“Truly I think it is better to fail at something you love than to succeed at something you hate.” George Burns
Well I’m making the leap!
Changing my job and life to live an even happier and more meaningful one.
It’s scary as hell to not have a model of what that looks like yet but it begins with following the truth in my heart and my intuition.
I’ve given in my notice. Just 1 month left until, well to be quite honest I have no idea what will follow. Only that it’s the right time for me to look deep within and embrace the fear, and do my best to transform it into excited energy that will fuel my unknown future.
I know I’m not the only one feeling this way as I am surrounded by passionate people creating cooperatives, social enterprises and independent businesses. Why are so many, like me, taking the plunge? Willing to risk the security of a stable job and life for the unknown?
My observations so far have led me to identify the following reasons. (I’d love to hear yours if you have any to add)
Surely life is about the journey?
I sense a deep amount of dissatisfaction in people in respect to their lives and jobs. Most of us are focused on building an awesome career, getting bigger houses and nicer cars. But it feels like it’s a never ending process and more often than not, quite unfulfilling.
We are as a culture focused on living for this awesome happy future, but when we get there we have no idea we are there or how to appreciate it fully as we already put our focus on to the next goal.
This troubles me so much as we only get one moment, one continuous now. I feel (having tried it both ways) the focus should be learning how to live in the now and appreciate what we have. Of course we should all have goals and projects for the future, but living in the now gives us the energy to achieve those desired outcomes.
I analyse things quite a bit and have noticed another aspect I think contributes to the above. The jobs most of us do now are so disconnected from what our bodies and minds have evolved to do it’s causing us real issues.
There is no real or direct connection between what we do every day and our survival.
Our biology and psychology is programmed to help us survive, it makes us feel good when we are behaving beneficially and ensuring our survival in certain conditions. In fact a variety of conditions, not the same thing day in day out as most people do in their jobs. I think that’s why so many of us love getting outdoors, or going to the gym, doing parachute jumps, well maybe that’s just me. But it makes us feel truly alive to be in the elements and facing risk, overcoming challenges and winning. Using our bodies and minds for their intended purpose. Word or Excel just doesn’t seem to give us that kind of pay-off.
I’ve come to the realisation that if I want my time on this planet to count I owe it to myself to do what I am good at and what I believe in.
There really isn’t a good reason why I shouldn’t. Most of us are lucky enough to not to have to fear survival in the UK with such a developed society. For a lot of us its more likely that we fear the disappoint of a dream attempted but not realised, but as the quote that I mentioned earlier goes….
“Truly I think it is better to fail at something you love than to succeed at something you hate.”
Go Mr Burns, I think you nailed it!
Not that I’ve never hated any of my jobs, in fact I’ve loved them all, especially the people I’ve been lucky enough to work with. But I’ve definitely realised my values are strong and often quite different from what I can achieve in most businesses. I like to do the right thing, treat people well, be honest, open and vulnerable in every area of my life, and make long lasting and genuine bonds with people. It’s hard work to care about so much and many, but please believe me when I say it’s well worth it!
So as I think you can tell, I’ve made a somewhat scary decision. To give up my great job and a career path with lovely people to pursue what I believe will bring me happiness.
In comparison to the challenge I now face in my head, that was the easy bit. The next challenge is to work out where to start. Unfortunately there’s no manual for this kind of personal quest but I’m hoping sharing my story will connect me with others who have, or are in the process of, changing their lives for the better.
Some of the biggest barriers I am encountering are comes from within. The feelings of confusion and trepidation seem to be paralysing me into action.
Where do I start?
What do I do?
How do I do it?
Yet when I tell people about what I want to do and my dreams for the future I’m met with a wholly positive response. Things like “go for it” “why not?!” ”be happy” and just last night “this time next year you’ll be a millionaire!” I think that may have been a quote from only fools and horses though.
So what’s the big dream I am sharing with people? Well actually I have three…
- Happiness Documentary Series — Make a entertaining, scientifically merited (hey I am a scientist) and ‘real’ documentary discovering what aspects of culture, philosophies and behaviours makes for a truly a meaningful and fulfilling life in the 21st century. We live in an increasingly mentally unhealthy world, so I am interested (and therefore think others will be too) in what are the real ways, real people, are tackling their problems successfully.
How do different cultures and economic backgrounds live their lives in positive and healthy ways to make the most of their lives? Then exploring what does science and spirituality say on the and how can we bring this all together in a practical application and disseminate this learning in a way that will catalyse a change in our communities towards supporting each other to live the best lives possible.
- School of Life style Social Enterprise — Carefully crafted experiences designed to help people explore their inner workings and influences to enable people to make better decisions, feel supported and shift perspectives towards feeling empowered to lead happier more meaningful lives. The subjects will span philosophy to spirituality, evolutionary biology to psychology and tackle the everyday ways to improve your life like how to have fun.
I want to provide these bespoke experiences at an open price or via trade model to the public and the money generated from these will fund the charitable arm. To make the experiences to available to charities and at risk groups like the homeless and unemployed who may hugely benefit from this kind of support and self exploration. I’d also love to throw a happiness and self discovery festival for everyone to share and explore passions and life skills and promoting community, sharing and collaboration.
- Wilderness retreat — This is a long-term dream of mine is to run a cafe with a farm and well being centre with a retreat near the countryside open to all no matter their financial level to come and stay in return for working shifts in a beautiful eco-friendly environment. Why I think this is needed is that when people reach points in their life where they need help, love support and understanding there’s not many places to turn. I want to create a space a freedom for people to connect with themselves and escape social pressures of their jobs and lives as they currently stand. Once there they are provided with the tools and the community to help get on to a path that will give them more of the satisfaction they seek.
This project will never be about making money but promoting being nice just because we can, loving because we can and helping because it feels great. According to a habits of happiness TedTalk by biochemist turned Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard, helping others and being part of something bigger than ourselves makes us happier for much longer. In this world where we are shown so much negative there has to be a yin to that yang :) I hope this retreat would provide that balance.
My next step is to either get part-time consultancy work or a part-time role working within my local community helping independent businesses, charities or social enterprises. This will enable me to work in a way I agree with and allow me time to further develop my dreams and hopefully find others who share in them to help make things happen together.
I plan to blog about what I feel will be a quite interesting journey into the world of living by your values and being a non-conformist.
Wish me luck!
Flash (Laura ;))
P.S. Have you got any dreams you can share, any thoughts or ideas that may help me or others in a similar position? I’m seeking advice and guidance, connections and inspirations from the wise people around me. Tweet, comment, share or DM me if you have anything at all to say I’d love hearing your opinions.
TL;DR — You have one life! Go live it in your own way with it no regrets. Be happy and make the most of your now.