Employed people from time to time tell me something like this: “My job sucks. I have to work all the time. No one appreciates me. Maybe I should start my own business. Oh, but I don’t know. My job pays pretty well. And I have benefits. Maybe I should just be happy with it.”
If this is where you are, my guess is you may not leave your job for at least another 5-10 years. Because you just aren’t uncomfortable enough to do something about it. But you might be after doing it 10 more years.
Or maybe you’ll have a heart attack from the stress and that will wake you up. Or maybe someone close to you will die and that event will give you the perspective that life is damn short and if you’re not challenging yourself to live at your own edge and creating a life you truly enjoy, that challenges you to become more than who you think you are, if you’re not letting your potential live within you every day, if you’re not pushing yourself to make your life the wondrous and beautiful experience you know in your heart it could be, then you’re losing something precious and fleeting that you will never get back.
Maybe something like that happens that wakes you up. But until then, I bet you stay where you are. I bet you keep looking out the window, not quite really happy, but not quite really willing to risk the comfort that you have either.
Unless you decide to change on your own.
You don’t have to quit your job tomorrow, and you don’t have to wait until your arteries cave in. This is what you do: you decide that your true happiness is more important to you than your comfort or inertia. That’s what it takes. It’s an internal decision. It’s a contract you make with the Universe. That will start you on a path to awaken to your true purpose, the thing that makes your heart sing. The Universe will lead you there, as long as you are willing to give up what you already have, and trust that there is something more out there for you.
That path may lead you to quit your job, or it may lead somewhere else. You may discover that your job is not the point. You may discover the point is that you were asleep. Do you know who you truly are? What you are capable of? What truly makes your heart sing? And are you going in that direction every day?
Deep happiness is founded on self-knowledge and nothing else. Look inside, unflinchingly, and ask yourself if you’re truly happy. Ask yourself if it’s worth it to you, to find out what your heart truly wants and what you need to do to create a life that supports that.
If your answer is “Eh. My life is OK. That all sounds like work.” — then you know you’re not ready yet. And that’s OK.
But if you know you can’t wait 10 more years, then it’s time to start learning. There are a billion books and courses and people who can help you on your journey. You’re not alone. Millions walk before you. The world is full of people who are walking their own personal path to self-awareness, and there are as many paths as people.
Here’s a book to start with, which might shake up what you think the workforce is about: We’re All Self-Employed.
And if you are really considering taking the leap, the blog (and book) Escape from Cubicle Nation is the place to start.