Few weeks ago, I met a woman in a mall. She looked familiar. While I wondered where we had met, she came forward and introduced herself. She was my junior in school.
“I’m surprised you recognized me so easily”, I said.
“Some people leave a lasting impact on you and Jayashree you’re one of those people”, she replied.
“That’s so sweet of you, but I don’t remember speaking to you in our school days.”
“Yes, you never spoke to me personally, but you taught our class English on Teacher’s Day in the year 1999. I hope you remember that”, she replied.
“Oh! Yes, how could I forget that? Silly me.” I thought.
In our school on Teacher’s Day, the senior students selected a subject they wanted to teach and went ahead to experience what it feels like to be a teacher and handle a class of students. I too was given this wonderful chance and I remember feeling nervous before entering the class. Usually the junior students teased the ‘student-teacher’ during the lecture. However the class I got was very welcoming. I remember how the juniors made me feel so comfortable. I enjoyed those 40 minutes teaching, discussing and exploring.
Meeting my schoolmate, made me realize that, I was living dream now.
As a child I wanted to be teacher, but like most of us, I ended up with a job. Though I loved my profile, there was this strange feeling of being a misfit in the corporate world. I wasn’t keen on getting promoted or being visible to the management. I stayed far away from the office politics and drama, however quitting the job sounded scary.
Finally in November 2013, I mustered the courage to quit my job and follow the path of my dreams. It’s been a wonderful journey since then and today I’ve set-up my space, “Gayatri’s Edu-World” that caters to holistic development of children through, ‘Group Tuitions, Storytelling, Workshops, and Counselling & Therapy’.
However as I reflect on the last three years, here are 5 things I wish I had known before I quit my job to follow my dreams.
- Passion is not a thing, but a feeling
There are so many people out there encouraging you to follow your passion, but I’ve realised that passion is not a thing to follow, but it’s a feeling. And like all other feelings, your passion may shift with time and age. Today maybe you’re passionate about making candles, however few years later you could be passionate about baking cakes. And when that shift happens, instead of resisting it or questioning yourself, embrace the change.
When I started freelancing, I met people for therapy, however, slowly after some 10 clients I observed I was more interested in working with children and parents. Initially I was bothered by this observation, however after working with few children and parents, my confidence boosted. The challenge is to give yourself the opportunity to accept the change, and when you do that, you learn and grow.
- It’s okay to be a ‘Jack of all trades.’–
I grew up hearing this quote often, “Jack of all trades but master of none”. When I told people that, I’m a storyteller, writer, blogger, dancer and therapist, they gave me a confused look. Initially when people commented that, Jack of all trades, but master of none, I felt hurt and wondered if this was true. That’s when I asked myself, ‘Did I want to be a master of any one particular activity?’ No, was the immediate reply. I was happy to switch from one role to another as this gave me the freedom to choose what I wanted to be at any given moment. It also gave me the flexibility to learn and explore different areas of my interest. Jack of all trades meant interacting with a wide audience which in turn gave me many opportunities to excel.
- Not everyone will support your decision and that’s perfectly okay.
This should’ve been the first point. It was a painful realization and it’s something I’m still struggling to accept. When I decided starting out on my own, the people I thought would support me, were the ones to back out. Every now and then people around me commented, “You’re a mom and if you enter this world of freelancing and entrepreneurship, it will be tough.” Many said, my daughter would feel neglected.
Amidst all these voices that tried to pull me down, there was one powerful voice that said, “Go ahead Gayu, you’re capable of doing this and much more. I’m always with you.” This was my hubby’s supporting voice that gave me the courage to shut the world and focus on my dreams. There are going to be people who may not understand the crazy dreams that you have, however that does not mean you should spend your time explaining things to them. They’re anyways not going to understand it. Instead channelize your energies in achieving your goals.
- You must say NO and that doesn’t make you selfish-
When I quit my job I wasn’t ready for the unrealistic expectations that people around me had. My in-laws thought I will be cooking and serving fresh hot meals and trying new recipes for them. My daughter dreamt of her mumma being there with her 24×7. My parents felt that I would visit them more frequently as I was my own boss now. Some friends thought that I will be ready immediately for a movie or lunch date, now that I didn’t have a fixed schedule.
Initially I struggled to keep everyone happy. I remember spending my whole day in the kitchen trying to satisfy the taste buds of my in-laws, seeking their approval and appreciation constantly (which never happened). I did show up for lunch dates as I had a flexible schedule. However within few months I was feeling exhausted. That’s when I realized, I had to draw a line and invest the time I had in activities that brought joy to me, like reading, writing or meeting children. I had to say NO to people and situations that weren’t adding any value to my life.
- Abundance will continue to flow, always and in all ways-
This is one of the most important lessons that I’ve learnt in the past three years. The initial days of freelancing were like following a mirage. The income was sporadic and somewhere it stressed me out. Living a life with a monthly pay-check chains you to the illusion of financial security. As a freelancer there was no performance bonus, no increment and no monthly awards and recognition. I must admit I did feel insecure in the beginning.
There was a voice that constantly nagged, ‘What about your financial security? Don’t do things for free. Charge a high consultation fee.’
It was frustrating, but I learnt to shut these voices. When I met clients who drove BMW, but were unable to sleep without sleeping pills, my perception of abundance shifted. I learnt that abundance was a state of mind and at any given point of time, I could feel abundant. This awareness shifted the way I performed and gave me a larger purpose to hold on.
There may be a million reasons to stay in the comfort zone that you’ve created for yourself, however once in a while it is good to challenge yourself. Maybe giving yourself a chance to rediscover your talents might bring forth many opportunities.
Have you ever wondered how your life could transform when you gather the courage, now to do something that you always dreamt of? If you’ve already started the journey of following your dreams, I would love to hear how this journey is shaping you as a person?
Feel free to start the discussion in the comments section.
Love and Gratitude,