Have you ever found yourself miserable in the life that you created? Picture yourself working extremely hard and spending years accomplishing things that you thought would fulfill you but didn’t. That was me. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my career in Intelligence. It wasn’t that. It was the regimented, monotonous lifestyle of the stressful and emotionally exhausting rat race that I couldn’t stand. It was the political, cut-throat competitiveness that you often see in corporate work environments. It was the mean spirited and petty, tear someone else down so you can succeed type of attitudes, desperate for a promotion or some short-lived, meaningless recognition. It was all the “putting checks in boxes” that people seem to do in life without a second thought about what they actually WANT or what they do to others as they claw their way to “the top”. Happiness is not one size fits all. I had become lost and had no idea how it happened.
I cannot possibly explain everything to you here. I can only say that it got so bad, that even hitting rock bottom did not prove that there would be a way up. It’s not like I hadn’t spent years soul searching to figure out the perfect life for myself…I did! And truth be told my worst work experiences were actually during my time in law enforcement agencies, not my Intelligence career. (That’s an entirely different blog post, by the way!) There were just things I did not account for because….well, you don’t know what you don’t know! On top of that, there are voices in your head that you don’t even realize are there! Whether it be parents, teachers, friends, siblings, mentors, or just society in general…all with cute little expectations of who you are or should be. You might think you don’t conform to those expectations, and maybe you don’t fully…but those people and expectations influence you. Sometimes subconsciously.
What I have learned on my journey thus far is that, life is largely just about trial and error. Most of us don’t know exactly what we want or, exactly how to get it if we did! So if you find yourself unhappy in what you are doing, make a shift, change something. Try something new. In fact, keep trying new things until you find the thing that brings you joy. And more importantly, FAIL at some things! Yes, I know it’s counterintuitive in our society to embrace failure but not only is failure a great chance to learn, it can be a perfect reset button and put you on a path you never would have set out on otherwise. So go ahead, fail forward!
I found voiceover one day when I was interviewing a “source” as part of an investigation I was conducting. In the middle of my question to him he stops, looks at me and says “Have you ever thought about doing voiceover?” I had no idea what voiceover even was! I had never heard of it until that moment. Did anything come of that question he asked me that day? Well, not right away. Like most people I had bills to pay and although I dabbled in voiceover briefly, I stayed with the familiar life trajectory I was already on. But, the seed had been planted in my brain and eventually seeds sprout and grow if you feed them and care for them enough.
About five years later, after several moves and new career experiments to try to position myself geographically on the west coast (unsuccessfully), I took a subpar, menial, administrative job just to get back to California. My Intelligence career was over because I was unwilling to stay on the east coast–the hub for government jobs, particularly in my specialty. Was I crazy? Giving up job security, a potential retirement, and a stable paycheck just to live in the sunshine of California? By all accounts, uh..yes. But for the first time in years, I was following my heart instead of my head, and you know what? It felt like a relief. That is, until I actually had to start working at that menial job on the west coast. I thought I’d bide my time there temporarily until I found a proper Intelligence position somewhere in California. Alas, there were no Intelligence jobs here for me and truth be told I was sick of searching! Looking back now, that horrible administrative job was a huge blessing in disguise. I hated it so much that it got me to start soul searching again. However, this time I did it without fear because I had nothing to lose…I’d already given up everything.
I started thinking about entrepreneurship and how amazing it would be to build something that was my own. What if other people felt lost the way I did? What if I could help inspire other aspiring (female) entrepreneurs who are just starting out like me? I wanted to be CREATIVE. I wanted to combine my passions. I wanted to succeed on my own terms. I revisited the voiceover idea that had been floating around in my head for the last few years, as I struggled daily to just get out of bed and show up for my “real” job. So, I made a decision. I would be a creative entrepreneur. I would do voiceover! So, here I am. As for my other passions, well you’re looking at the other one. Writing. This blog is my story, my outlet, my experiences, my heart felt entrepreneurial journey and my connection to you.
Some of us are cut out for a traditional job and some of us, well….are not. If you aren’t sure what you should be doing in life, be easy on yourself. Give it time and really tap into the things that bring you joy. Be brave and patient. You just might find a view to a skill, even if it’s just a little peek! More importantly though, a skill you are passionate about.