As of Monday 8th November 2016 – I have no job!
No day job, that is. Now, I’m a full time creative – author and illustrator – which means I’ll work many more hours than I would in any day job, and love it infinitely more!
“So, you must be making a ton of money with your books then, huh?” is people’s first question. Because why would any one be insane enough to quit their job without setting up income to… y’know… pay the bills (that slightly important matter!).
Um, well actually no. I don’t make enough to cover my bills. I thought I would by now, given that my work is highly praised, has previously sold well, and I’ve had great PR, but it just doesn’t translate into a large enough amount on a monthly basis – yet. (And that’s ok. I’m still at the beginning of the journey. It will come.)
So why did I quit? It comes down to the whole notion of ‘success‘. What is ‘success’ to me? Right now, ‘success’ is working full time as a creative person. Which essentially means earning money to pay bills so I can afford to create full time. In 5 or 10 years, I have different goals. But in the next 12 months, that’s the ‘success’ I aim for.
I’ve stagnated this year, neither moving forward nor backwards. I’ve felt completely in a rut. And it took being told that my job was no longer safe to realise that I’d gotten comfortable.
‘Comfortable’. It sounds like such a lovely word – safe and cosy – but it’s a dangerous thing, is comfort. Because in your comfort zone, you do not grow. You do not change. Change and growth is hard; it’s much easier to remain static.
I was offered another low level role. Perfect, I thought at first, because what I had been comfortable in for a year was a role that didn’t require me to think. I’d decided that having an ‘easy’ day job was the best way to achieve my creative goals. I could earn money, come home, and spend my brain power and energy creating. Only, I wasn’t innovating – and you need to be creative and innovative to succeed. You need to create with purpose. Have a plan. Seek all possibilities.
The seed was planted. What did that role add to my life? Nothing. Just money. Well, you can go and get a job anywhere and earn money, really. In actual fact, it hindered more than it helped, because I was comfortable. It was easier to keep going as I was, rather than innovate and try and succeed.
The only thing having a job accomplished, I realised, was subconsciously affirming to myself that I needed the safety net of a paycheck, and that I didn’t believe I could do it. And that meant, deep down, that I wasn’t truly trying. It took a long time to realise this – but it was a eureka moment when it happened.
It’s laughable really. There I was, being frustrated that I wasn’t succeeding at my dreams – only, I wasn’t really doing enough to make them happen! Sure, I was producing content and improving my craft, but that’s not enough.
So, I handed in my notice. A terrifying moment. Exhilarating too. I genuinely had no idea if I was making the right choice. (Hindsight will tell me down the line!) The important thing is, I have the faith in myself that it is the right choice, and I am capable of making it happen.
The moment I was faced with the prospect of having no job, no income; no comfort zone… life got interesting. I was forced to think outside the box. Suddenly I had a dozen, and then a hundred ideas (with support from family, friends, and my amazing network of creative peers across the world), of ways I could make myself – and my creating – more commercially viable.
Wow! All those things that I had never thought of, or never dared to try… because it’s easier not to when you have a comfort zone, and easier to pretend things are just fine, and easier to never face up to your fears, doubts or insecurities. There they were, all these fantastic ideas: opportunities. And it turned out, not being able to pay your bills is, for me, a pretty big motivator to say no to fear, say no to self-doubt, and say yes to chasing possibilities.
Of course, it’s been a really difficult month. I’ve had to do a lot of soul searching.
Can I make it? Am I good enough?
The fear and self-doubt can be crippling and overwhelming when you let it in your headspace; true for most creatives. However, I believe I am good enough and I know I can make it – I just haven’t quite figured out how. But here I am, with the skills I have, and the opportunities in front of me.
I’ll find a way!
Already, I’m chasing new opportunities with success, meeting fantastic new people across the world and I feel so optimistic.
I think this is exactly what I needed. Had the upheaval not happened with my job, I probably wouldn’t have discovered this new perspective, and I wouldn’t have thought to quit. I’d have continued in the same old, unfulfilling comfort zone for goodness knows how long!!!
I’m a great believer in fate. I’m a great believer in things happening for a reason. I am possibly insane, but I am going to make this happen!
These are my affirmations.
I am an artist. I am a writer. I am a creative. I am innovative. I am determined. I will face my fears. I will defeat self-doubt. I will say yes to opportunity. I will succeed.
Here’s to the future – here’s to success!
What are you doing to escape your comfort zone and pursue your dreams?