I can’t believe Lessons From A Quitter is ONE!
This past year has been challenging in the most rewarding way and I can’t thank you enough for coming along this journey with me. Launching the podcast was terrifying, but it has pushed me to grow, adapt, and be open to new experiences. Although I’ve had moments of doubt (and sheer exhaustion) this entire experience has been unexpectedly meaningful and a true source of joy in my life.
I wish I had the right words to adequately express how humbled and appreciative I am for each and every one of you. You have built an incredibly supportive community and have pushed me, along with fellow listeners, to take charge and make big jumps. I am consistently moved by your e-mails and messages; you make this all worth it. Thank you for including me in your quitting journeys and for taking the time to build the podcast into what it is today.
For the anniversary episode, I thought I would share the top 10 things I have learned over the past year. The first 5 lessons are ones that I have learned from talking to over 50 guests, and the second 5 are lessons I have learned from putting myself out there on the podcast. I hope that these inspire and bring as much value to you as they have to me.
So here we go: The top 10 things I’ve learned after a year of LFAQ.
1. No one is ever ready.
Fear and doubt will always be there. Over and over again, from every single guest I interviewed, I heard that they didn’t feel ready when they finally made the jump. They just did it anyway.
If you’re waiting for the perfect time to finally be ready, you’ll wait forever. Accept that there will always be unknown factors outside of your control. And then take the leap anyway.
2. Fear is hyped up and overrated.
We are fear-based creatures and we want to protect ourselves from potentially harmful or failed outcomes. But, when that fear goes unchecked, it gets blown way out of proportion. We act as if one unconventional decision with our career will ruin our whole lives. As if we’re going to end up homeless under a bridge. Now, when you say it out loud, you know it sounds ridiculous. But that’s the thing with our subconscious. If left unchecked, it runs wild.
A wonderful way to become conscious of your fears and really work through the worst-case scenario is to go through a fear-setting exercise. Tim Ferris did a wonderful TED talk on how to go through this exercise but the general gist is to take your fears to the absolute extreme. Once you put that extreme into words, it allows you to assess what is a dramatization and what is a legitimate risk. You quickly realize that you’ll be able to course-correct way before anything catastrophic happens. You can create contingency plans to deal with the failures. This lets you get a handle on those fears. Check out Tim’s TED talk here: Fear-Setting Exercise.
3. You gain confidence and clarity through action, not observation.
You cannot be confident in something you’ve never tried before, so sitting on the sidelines and waiting to feel that spark is wasting time. Clarity comes from action. You can pivot and make changes AFTER you get the ball rolling.
One thing that was common with every single guest I have interviewed so far is that where they ended up was nowhere near where they thought they were going. While moving forward, they pivoted to find a career that is truly fulfilling. But they would’ve never have known the pivots that they’d need to take before they began. Just trust yourself and start.
4. The benefit could exceed your expectations.
We tend to focus on the negative and fixate on our own doubt but we rarely think about all of the amazing things that could come from taking a risk. Allow yourself to dream and buy into the possibilities. Instead of obsessing over everything that could go wrong, ask yourself: “What is the best that could happen?”
Throughout this year, I talked to so many people who took a risky jump that most people would never take. But what they’ve created is honestly mind-blowing. Check out some of their episodes here:
- Pye Jirsa quit his job as an accountant, having never picked up a camera, and now he is the co-founder of one of the few multi-million dollar wedding photography studios. He teaches photography to thousands of students a year and does what he loves. Episode 6.
- Isaac Lidsky quit his multi-six figure law firm career to buy a construction company that was on its way to bankruptcy. I should also mention that he had no experience with construction or running a business. He turned the company around and how his company employs hundreds of people and makes annual revenue north of $250 million! Episode 19
- Erin Lowry started a personal finance blog having no background in finance. She has grown that blog to lead to multiple book deals, speaking gigs all over the country, and a career she loves. Episode 52
5. It’s okay to change your mind.
We are constantly evolving. You’re not the same person you were 10 or 20 years ago (hopefully!). Through that evolution, it is natural to want a different career that fits your new values. Unfortunately, in our society, we’re never taught that.
One thing that I’ve noticed in talking with so many of you is that we often, not only feel miserable in our careers, we feel guilty for not loving our “successful” job. We just add to our own suffering by feeling bad or guilty about something that we’re told we’re supposed to like. Guess what? It’s okay to not like it. And it’s okay to want to change and try something else.
We owe it to ourselves to fight fiercely for our happiness. Never apologize for acknowledging your feelings and pursuing whatever will serve you. It takes a lot of courage to not care what other people think and wearing multiple hats over a course of a lifetime is better than sticking to one sub-par one.
6. The upside of putting yourself out there is exponentially bigger and better than the downside.
Last year, when I was getting ready to publish this podcast, I was overcome with anxiety and doubt. I literally felt physically ill. I’m fairly certain that if I hadn’t interviewed guests for the show, who were waiting for me to publish it, I wouldn’t have ever put it out there.
I was overcome with the fear of what my old law school classmates and colleagues would think. I worried about how I would be judged. But what I never realized when I was caught in that fear and doubt was that the upside was going to be so much better than I could’ve ever imagined.
I’m still blown away by the emails and messages I get from so many of you from all over the world. I’ve had childhood friends reconnect with me after they saw the podcast, I’ve made new friends with the guests I’ve interviewed, and I’ve found a tribe of people who feel the same exact way that I did. I can’t tell you how amazing it is to have a supportive community who understands you.
So from one of my biggest lessons throughout this journey, I’d love to impart some advice if you feel stuck in fear: You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Yes, it’s scary and you may receive the occasional backlash, but you will gain confidence, experience, and so much joy from taking the risk.
7. Your first version will suck!
We’re all so worried about trying something new because we’re afraid we’ll suck at it. Well, let me save you the worry. You will suck. But you can’t reach the best final result until you try and (probably) fail.
Perfectionism is a disease and it will hold you back from discovering all of the amazing things you are capable of. Perfectionism is just your fear of failure disguised. If your first version is perfect, you’ve waited way too long.
8. It’s the journey, not the destination.
YES this sounds cliche and like something you’d find on a cheap airport key-chain, but this is SO. IMPORTANT. We are always trying to get to some overblown “destination” in our heads. But the thing is that we’re really good at moving the goalposts. So as soon as we get to that destination, we just decide that we want something more.
We’ve all experienced this in some way. You’ve wanted something that you thought was going to make you so happy only to get there and realize that you feel the same. The entire purpose of mindfulness, meditation, gratitude practices etc, is to remind us that the present is all we have so we better start enjoying it. It’s important to remove your limits, try different things, and enjoy multiple projects that showcase all of your talents.
This lesson is one that I’m learning over and over again. Throughout this past year, I constantly have to remind myself of why I started this podcast and it wasn’t to get a certain number of downloads or grow my social media audience to a certain size, even though those destinations are easy to get caught up in. Rather, it was to talk to people who inspire me and create a community of people who feel the same way. And I have accomplished both of those things. So I spend as much time as I can truly enjoying those aspects as I push through this journey to my unknown destination.
9. You don’t need permission.
You don’t need validation or approval from others if it’s something you’re passionate about. If your endeavor is constructive and is going to make you a happier, better person, then go for it. Asking for others’ opinions seems innocuous, but it can deter us from making smaller decisions that impact our journey as a whole. The only person you need to impress is yourself.
10. Invest in yourself.
Join communities, find coaches or mentors, and surround yourself with people who will keep you grounded and hold you accountable. Quitting, pivoting, or starting a new journey is lonely and hard. But it doesn’t have to be. It takes a team to accomplish a dream. So figure out what resources will help you and invest in yourself along the way.
So that’s it. I can’t wait for all of the new lessons I learn in the coming year. Thank you again for taking the time to listen to the podcast. We’ve built something really special and I am so excited for what’s to come. We’re really going to ramp it up this year; Thanks for coming along for the ride.