Being fully satisfied within a career was always a journey for me, before I found the life we are currently living out. I can remember that even in the midst of 2006 that I was unhappy with the job I was in, but it would take another six years to finally leave. This time span felt like a never-ending roller coaster that wasn’t ever going to let me off.
By 2009, we were anxious for any type of change that could and would take place, because we were searching for more of something. This “something” couldn’t be figured out by either of us, but we both knew there had to be good momentum found in movement. Jasmine and I wanted more stability than what my job was offering us then. We wanted to plant roots in a place that we loved, and we didn’t want to waste our life sitting on the sidelines. We knew we had to do something about it, so we did.
Later that year, we moved to Colorado, the state we had dreamed about for years, in search for something new. We moved west with a plan of staying employed with the company I had been with over the years, only until I could find another career in Colorado. That didn’t seem like too far of a stretch, and we were highly optimistic, thinking that I would switch careers in a few weeks or months at the latest. In the meantime, we would also help plant a church in the Denver area along with some friends we came out with from Georgia. Life was exciting, new, and full of adventure.
Well, I ended up staying with that same company for nearly three more years, for a total of ten, before we would leave what was familiar to us. Remember how I said we moved out thinking that I would just find another career shortly after we moved out to Colorado? Well, things didn’t happen the way we planned. It’s funny how time has a way of getting away from you when you let it. At the beginning of 2012, it was finally time to leave my career of ten years with the same company.
The main factor that caused me to leave was that my marriage was falling apart. (You know, it’s funny what choosing to work every hour of the day will do to you and your family. It will create distance. Let my life teach you something. Don’t do it.) My marriage desperately needing my attention and the constant reminder of needing to explore a different career for the past six years were the two driving forces behind me making this much needed transition. Yes, this is me reflecting on this time in life only three years later, so not much time has passed. But, one of the most important lessons I have ever taken away is to be a quick learner of life, especially from those times that have so many valuable takeaways in them that you can’t help but take a step back and take notice. I am thankful to have learned many beautiful life lessons during this season that helped mold me into the person I am today, and they will never leave me.
The process of leaving my job was like nothing I had experienced before. I have to say that I felt like a fish out of water as I searched for what I would be doing next, because after doing something for ten years, it was the only thing I felt comfortable with and qualified to do. I felt trapped in a box of preexisting qualifications that I had bestowed upon myself, without expanding my future horizon. I was only able to see my skills as it applied to working for that company, rather than seeing my full potential within something entirely different.
I was seeing that I needed to go and gather up a bunch of new resources and abilities, and hopefully have something better to offer a future employer. Not that there is anything wrong with gaining new information and developing yourself further – I’m not saying that. What I am saying is that you already have tons of information and potential within you right now waiting to be released. At that time in life I felt inadequate, I was stuck in the past, and the future was still a bit blurry. I felt “stuck” and thought I needed to gain more in order to be an asset to others. But, when I understood that wanting something more was enough on its own, I began using the curiosity I already had and began creating a better path for the future.
Maybe right now in this moment, you find yourself in a season of transition, and maybe my journey reminds you of your own. The future is difficult to see right now, but it doesn’t have to be. When you have curiosity and pair it with movement, you have more control over what’s ahead than you may think.
Here are three ways to change your future for the better, starting right now with what you already have, in your current situation(s).
1. Treat any new season as a time of opportunity.
When I began moving and gave myself the opportunity to be curious, a whole new world of potential opened up. I didn’t even have to work for another company, if I didn’t want to. At first this was hard to understand, because I had been doing one thing for so long. I only knew the traditional work setting and that was comfortable for me. It took some time to understand that I actually could and would start my own businesses, even though it had never worked out before. Once I grasped onto the fact that I could create my own destiny, it gave me permission to do more with my life.
When you understand that the sky is the limit, it gives you freedom to make bigger and better choices to create a better journey for yourself.
Even if the season you are currently in seems like all you can do is just wait for the next thing to happen so you can start taking some steps forward, you can begin doing something where you are right now. Stop letting other people tell you that you need to wait, and instead begin looking at your life as an open opportunity, because that’s what it is. When you stop putting your life in a box, and instead give yourself more room to explore, bigger and better things will happen.
2. Know that just because you have dealt with situations poorly in the past, that doesn’t mean you have to do the same now or in the future. See your value and live it out.
As I reflect on this opportunity season of newness in life, I would approach it much differently, now. I would find what it is that made me valuable to the same company for ten years, and build on those things. I didn’t quickly see what I already had, but rather I saw all of my flaws and what I needed more of in order to become valuable.
When we don’t see our own value, we cannot offer value to others.
Instead of it taking time to see what valuables I already had in my possession, I would instead know them and own them right away, instead of wasting precious time. (But, know that life is a journey for a reason. It is the road that teaches us things like this.) Value is important, because you need to see it in your own life, and you need to live a life that gives value away to others through your relationships. Go and live out your value, and see the difference it makes.
3. Don’t ever forget how much of a role that other people play in your life.
We remember all of the people that rallied around us during that time of transition and helped us move forward, better equipped for what the future would bring us. We are eternally grateful for our friends who helped us and mentored us through that season. We came out of that time with a new understanding on what it means to help people and changed our complete worldview from the entire process.
It was other people who rallied alongside of us that helped us see what a difference we could make in the lives of those around us.
These people have changed us forever, because now we want to go and make that kind of difference in the lives of others. It is during this time where I intentionally changed the entire focus of this online community, because God and people are the only things that are important in this world. Our family now has more close relationships than we have ever had before, because we now understand the importance of building relationship with others, whereas we didn’t take the time to before. When you realize how much people matter, you find the importance of moving ahead with what you already have, rather than standing still, wishing that you had more.
I tell you all of these things to help you through any sort of transition within any future life decision. My best advice to you is to search what you already have in your grasp, instead of solely focusing on what new attributes that you can obtain.
I know that you already have so much to offer, you just need to see it for yourself, today.