In my experience, of success and failure (At my age I’ve had a good amount of both) I can honestly say that it’s OK to QUIT. If you need to stop, drop and roll with it, then by all means do. Yes I am saying to GIVE UP on your personal dreams for a while, so that you can take a rest, and help the dreams of others come true instead. This gives everyone’s new dreams room to grow, including YOUR OWN.
After reading that you will either be totally FREAKED OUT, or totally RELIEVED..
Here’s what I mean, and here’s why I swear it will be okay.
I’m a motivated person by nature. A competitive figure skater by the age of 5. A speech meet winner in Jr High. A graduate of the exclusive “Fame School” in LA. I never met a challenge I didn’t love. I’ve always had a dream whirling inside of me. Whenever I’ve turned on my laser-focused (a.k.a. obsessed) interest in achieving a goal, I knew I could make it happen no matter what. I’ve earned some great leadership positions in the workforce because others saw that ability in me too. I like to be on the winning team, or be leading it. I always pushed hard. Expected a lot from others, and even more from myself. And I was also almost never satisfied. Those were the traits I believed a winner must possess.
Cut to: MOTHERHOOD
And, none of that mattered.
My body didn’t care how strong I was, because Mother Nature had other plans. When the babies were born, their wants and needs didn’t give a heck how good my radio show ranked in the ratings. I could work my booty off in the office and it wouldn’t mean a thing in the middle of the night while holding my acid-reflux baby until the sun rose and it was time to leave for work again. I was changing.
My “Dream Job” was changing too.
Happiness. Fulfillment. Satisfaction. Pride. Winning. These are all the wonderful feelings I got when I decided not to have the dream job I thought I wanted most.
My radio show finally ended after a 6 year run- That’s a long run in Hollywood. I signed some paperwork that meant I agreed not to work in my market for an extended amount of time. I couldn’t move my family to another state due to my husband’s job as a Firefighter- he would’ve lost all his seniority. So it was time to re-evaluate. When I took time to look at the big, bigger, expanded picture.. It was like someone flipped on the light switch. There was so much more than the pinhole focus I had set on my career. My old dreams took a backseat, and I created a new list of goals that would benefit the new goal: The dreams of others.
Let me tell you the steps I took (with caution) in case you want to do this too. I’m not gonna lie- It’s scary for Type A competitive types & people who just love the thrill of the game, but these steps will take you to a place of more JOY and success than ever before. I’ve also developed new things I do daily, that help me stay focussed & fulfilled.
I quit. Say it with me.
I’m a Mom who stays at home mostly but works a little bit when it fits into my family’s best interests. Most of my time is spent with my kids, at their school, working on things for them, or working on things for my husband. This list of new habits help me get through the rough times, and stay on my chosen path. Sure there are tough moments. There were rough moments in the office too. There were days when I cried all the way to work. I had such sadness when got a text message with a video of my baby doing something for the first time and I wasn’t there. Instead of feeling bad, I changed my situation. And this works for ME now. Not the other way around.
Yes, there will be tough times, for sure. It’s not all roses, for sure. But, at least now I actively take back the time to stop and smell those roses because, I’ve finally decided I deserve to noticed them.
Caution: This isn’t for everyone. But if you’ve read this far, then it might be for you.
STOP. Just shut it down. Put an “Away Message” on your emails. Change your recorded outgoing message on your cell to say that you are on an extended sabbatical & “if it’s urgent text me”. (Trust me, people will still leave messages.) Close the social calendar for a month. Say No. Decline invites. “Stop the world I want to get off.” Quit! You get the idea.
NOW THE NOTEPAD. Buy one that you LOVE. Place it next to your bed with a pen. Every night, write all the worries you have about missing out on your dreams. Write what you are “giving up” by letting go of old goals. And make this a safe place to dump anything you are afraid might be happening out there without you. In a few days you’ll realize that nothing was truly all that important, and that those same opportunities will either show up again, or get out of that way so something BETTER can come along. Additionally, anytime you are kept awake at night, write down what’s filling up your head and let it go.
GRATITUDE. We’ve made this a weekly practice. I include my kids in this exercise while we update their “Chores List & Goals” on Sunday night. We sit around the table & set our minds toward what we want to bring into our lives this week. Some call it setting our intention. We take a moment to talk about the things we already have received.
I want to be sure I stay grateful for all of the things in my life, not just the ones I cherry pick with my own slant. By doing this exercise with my children I find myself more open to seeing, & even discovering, unexpected things, people, feelings, & amazing reasons to be grateful.
NEW FRIENDS. Find your tribe mama. I used to run with a career-focussed crowd. We didn’t have kids, or some of us did but we worked around them (or vice versa). Instead of going out for cocktails with the gals after work, you may find yourself at the workroom with the moms at school cutting out Autumn leaf patterns for the teacher. -That really happens btw. So, take control of this freedom to choose new friendships and create your new Dream Team. I promise you will find the right people. Be open to them. Try not to judge. Quit being to cool for school. This can actually be fun. It’s for a better quality of life for your kids and for you.
You WILL find new friends. You will find the exact friends you need. There is a Room Mom that can’t wait to show you the ropes. There is a workout mom type out there who is dying to help keep you in shape. There is a SAHM who home-schools and she’ll teach you some amazing parenting lessons and she also may scare you to death. Remember, you could learn from her. There’s a mom who has a great sitter for when you need to just get out and take a walk or pamper yourself. There’s even a mom who’s sister works at the salon and does great brow shaping. There is a mom who teaches singing & you’re kid loves to perform! There is a mom who’s teenager tutors in math and can help your son. There’s a mom who will help you handle the stress that can come along with homework time. There is a mom for all seasons.
You had a group of friends that shared your passions in the past. Now you need one that supports your current life. Put your old gang on pause, but keep in touch, and keep it cool. You can have new friends and old ones too- That’s what we tell our kids right? Same thing here. Protect your interests. Build a strong MOMtourage, and roll with your new set.
TODAY’S ACCOMPLISHMENTS. A nighttime diary is a must for me. I learned this from a producer I used to hire in New York. She had a diary that included everything that happened during that day. She included her spending, what she opened in the mail, phone conversations she had.. All jotted down in a little journal. Nothing fancy. I began doing this to keep track of my spending (Ha. Ha. Ha.) but ended up using it as “Recorded History” of my life. I also found that after looking at my simple scribbles of the day, I realized that I had done A LOT. I do a billion things as a mom. I accomplish soooo much, and talk to so many people, and take care of so much business, and keep so many balls in the air. It’s impressive. Yay me. The daily journal is tactile proof on ink ‘n’ paper that I do important stuff every day and I should be proud of myself.
Don’t worry. Your dreams will be there. You’ll find that nothing really changes that much. You’ll be able to catch up later if you want, and there are even specialists who help people do that- career reboots and transitions. But I bet what you will find is that your dreams change. Your interpretation of them may evolve. The opportunities you miss may not be good enough for you anyhow! You may find that you were lucky that you weren’t around to take that job/promotion/project. Looking at things from your new vantage point gives you a unique “outsiders” perspective. While you get in touch with some new things, you will also undoubtably reunite with some things from the past. Only after you quit, will you be 100% available for a new job/promotion/project that you can make your own. Let it all take shape while you get out of the way. When the new joys and new freedoms come to you by watching the dreams of others come to life, please leave me a message and let me know your story.
You are part of my new group. I’ve started a new chapter. And by sharing like this, we help each other with all of our new dreams.