Last month, I announced the official close of my business. It was a decision I’d battled with for a long time, and it was a choice I didn’t make lightly. I’d put four years, endless hours of work, a substantial amount of money, and my heart into building a career for myself. Eventually, I ran out of funding and didn’t turn a profit quickly enough.
With the realization that my business would not survive came a choice. I could either curl up in a ball and cry myself to sleep night after night, or I could start over fresh. As tempting as eating pint after pint of Ben & Jerry’s sounded, I chose the latter. The things I discovered about myself immediately after closing my business were eye opening…
1. I was stressed out ALL. THE. TIME.
Being in a perpetual state of stress was something I’d grown accustomed to. Just because it was a constant in my life did not mean that it was normal. There are people out there who are not stressed out at all! I had no idea. As soon as I typed my first email stating that my business was closing, a huge weight lifted from my shoulders. It was as if I hadn’t taken a breath for four years, and suddenly I could breath.
2. I was overly focused
I was like a racehorse with blinders on. I was constantly staring down the track in front of me, unaware of my surroundings. All I could see was the finish line, and all I could do was sprint towards it. As soon as I was free from those restraints, I could see how much the world has to offer. Maybe sprinting straight down that track wasn’t the only choice. Maybe I wanted to take another path.
3. Material objects don’t mean as much to me
I was working so hard to become rich and famous, and the truth is, it’s lonely. I could afford nice things, but I never had the time to share them with my friends. I read a book called What Makes You Not a Buddhist by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse. He compares material items to kids building sand castles. When we are kids we try to make the biggest/best sand castle at the beach, fighting tirelessly to protect it from the waves. As an adult, we know the castle won’t last forever, and we accept that. Having expensive things just doesn’t seem important to me anymore. Like the sandcastle, I know they won’t last forever. Having Chanel shoes never made me a better or happier person. Frankly they just made my feet hurt.
4. Life experience is more important than money
Working day in and day out is not how life was meant to be lived. I’m not talking about 9 to 5 jobs. Yes, we need to work to survive. But we don’t need to work 16-hour days seven days a week just so that we can go on a two-week vacation once a year. I passed up at least two chances to go to Europe because I was busy working. (Yea, I know. I’m an idiot). Going out and living is more important than sitting at a desk slaving away. Whether it be drinks with a friend or a trip halfway across the world; those are the moments we will look back on when we reach the end of our lives. I reflected on the last four years of my life, and they were spent in my office.
With this new found information and self-discovery I’ve decided to do the only logical thing. I’ve decided not to sit and cry while eating Ben & Jerry’s. Instead, I’ve decided to go out and take advantage of this thing called “life.” Moving forward I plan to see the world, try new foods, immerse myself in different cultures, and complete the rest of my never ending list. Who knows… maybe leaving my career will be the best thing that ever happened to me.