In one of my travels, I met a man whom I have a conversation on what life was about.
Even after building a successful career and establishing a life in his country, he still felt unfulfilled, constantly asking himself, “Is this it?” Seven years ago, he decided to relocate in Vietnam where his life now revolved around helping other people – teaching and building communities.
I easily connected with him. I felt comfortable sharing my story about resigning from my 8-year job and taking an adventure for myself before I get married and have kids. I ended my story by proudly saying, “Life is how we make it. We choose whether we want our lives to be happy, sad, exciting, boring, stagnant or flowing.”
I expected him to agree with me and continue with our philosophical discussion.
But then he smiled and said, “Yes it is, in theory. But then, life is how you live it.”
He was right. That was just what I needed – a reminder to take my own advice.
My friends approached me as soon as they heard that I resigned from my job. They were surprised. I was probably one of the last person they thought of resigning. They asked, “How did you do it [resign]?”
I shared with them why I made the decision, the process I went through and how I communicated it. After sharing with them my story, I listened to theirs.
I felt I was listening to myself 3 years ago. A person who had so a lot of worries about leaving her job – the lost of financial security, the risk of making a wrong decision, the act of making a decision, the uncertainty of what happens next and the reaction of people around me.
Then I ask them, “Why do you want to resign? What do you plan to do after?”
Just like me 3 years ago, some wanted to resign but do not know what to do instead. Some had ideas in mind – to have their travel agency, to franchise a business and to have time to think of what to do with their lives.
I knew how they felt and I wanted to help. So I told them, One Step at a Time.
You don’t have to resign just yet. What you can do is to take a small step to bring you closer to your goal – just one small step.
Want to have your travel agency? Start by organizing a trip for your family and then, your friends. Do the work as if you are running your own business.
Want to franchise a business? Identify the industry you are interested in and create a shortlist of businesses.
Want to find out what to do with life? Get to know yourself. Start by writing a daily 5-minute journal.
Then back in solace, after giving out advise, I ask myself the same question “What do I do now?”
Resigning from my 8-year job is like being stripped off naked. I no longer have the job that used to be my identity when people ask, “What do you do?”
As my last day in work approaches, the more I feel pressured to replace this identity by answering the question, “What do I do now?”
The more people ask me what I plan to do after, the more I panic realizing that I do not have an definite answer because I do not know.
It is scary to blurt this out, I do not know. But at the same time, it feels liberating to admit that – I do not have an answer.
Just like 3 years ago, I feel scared not to know the answer and be daunted by a question of “What do I do now?” Yet at the same time, there is a spark of excitement that energizes me to discover my answer.
And as I embark on this journey, I have to remind myself to take my own advice – One Step at a Time.
Wisdom is about following your advice.-Sam Harris