No matter what method you used to restart your life/career/health, one thing is common (aside from saying, “holy shit…what did I just do?!”), after you’ve taken a major leap of faith in your life and come down from the high of pursuing your dreams, you look around and ask yourself, “Now what?”
Six months ago I made one of the biggest leaps of my life, I quit my teaching job and began writing full-time. Although I had run the numbers, looked at my budget a million times, and knew I could make it financially, six months later I’m still having a “now what” moment.
About two weeks ago I learned that I’d be cutting back on my “day writing job,” and with that cut would come a decrease in income. Almost immediately, I started to panic. How can I make my ends meet if I had less income coming in? I started to go into full-blown, what the F&*$k did I do mode? I started to doubt my choice to switch careers, and I almost….almost picked up the classifieds to see if I could snag a barrista job.
Then I remembered something: I’m a writer with contacts and talent. I control my income, not any particular publication or job or editor. Me. It was time to kick it into gear.
Ironically, the day before my “oh shit” moment, I took a little walk along the beach and had a talk with God. You see, I’ve been tremendously blessed in my life, and for the most part…whenever a door closed, another door, or two windows opened in return.
Years back, I moved to New York City with no family, no friends, and only two suitcases. Despite landing in one of the most expensive cities in the world, the Universe/God provided. I didn’t have a dime saved up and before I could find an apartment, I had to return to LA because my grandfather died. The day before I left I meet a soror who let me crash in her place…for as long as I needed. After about a month of soaking in the city (and attending grad school), I landed a job at an ed tech firm. Later I got my own place in Brooklyn, and when I lost my job and found out I was preggo, instead of being paralyzed by fear and worry, I worked my ass off to find free health care and temp gigs that allowed me to pay my rent and make sure le kid was ok in the process.
When I go through my “OMG! Now what?!” moments these days, I remind myself I’ve always made a way and God has always sustained me, so why should this be different?
If you’re experiencing a similar feeling, here are a few things to help you get by:
You got this: Clearly you’re talented, brave, smart, and a whole host of other positive things that have helped you get to this point. Just because you’re now following your dreams doesn’t mean you still don’t have the same set of skills you possessed before. Remember what got you to this moment. You got it, boo.
Evaluate the situation: Are you just having a normal freak out? Are you worried about money? Time? Security? Get to the root of the issue and try to figure out ways to solve it. If you’re worried that being a freelancer is putting a serious hurting on your income, think about ways to maximize your time and take on more gigs. And if you just can’t swing working for yourself AND making your bills, consider working part-time until you feel financially ready to continue being a full-time freelancer.
Brainstorm solutions: Once you’ve evaluated the situation, you’ll be more able to pinpoint a solution. My “OMG, WTF?” moment was quickly met with, “Ok Brit…how can we make up this money?” Once I began to think about it, I knew exactly how I could kick it up a notch….and I did. If you dream about going back to school or taking a round the world trip, but don’t want to blow up your credit score, think about how you can make this happen in a way that gets you to your goals without taking on a load of debt in the process.
No matter where you are in life, you’ll have a now what moment. They are merely apart of the journey, but it’s how you respond to them that matters.
If you allow the fear of failure push you to inaction it has already won. You won’t accomplish your goals, and you may even end up on a therapist’s couch (or at your local bar) wondering why you’re unhappy. But if you’re able to push past your fears and figure out solutions to them, then you’ll be on the road to success.
Have you experienced an “OMG, Now what?!” moment? How did you handle it?