Finding Courage to Start Anew

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In exactly 3 days, it will be my 3rd monthsary from leaving my corporate career. I would have liked to have posted this on the exact date for added drama, but decided put this out now so I can fully be present in my HK trip with my parents next week, should the weather permit us to fly this weekend.

It's been nearly three months now, and at times, I still can’t believe that I found the courage to leave the corporate workforce. Leaving my career of 11 years was a tough decision, especially when I haven’t established anything yet outside of my corporate career. It took me almost a year to convince myself that as much as I love my career and the people I worked with, my priorities have changed and it was time to move on to a new adventure.

So let me dedicate this blog entry to commemorate this special milestone. Hopefully it imparts some insights to those who might be going through a similar crossroad.

Throwback to year 2007, I joined HP (Hewlett Packard) as a fresh graduate. Being a student leader in college, I’ve had high enthusiasm to learn, contribute and achieve. I was lucky to have joined a team of highly driven and fun-loving people. I was given several exciting yet challenging roles and tasks - all of which shaped my work ethics, leadership skills and character as a person.

Despite the usual setbacks of working in the IT industry, my career in general went really well. I was able to land on different roles that led me to my leadership position in the company. My contributions were appreciated and recognized. I gained several skills and certifications. Work life balance was good most of the times. I gained the trust and respect of my clients, bosses and colleagues. I was blessed to have worked with great leaders and mentors who really took care of me. Most of all, I was given the chance to mentor and inspire colleagues who eventually became good friends. I had a great career.

Until last year, I’ve encountered the book, “The Magical Tidying of Konmari Method”. While my only goal then was to de-clutter our home, the first step of the method unexpectedly urged me to “de-clutter” my life as well. When I examined my personal vision, it was clear that I wanted to start my own family, have more time with my loved ones, learn about entrepreneurship, and pursue my passions.  As much as I was satisfied with my work, I knew deep inside that I've outgrown my career. It was no longer serving me and the lifestyle I envisioned myself to be in. But for some reason, I felt stuck and couldn’t find the courage to fully let go.

Courage is indeed not an absence of fear. It is being able to take action on something I want to achieve despite of my why nots.

Early this year, I was invited by my sister-in-law to attend a series of personal effectiveness workshop in Singapore where I was able to take a deeper look at my “why not’s” and confront each one of them. Personal biases, fear of judgment, wanting approval to name a few. When I was able to acknowledge and let go of these, I realized that my “whys” are far more important than my “why nots”.

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It dawned on me that I had already fulfilled my personal goals in my corporate career and was only using it as an excuse to stay within my comfort zone and avoid my why nots. I learned that fears and apprehensions will always be present no matter what I do, and nothing will change until I take action.

Courage is indeed not an absence of fear. It is being able to take action on something I want to achieve despite of my why nots.

And so, I tendered my resignation and left my job. I did it.

Alot of the people who know my dedication at work told me that I was so courageous for making such big decision. I pondered on this, and I think my courage stems from a deep and clear why. Without it, I don’t think I would be able to take action.

Now that I’m out of the workforce, there’s no denying that there was a whole new world of challenges that I now have to constantly fight with. The past 3 months have been a push and pull battle of affirming what I wanted to pursue, transforming my mindset, and asserting myself to take actions. But I am also grateful to have this space to get in touch with myself, reconnect with my emotions and and nourish my intuition.

The past 3 months have also led me to realize that it is not easy to start anew. But having my whys enable me to show up and find ways to push through. I’ve also learned that I didn’t have to fight this battle alone, and that I can ask for help and support. I’ve recently decided to sign up for a coaching program to help me find bliss in myself and in what I wanted to achieve. I’m so excited to see the breakthroughs I’ll have in the coming months!

So if there’s one thing I can impart to those going through a similar crossroad, that is to identify your whys and why nots. Once you are clear with these, you’ll most likely realize that your whys are far more important than your why nots – and you’ll end up taking actions despite your fears. At least for me, my why’s have urged me to let go of what’s no longer serving me, and make space for something that brings more joy to myself and to the people around me.