[July 16th, 2013]
Today marks one month from my last day working at lululemon to be completely self-employed as a photographer and yoga teacher. It was a most bittersweet and rather scary decision – to leave a job that I loved and working with people that I loved…to go after something that I think I loved more. However, something inside of me said I had to do it – take the leap of faith in pursuit of my greatest ambitions, my dharma, and using my gifts for the betterment of the world around me. It told me that I had more to give, and this was the way to do it.
Many people have reached out and asked me, “How do I quit my job that I am no longer passionate about?” They hate their 9-5 and want to quit their jobs, but “can’t” or are scared beyond belief to do so. My advice to them is this. I don’t think you’re giving yourself enough credit if you don't think you are not able to set up a meeting with your boss to put in your two weeks. The real “I can’t” comes from the fear of what lies after that meeting. Relying completely on yourself to figure it out. The good news is that you have everything you need. Right now. At this very moment. The bad news is that there is no one at the end of the path to say, “Yes, you picked the right one!” My only advice is to decide what you want to do, and if you don’t like it, you can always try something else. And trust the journey and the process. We can always see in hindsight that every up and down has gotten you to exactly where we need to be. In the Yoga Sutras, Avidya, the root cause of all suffering, comes from mistaking the impermanent as permanent. Nothing in the world is permanent, and sure we all know that, but doesn't it always feels permanent when we're in the situation? We think it is the worst thing, that things will never get better…but it always does. Remember that. It always gets better.
What if I don’t succeed in my new venture? I strongly believe that if you really put in all of your efforts and work relentlessly, you will succeed. And what does success even mean to you? More free time with your family and friends? The financial ability to travel? Make sure you define that first, and not just accept what society thinks of as success (fame, money, power...). It will take time, patience, and maybe some setbacks, but if you know what you want, declare it, and truly go for it, the universe will give back. And usually with more than you ever hoped for. With both of my new careers I hear a lot of “but the market is so saturated already!” I don’t believe in this at all. Sure people may have the same skill sets, but no one is YOU. You are the best in the world at being YOU. Do I have my moments of doubt? Sure. The voice that says, “Are you sure you can do this? Are you good enough for this?” And I quickly squash that voice and say, “YES. Because I am the best me, and I trust myself and my ability to share my gifts with others.”
What about money? I am a huge believer that if you work hard and work passionately for something that does good for people around you, the money will come. Most of my friends who are worried about this are some of the most brilliant people I know – trust me, you are not going to end up living in a box on the street! You will figure it out!
What does money represent anyway? I took this awesome class at Wanderlust by the founder of Acroyoga, and we talked about what money represented to each of us. Having a lot vs. having little. Both had positives and negatives. And we all know people who have more money are not always the happiest, and that there are so many people in the world with almost nothing who live fulfilled lives. Why do you want more money? Is it to buy more stuff? To travel more? If that’s what is important to you, then yes, be grateful for a job allows you to afford those luxuries. Are you willing to sacrifice those luxuries if it meant you didn’t have to work a job you hate? It's all about what's important to you and sticking to your "why."
What if I don’t know what I want to do, but I just don’t like what I’m doing right now? That’s okay! Make a list of things in your life – people, values, etc. that fuel your fire. Things that make you want to get out of bed every morning. And then take some time to figure out how to incorporate more of those things in to your daily life. The more you think about these things and bring them to light, the more you'll slowly start to uncover your deepest dreams and be able to weave them into your every day.
Imagine if we lived in a world where everyone loved every part of their day. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
Imagine a world of people who were ALIVE and PASSIONATE about their work, and wanted to share for the benefit of others. Not settling.
Imagine a world where everyone wanted to share their love, where we were all on the same team, working to help each other.
"HOW CAN I SERVE?" More recently, I've been focusing shaping my goals less around what I want to do for myself but more around the question "How can I serve?" His Holiness the Dalai Lama reminds us that true lasting happiness can really only come from helping others, so if you're feeling lost, I'd say that is a good place to start.