The herbalist from whom I received my training once shared with me the profound concept of living in your “fuck yes!” It is a simple yet remarkable ideological framework that has drastically shifted how I live and make decisions in my life.
Allow me to explain.
For the past 3 years, I’ve been working in the brand/advertising agency world. The environment was about what you would expect. Loooooong hours, tense deadlines, egos, decent perks and some all-around nice folks to call co-workers & friends. The ad agency world had been a career that in many ways I sort of stumbled in to, after what had been several gratifying years in the non-profit & public health sectors. While nothing was wrong with my jobs in the advertising industry, a small part of me knew that there was a slight disconnect. There was an inward misalignment. And after 3 years in the industry, I slowly began connecting dots and listening to signs and a whisper that had been trying to emerge for years.
What were the signs? In hindsight, there were countless. It required a significant amount of positive self-talk to keep myself engaged. I often found myself daydreaming in meetings, thinking of other places or countries I’d rather be. I had a small envy for people who got to be outdoors in the world every day. I daydreamt about places I would want to visit. Time I wish I was spending with family and loved ones. I was in your typical “happy friday” mindframe, being one who counted down the days until the weekend, when I got a few days to live my real life. I was also increasingly miffed with the notion of asking for time off. As an adult, shouldn’t I be able to govern my own schedule?
I started questioning things like- if I loved this work, wouldn’t I want to become an expert in it? Shouldn’t my talents and skillsets for this line of work flow freely? Shouldn’t I want to be the best ad exec ever? If this was right, wouldn’t I be reading blogs, articles and news clips to keep up with the latest trends in the industry? I also grew increasingly fatigued with needing to laugh at dumb jokes or needing to check any of my real life emotions at the door for the sake of getting the job done and maintaining a professional demeanor. I felt like I needed to compartmentalize and put on a gameface that in ways that felt unnatural and unhealthy.
In any of the pursuit of happiness documentaries, books or articles I read, it also dawned on me that money was never the answer. While I overall found the opportunity to be creative in this work interesting, it was nothing more than that. I was merely existing. My lifestyle wasn’t bad, but it also didn’t light my soul on fire.
This comfort zone is one I stayed in for many years. Kind of just coasting… as some might say “if it aint broke, don’t fix it.”
More specifically, I began observing those around me. Were they happy? Was this job their life’s work or deepest passion? Behind closed doors and in many many intimate conversations I held with colleagues over the years, the consistent consensus was no. This was not what they wanted to be doing. But the money was good and they had goals to reach (buying a house, car, paying off debt etc), so they stuck with it. Allowing the months and years to roll by…
While I could relate to the very real reality of the need for security, it increasingly became less and less of a reason to stay. I kept feeling like there just had to be more to life. And that I owed it to myself to step into the unknown.
It wasn’t until the summer of 2017 that this tension, between the “real me” and the “professional me” really began to come to a head. The overall sentiment of fuck.this.shit began to grow :) And like a precious seed in soil, I tended to that train of thought, gave it water and slowly allowed for it to grow.
I have come to think of this concept as a creating a giant snowball. In the beginning, it requires time to get it going, but as it tumbles down the hill, it increasingly grows in size, speed and magnitude. The more time and mental attention I gave to making an exit from this career and way of living, the more it started to feel feasible. The more time I thought about leaving, the less energy I was giving to staying. It is important to note that I had NO idea what may exist on the other side of the rainbow, but what was abundantly clear inwardly was that it needed to happen.
It’s also important to note that this was no easy concept to begin giving life to. Afterall, what was I going to do? What did this new lifestyle look like? How was I going to sustain my current comfortable way of living? And at 31, who just ups and quits their career? While the majority of my peers had the same feelings, not many were interested in doing anything about it. And with the utmost respect, I get that.
In my case however, it took the passing of a close childhood friend and the sickness of my sweet mother to get a final grip on leaving the stifling office environments I had come to know. One of the best things I did during this time was connect with a girlfriend from college who happened to be in the exact same stage in life. She was a high ranking professional working in corporate America and was miserable. For months, we sat on the phone every day. Counseling, encouraging eachother and most importantly, laying the mental bricks down about what this other, better lifestyle would look like. We both had fear, we both had trepidation, but something about the comradery of being in the mud together helped us push past the soul-draining nonsense we were experiencing at work.
During this time, I also began to drown myself in the right books, podcasts and lectures- all from people who were on the other side of the fence. People who had taken the leap. Entrepreneurs. Small business owners. Traveling bloggers. During my commute to work I allowed myself to listen to nothing else. I watched countless motivational videos. Watched videos of tiny house dwellers, people who started companies and crazy folk who opted to follow their wild hearts and go off the beaten path.
It also became remarkably important during this phase to surround myself with the right people. Those who put the “what if” or “you can’t” notions on my mind (out of love and concern) needed to be temporarily put on pause. This was vital. Too many of us live in fear and will project their small thoughts to diminish your big dreams. At all costs, eliminate those from your inner circle during your time of transformation. As much as they love you, they can hinder your growth and creativity in ways that can be remarkably crimpling.
As all things in life, my transition came back down to the fundamental principles of the laws of attraction. You live in the world that you think you do. Thoughts become reality. And contemplating a career and lifestyle change was a chance for me to put these ancient principals into real practice.
I believe we are each placed on this earth for a reason. We each are bestowed with a gift and talent that would be of tremendous benefit to this world, if we are able to access it. Our most challenging task is to have the bravery to explore that. To get out of our comfort zone and start doing things that make us feel alive on the inside! Work should not feel like work. It should not stress you out. And if it does, that need not be your job.
Living in your fuck yes, as it was taught to me, is about making ALL of your life decisions from that place. Ask yourself, is this something I truly want? Is this something that resonates deeply with my inner values? Do I care and love what I’m doing? Am I proud of the way I am existing in the world? Am I my best/highest self in this way of living? If the answer to any of these questions is not FUCK YES, then you owe it to yourself to make a change.
Try living. Try making a life you are proud of. Try not existing in mediocracy and comfort. There is nothing more stunning than seeing someone come alive in their element. It doesn’t matter if you bag groceries, sell beads on the beach or run a Fortune 500 company. Whatever your dream or happy place is, go for it nooooow! The time will never be right. Putting it off until you have all your affairs perfectly in order is nonsense. While you have the inclination or before you are convinced otherwise, trust that precious inner whisper and go!
I say this all to say that I’ve been there. And I get it. Shifting a lifestyle is daunting. I’m still in the transformation stage now. And changing can often feel like an insurmountable task. Indeed, it has been one of the hardest things I have ever done. It feels lonely, scary and possibly quite irresponsible. It requires tremendous amounts of faith and positivity. But the scarier notion is seeing 10-20 years (or a lifetime!) roll by and looking up wondering what if. Wishing you had done something that you never had the courage to take on.
So be good to yourself. Remind yourself that you deserve exactly the life you want to live. Getting there doesn’t have to be as impossible as we’ve made it out to be. Start small. Often, it begins merely with changing the mental story we have written about our lives to date. The universe works mentally. If your life/career has gone in a direction you don’t like, forgive yourself and then indulge in the beautiful process of dreaming. Visualizing! Ask yourself, at my happiest, what does my life look like? Where am I? What does my day look like every morning when I wake up? Consider, how big can I allow my life to be? What decisions make me respond with a Fuck yes? Whatever your dream is, understand that the universe WILL conspire in your favor. It truly has no choice but to. Stars will align. Steps will become clear.
So please, by all means, leap and know that the net will appear.