5 Important Lessons I learned From Quitting My High Paying Job To Pursue My Dreams
You’re finally an adult and you’ve entered the real world. You’ve joined the 9–5 life and it’s exciting at first, but you give it a few years and it starts to feel redundant.
There’s an itch inside telling you there’s got to be more to life than this. The stability and security is nice, but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
It’s not fulfilling you.
You don’t feel like you’re living anymore, you just feel like you’re just existing.
You start to think over and over again in your head how you’d love to get out of this job one day, but the problem is it isn’t easy to give up everything you’ve worked for just to start from scratch again.
The fear begins talking to you.
“What if I go broke?”
“How am I going to pay for my bills if I quit?”
“How am I going to make money?”
You start talking yourself out of it. Maybe it’s just easier to stay in the job you have and suck it up.
The reality of this is true. It is easier to stay in what’s comfortable, well, because it’s comfortable.
If this is you, I’ve been in the same boat.
The American Dream Failed Me. Growing up, I was told if you work hard, get into a good school, and get a good job with good benefits, you’d be all set. You’d have everything you ever wanted.
I landed a good job as a pharmacist and was making a six figure salary, but I was still unhappy. In fact, I was depressed.
It’s common for most people in the workforce to be unhappy with their jobs. A Gallup study showed over 50% of people in the American workforce reported being disengaged with their jobs.
There is also something severely wrong when one of the most richest countries in the world has antidepressants as one of the top prescribed drugs.
We have so much, but our mental health is deteriorating. Many people are dying on the inside because they are not engaged enough with the things that matters deeply to them.
So one night, I looked over at my wife before going to bed, and asked her “What do you think about going on a cross-country road trip for two months and move to LA so I can try pursuing filmmaking?”
And that was the beginning of a crazy journey.
When I finally mustered up the courage to quit my job, it was a committment to be more engaged and in tune with myself. I wanted to take my heart much more seriously. It was one of the most life changing experiences I’ve had in my life and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
I know we aren’t in the same situation. Maybe you’re not in the best place to transition yet and need to get some things in line first. Or maybe you just have no idea where to start.
But when you decide to commit to yourself and do something about it, you’d be amazed at what happens as a result.
Here are some of the really important lessons I’ve learned from taking action to live out a life that reflected my beliefs.
1) Expect Great Failures, but also expect Great Growth
After a year of committing to filmmaking full time and living off of my savings, I had to go back to my day job in order to get back on my feet financially.
A part of me was disappointed because I viewed the fact I wasn’t making enough money as a failure. But if I look at some of the work I did, they were invaluable experiences.
- I directed and wrote a piece about social media addiction that got chosen and awarded best short film at a film festival in London.
- I edited a short film about true love that garnered over 23 million views on YouTube.
- I was a producer and assistant director for a project with the first Asian American NBA player, Jeremy Lin.
- I worked on an interview piece that went viral and ended up on talks shows such as the Queen Latifah show and the Meredith Viera show.
- I wrote a short film about love and time travel, which featured a celebrity and generated millions of views.
The most important thing that happened was realizing that I was so much more capable than I thought. And I never would’ve known otherwise unless I took action and moved towards where I wanted to go.
2) Take The Time To Prepare, but Become Comfortable With the Uncomfortable
The world of filmmaking was a good lesson to always prepare as best as possible and when things go wrong (not if, when), you need to think fast on your feet and roll with the punches.
We’ve had times we forgot to bring the important props, forgot to send out an important email or our location was no longer available to shoot at. We almost always had to shift our shooting schedule on the fly.
The same applies to life. Things usually never go exactly as planned. Interruptions will always occur, its a matter of how we deal with the challenges that make all the difference
3) Brace Yourself For a Big Learning Curve
After working the same job for three years, I become a pretty good pharmacist. After leaving that job behind to pursue work I’ve never done before, it made me realize how much I didn’t know.
I often felt slow for not being as knowledgable as the other talented people I worked with and there was a ton of information I was trying to digest all at once.
It was painstakingly hard, but I gained so much more experience and knowledge than I ever did in the three years prior working at a routine job. There’s something about putting yourself out of your comfort zones into new environments that stimulates your brain and greatly increases the amount of things you learn.
4) Difficult People Will Always be There so Start Improving Your Own Relational Skills
Have you ever had people that are always difficult to work with at your job? Bad news. The same kind of person will always be there no matter what job you end up at.
The reality of this taught me the solution isn’t to always avoid difficult people. The solution is to improve your own relational skills so you learn how to effectively work with them.
One simple thing I often did to do this was to just first learn the persons story to learn why they were the way they were.
For example, I had a coworker who was very demanding and difficult to work with, but once I learned a little more about her story, I realized she was a mother whose daughter meant everything to her. Seeing this human side of her made me less defensive and more willing to try and be proactive about working well with her and communicating openly about my concerns.
5) Be Open to Pivoting Your Plan
When you take action to pursue your dreams, one thing you will find happening is your dreams begin to develop further and you gain even more clarity as a result.
I thought I wanted to become a successful filmmaker, but after i did achieve a few wins, I realized it wasn’t the filmmaking process I was passionate about. I was more in love with stories themselves.
Every amazing story has a main character who goes through many challenges and usually undergoes a great transformation in the end. What I’m passionate about is figuring out how to help make this kind of transformation occur in real life both for myself as well as others.
This is where I realized what I really wanted to do was become a coach and thought leader that serves as a catalyst for potential and talent activation of others.
Don’t Use Not Knowing What to do as an Excuse to do Nothing at All
Everyone wants to live a life that matters. There is a story specifically meant for you to live. When you are not living it, there is a part of your soul that will feel the pain from having that gap of who you are and who you are meant to be.
The biggest regret people on their death bed was “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
When you commit to discovering and utilizing your talents, your life begins to mean something to you.
I’m not advocating for being irresponsible, but I am advocating for taking our talents and strengths more seriously. I know for a fact this world needs it.
I am absolutely certain inside each and every person, there is something amazing which must come into light and be shared with others. The hard part is all the talent and creativity that resides in us can only be found when we take the time and effort to start looking for it.
It will be hard, but don’t you think it would be worth it to one day look back at your life and know you’ve lived it?
If you are looking to make a transition in your own life, then you might enjoy my free guide, Four Steps to Instantly Jumpstart Your Best Life Ever to find the clarity and steps you need to live out your calling.