanted your current decision to be?
- Once you make the decision, your next task is practicing following through in spite of the fear. The decision-making you’re doing is from your prefrontal cortex. You’ve done all the work to get yourself to make this decision, so once you do, do NOT change it. It’s done. It’s final. All the fear that comes after that is just your primitive brain trying to protect you (it’s the fight or flight response). That’s because your brain likes habits and efficiency. It is trying to protect you and keep you alive. But you don’t need protected from your goals. Trust yourself and the decision you made and follow through despite the fear.
If your decision is moving you toward who you want to be – do it. Discomfort is good when you’re pursuing your dreams.
How I made my decision
So, how did I decide?
Well, I didn’t plan on having to make the decision for a year or two from now.
I thought I would blog and work full time for a while. I wanted to do both.
Then, I went to California.
I was on vacation with friends, and I also went to Traffic & Conversion Summit. I talked to a loooooot of successful business owners, most of them were not bloggers.
It became clear – immediately – that I needed to quit my job and probably leave Ohio.
There is a huge lesson here. You have to get out of your business and get around other like-minded people. That is where the magic happens.
It’s hard to explain how the shift happened, but it was certainly from being around other people doing what I wanted to be doing long-term. Seeing their success and talking about strategies and long-term plans was so energizing.
This moved up any decision I had planned to make by years.
Talk about decision overload! I had no idea how to do it. But I knew I had to. And it wasn’t about money. It was about life. It was about creating something and delivering it to the world to serve the people I wanted to. A full time job in Ohio no longer fit that model.
So, I took my own advice that I talk about in Dream Year and put my brain to work.
I asked my brain supportive questions at night and in the morning until the decision came to me. If you’re not familiar with this, it’s super powerful.
Want a solution that supports your decision? Ask your brain supportive questions. For example, I asked myself “how can I quit my job?” and “how can I move out of Ohio?” and “where should I move?” and “how can I make this happen for me?”
Your brain is like a computer. It wants to find the answers to the questions you ask it. It will go to work on finding the answers to any question you ask it. I like to ask the questions to myself at night before bed a few nights in a row and wait for the answer to come to me. It really works. (For the best results, I suggest just sticking to one question at a time and ask it to yourself before bed for several days in a row until the answer comes to you.)
So, while in CA, I popped out of bed one morning at 6am and the decision was made. I was quitting and moving.
Experts say decisions are made in an instant, and it’s 100% true.
Like Brooke Castillo says, “give yourself the gift of making the decision.”
I finally did that. It was done.
I proactively started taking action while in California so that that resistance was lessened once I was back in Ohio. I knew getting back in my most familiar environment would make it less likely for me to make the moves I needed to in order to make it happen.
I figured out as much as I could right away so that I built momentum.
Little by little I chipped away at this big, impossible life change.
And it was oh, so worth it.
So, how do you know when it’s time to quit your job and blog full time? You just know. You decide and you know because you commit. My job was getting in the way of my blog. That’s how I knew. I knew I had so much to deliver to the world, and I needed to spend all my time and energy doing it. I had a plan for monetizing. I knew deep down it was time because I decided it to be that way. I trust myself to make money. I know I will be fine.
Plus, the worst that can happen isn’t failing — the worst that can happen is not going for it. If I failed, I would just get another job, which is what staying it my current job would’ve been. It was failing ahead of time.
I knew I needed to go for it. So, I did.
THE END. 🙂
P.s. If you want to start a blog or learn more about blogging, here are my best free tools for that sort of thing…
- Blogging Quick Start Guide – my blogging eBook.
- 5 Day Blogging Bootcamp – my 5 day blogging ecourse.
- How I Made $45K Blogging In 1 Year While Working Full Time Free eBook – my eBook on how I made $45k blogging in 1 year while working full time.
- 2018 Blogging Trends eBook – an eBook about today’s top blogging trends.
P.p.s. This post addresses the mindset and commitment I made. As far as the practical actions I took to get my income up to the level it needed to be to quit, the biggest influence has been the Pro Blogger Bundle, which is four blogging courses in one bundle for growing and monetizing a blog. If you want to learn more, contact me and I’m happy to answer any questions.
You can find all of my posts about blogging on my Blogging Page.