I feel better than I’ve felt in a long time.
Two years ago I was feeling exhausted and overwhelmed working in a job that didn’t fill me with passion or purpose. I felt I lived for the weekends, but in reality the weekends were spent dreading the upcoming week and procrastinating on my seemingly endless grading and lesson planning. I was on the brink of an emotional breakdown due to suppressing all of my feelings about my recent breakup, and I just couldn’t seem to figure out what was “wrong” with me.
I asked myself if my steady, reliable job was truly worth it. I decided it wasn’t. I asked myself if teaching was really for me, and realized it might not be. This opened me up to new, limitless possibilities for myself. I asked myself why I went into teaching in the first place, and realized that it was because it felt safe and familiar, and that I had never really explored other possibilities for myself. I asked myself if the job matched up with my personality and preferences, and realized that being in front of a classroom of 30 students for five hours a day was really draining for my introverted, reflective personality. All of these questions and more led me to the decision to leave this career KNOWING that there was something else I was meant to do.
One year ago I was telling myself I should feel happy traveling around Southeast Asia. Although I had seen amazing sights and met some unforgettable people, I was becoming increasingly homesick as the holidays approached. I was tired of being constantly sweaty and exhausted as I trekked relentlessly through country after country. I had this nagging, underlying feeling that I couldn’t quite articulate, and it took some time before I was really willing to explore what was wrong, why I didn’t feel happy. The truth was, I wasn’t living my purpose, and it had been too long since I felt truly passionate and excited.
I asked myself why I had really left everything and gone to travel in faraway countries, and realized that I was scared of the unknown, of what I was going to do now that I had quite teaching. I was essentially running away. I asked myself if backpacking really made me happy, and realized it didn’t. What I really wanted to do was read books about personal growth and write about my experiences, become a life coach, and feel I was making a difference in people’s lives. I asked myself if I was willing to go for my dreams and stop running away…and decided yes, it was time.
Today I am living back home in Minnesota and have had an incredible year. I had an internship with an author and life coach I deeply admire. I am training to be a life coach myself and love everything I am learning in the process. I just got a job as a writer and researcher for a documentary film that has the goal of inspiring people to be more authentic, collaborative, and imaginative in the workplace. My life feels aligned with what I value most, and it feels amazing.
I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t been willing to ask myself some tough questions and get really honest with myself, even when it felt painful and uncomfortable. Yet the clarity I have around my life now versus how confused and lost I felt just a few short years ago continues to astound me. I am so grateful for everything I have been through because it led me to ask these life-changing questions.
Are you ready? These questions can get you started:
What really motivated your past decisions?
Where aren’t you being honest with yourself?
Is the life you are living one that feels good to you?
What are you willing to commit to changing in your life?
What do you truly want?
How do you want to contribute your gifts and talents?
What makes you absolutely come alive?
Remember, asking yourself these questions can feel uncomfortable at first, but if you are willing to dig deep you will gain such precious and important insights that you can use to completely transform your life.