Who am I without my job?
I've always considered myself a go-getter, a hard worker, a high achiever. I prided myself on being all of those things and became more and more motivated every time someone complimented my work ethic. From a young age, I quickly believed that was what others truly valued in me. I always went the extra mile and gave 110% in everything I did. Oh, you have a problem? I'm on it!
That belief lead me to a great job right out of college and I spent the next eleven years working my tail off, saying yes to every challenge or project that came my way. I developed new skills, reached career goals and dreams, was mentored by seasoned professionals, and learned so many valuable lessons on working with and managing people. I was on a career path that was sure to be "successful".
It wasn't until the age of 33, that I finally realized I had totally lost myself in my career. I had developed an extremely unhealthy relationship with work and had absolutely no balance in my life. I was not taking care of myself. I wasn't taking care of those around me.
Work had become my number one priority, even though I had convinced myself otherwise. It was what defined me. It was the thing that dictated how valuable I was to my relationships and the outside world. That newfound awareness was not something I expected or accepted easily. It was scary, really scary.
I kept thinking, "I can push through. I can figure it out. I can fix this."
After a great deal of self-reflection, solo walks, listening/reading self-help guides any time I had a free moment, and scribbling my heart out in my journal—I realized I had to let go of my career. I needed a reset. I needed to step back from all of those lies I had adopted along the way telling me that my work and my accomplishments were what people really valued in me.
Accepting that reality was one of the most difficult and challenging times of personal growth I've encountered so far. It meant leaving behind all that I thought defined me and becoming someone new.
What if I'm not who I thought I was? What if other people don't accept the new me?
The question that changed my life: who am I without my job?
The thought of releasing myself from something that had become such an integral part of my identity was completely terrifying. But something deep down would not let me shake the feeling. I couldn't make sense of it but knew it was the only way for me to grow. Eventually, I took the leap of faith and left my job. It was not easy and I was a mess of emotions. And I am so very thankful to my family and friends for supporting me through that time.
I spent the next few months experiencing a more restful side of life, but slowing down was not something that came naturally to me at first. I reconnected with aspects of myself that had been suppressed for some time. My perspective around work slowly started to shift. Over time, resting and calming my mind became a little easier.
It took about nine months for me to feel at ease moving into a new chapter. I discovered, when we create patterns of thinking that are so deep, it takes some time to reverse them. I still find myself observing those limiting beliefs that creep up now and again. And then, I reassure myself that it's a process and that I'm doing great.
It was important for me to share some of my story with you from the beginning of launching Retail Therapy. One of the most valuable lessons I've learned is that failure is inevitable, and it's also beautiful. It teaches us valuable lessons, and if we listen closely, it points us in the direction to live the life we were meant to live.