Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the full staircase, just take the first step.Martin Luther King Jr.
No matter who you are, where you come from or how ‘strong’ you actually are, starting something fresh is daunting. Scary. Possibly overwhelming. Entering the unknown and exploring new opportunities may be part and parcel of life for basically everybody, however that doesn’t mean the anxiety or uncertainty about what will be happen or whether you’ll succeed ceases to exist.
Having recently left university and moved back to my parents from a shared student house, you could certainly say that my life has gone full circle. An awful lot has changed. It’s very difficult to process and understand. Now while I have discussed my reasons for leaving uni previously on this blog, particularly why it was the best choice for me in that moment, I’d be lying if I said that making such a huge decision wasn’t terrifying. I was to-ing and fro-ing for ages. My mind was flooded with thoughts of ‘what if, am I acting soon, how will I cope, what will I do next?’. If university wasn’t for me at this point in life, I grew increasingly worried about the other options on the table. Dedicating time and extensive energy applying for countless jobs, across a variety of sectors, yet hearing no positive news was both deflating and disheartening. Naturally it’s easy to lose belief. You can think it’s your fault, rather than the case of a stacked, competitive job market. And when you are under pressure to support yourself financially, all while suffering mentally with no sense of routine, life has a funny (or not so funny) way of dragging you into a ‘pit of despair’. You feel like a burden. That you are merely existing and not providing anything worthwhile. You wonder where your next bit of good news is coming from. But the problem is that the longer you are forced to wait and bide your time, the more likely you are to give up and stop trying altogether. That being said, remaining proactive and persistent is key. The door has to be slowly bashed down. From my own experience- and probably many others as well- you will find the best slices of luck when you continue to focus on what you truly want. It’s undoubtedly cliche, so please don’t cringe when I say this, but I suppose you can ‘speak goals into existence.’
After weeks of failed job searching, applications and interviews, it was shortly before Christmas when I was given a firm job offer as a marketing and communications assistant at a non-profit organisation called Hullo (I’ll leave their link below.) I can’t tell you how excited for I am for the challenge and opportunity to progress my career.
Although my journey into the world of mental health campaigning and advocacy has been the greatest thing I’ve ever done, and allowed me to meet so many fascinating, inspiring people, I certainly never anticipated that it would give me so many transferrable life skills and the opportunity to work in a paid position this soon. This was the wider aim yes, however I feel both proud and extremely grateful that the tireless work I’ve carried out volunteering has counted for something more. Because without taking the courageous choice to step outside my comfort zone and share my story, I wouldn’t have been able to build the connections I’ve established and showcase the most valuable qualities that I possess. Simply speaking, I would never have received this brilliant employment opportunity should I have opted against doing things that made me nervous or slightly uncomfortable. That’s just how it works. It’s a very difficult truth- but you just have to put yourself in the line of fire sometimes. It won’t always work and you will face moments of disappointment, however that doesn’t necessarily mean you made the wrong call. It just means you have to look elsewhere. And find something you’re potentially better suited to anyway! The more accustomed we become to making tough calls and doing stuff that scares us, the greater our confidence and strength in the long run.
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.Neale Donald Walsch
Endings are often traumatic yet they don’t define you as a person. You’re not a failure or a quitter for exploring other options and trying to create a happier life for yourself. After all, if a friend or family member was seeming very unhappy and questioning whether they should start something new, what would you say? Would you ridicule, criticise or make them feel guilty? Or would you encourage them to seek out what they want and put themselves first? I think you know the answer…
Thanks for reading,