Four months ago, I made a tough decision to move back home to Los Angeles after living on the east coast for almost four years. The decision was unanticipated and in two weeks I quit my job, sold almost everything in my studio apartment, packed a few bags, rented a mid-size and drove 3,300 miles across the country.
New York was my home for close to three years, and most recently I lived in Washington D.C. for a year which would be the premise for my sudden move back to LA. I moved to D.C. upon finishing graduate school for the perfect job opportunity. I enjoyed my position and the company that I worked for. But at the end of my year, I wasn’t happy living in D.C. for a variety of factors. I was unhappy, slightly depressed and had to do something about, so I left.
When I first moved away from LA four years ago for New York I never thought I would come back, at least not this soon. That’s usually how life works, you can have a plan or ideal of who you will be or where you will be, but life always has its own path for you.
So when I made the decision, it came unexpected to a lot of my family and friends but I didn’t think twice about it. I was and needed to move back home and so I did. I gave my two weeks notice on a Monday morning and started packing my bags that afternoon. Looking back, if I would’ve dwelled on the decision and gave it too much thought I probably would still be living in D.C. right now. But the fact that I made the decision quickly, without hesitation is why I was able to escape an unhealthy situation with not knowing what is ahead.
Sometimes we have to not know what lies ahead but simply have faith. Have faith in yourself and in whatever lies ahead as it will always, in the end, play out for a reason. But you have to make the leap and have the faith. Life is too short to be stuck in a city or a job that you are unhappy in.
After quitting my job and driving 3,300 miles across the country I learned the following life lessons:
#1 Live for experiences
There is a lifetime worth of value in experiences. No amount of money can replace the perspective that is earned through life’s best experiences. Our experiences shape our frame of reference, our interactions and our individual person. When you can, invest in your experiences rather than material things. Go on a road trip, drive across the country, go to a different country and all only for the thrill of it.
#2 It’s not going to turn out like you expect, but that’s okay
Everything that happens in life, is okay. As a tactic to curb anxiety we attach fear to the feeling of not knowing. We also make expectations and in our mind play out how a situation should go. But it never plays out the way that we expect or want it to. In reality, our expectations do more harm than good. Lean into the fear of not knowing and get rid of your expectations, as it is okay to not know.
They say, “don’t quit your job without having one” but that statement is rooted in fear. Why wouldn’t you quit your job, especially if it isn’t contributing to your life in a positive manner? Or if, your job is in a city that you are unhappy living in? Quit that job, lean into it, and go after what you both want and deserve.
#3 Some will doubt you, others will be inspired
You never know who you are going to inspire from the decisions that you make. What may or may not seem like a big decision to you, may be to another person. We inspire others by doing things that others are afraid to do. People are afraid of change and they use their negativity as a shield from their own insecurities. Take a leap of faith, you’ll inspire someone else to do the same.
#4 No matter what, always aim high
“If you shoot for the stars, you’ll land on a cloud” were wise words spoken by Kanye. What was a tremulous job hunt would land me the job of my dream. Over four months, I submitted over 130 applications but each position that I applied to had to adhere to a set of criteria that I had for my next career opportunity. I wasn’t going to accept just any position because I knew that I could attain the job that I dreamed of. After constant rejection I would lose confidence in myself but kept moving forward. If you strike out enough by swinging for home runs, sooner than later, you’re going to hit one.
#5 Enjoy your time with things that you love
You will have a lot of your time on your hands. Especially if you don’t land a full-time occupation in your new city of choice. We’re young, it is to our advantage to use the time that we have to the advantage of ourselves. Do the things that you enjoy doing. Work on the projects that you may have not had time to do before. Spend more time outside, read more books. Not only is it good for your mind but it’s good for the soul. Everything else will come full circle if you put in the time doing what you love, you could even earn some money from it.
#6 Make a living from your passion
Which brings me to this next point, make a living from your passion. You don’t necessarily have to earn money, or yet, by making a living from your passion. You can make a living if you do your passion every day. You will be living and doing your passion, daily, thus making a living from it. Then over time, as you perfect your craft and add value, then people will pay you for the value that is in your passion.
#7 Your circumstance doesn’t matter, only state of mind
As you search for a new job, run out of money, and start to doubt your worth. Don’t. Material wealth doesn’t translate to wealth of the mind. Whereas, material poverty also don’t translate to poverty of the mind. As I was unemployed, I had to realize that, yes, I may not have the money now, but I’m a thousand times happier. My state of mind is in a better place, I just had to have faith that my circumstances over time would gradually to match it. It always does.
#8 Respect your no’s
Rejection isn’t comfortable, it is very uncomfortable. It can make you feel inferior and take away your feeling of worth. However, it is how you react to rejection and each no that makes the difference. After every no from each interview, I could have just dwelled on my failure and felt bad for myself, but that is doing myself a disservice. Each no that you receive in life has the goal of making sure that you stay stagnant. Keep moving forward as every no is closer to a yes.
#9 Be patient, be persistent
Patience is truly a virtue. When things seem like they aren’t working out in your favor, in due time, the tides always turn. As the saying goes “good things come to those who wait” but greater things come to those who not only wait but also put in the work…over…and over…and over…again. There is going to be bumps on the road, detours, and even complete stops but the only way that you are going to reach your destination is if you keep moving forward.
#10 Trust the process
If you’ve made the decision, you’ve made it for a purpose. Don’t doubt your decision but trust the process along the way. If all hard decisions were easy then everyone would do it. Have the power and have faith in the process.
So to you, if you are in any situation that doesn’t benefit your well-being in a positive manner then make the choice to leave. Leave the city that you are unhappy in. Leave the job. Leave that life behind because you deserve more.
You deserve the life that you want, even if it takes a rash decision to pack up your bags, and move 3,300 miles across the country.
It’ll pay off, trust me.
Oh by the way, about my job hunt, after 130 applications I received two offers and accepted the position of my dreams. This week, I started as the new Strategist at Uptown Treehouse where I am heading social strategy for one of my favorite brands, Uniqlo.
Quit your old life, make the trip, and trust the process.