Derailed (And Why Day Jobs are for Suckers)

January 28, 2010. A cold, snowy morning in Chicago…

That was the day that everything changed.

When I got fired, just a couple months prior to the most important day of my life, I felt lost. Confused. Hurt. Shocked. Angry. Scared.

I remember driving home with a box full of my stuff, crying to my Mom. Crying to my wife. Crying to anyone who would listen. Anyone who would pick up the phone and tell me that it was going to be okay.

I thought to myself, “Everyone who doubted me all along was right”. There was a moment where everything seemed lost. When all felt hopeless. That I was screwed and that the end of the world was approaching.

But then, very shortly thereafter, something changed. Everything changed.

I thought back to something I had written only a couple weeks prior:

“As human beings, we are inherently afraid. Afraid of failure, afraid of what other people will think of us, afraid of being alone, afraid of change and the unknown, and afraid to let ourselves go and step outside of our comfortable little environment – our tight-knit circle of friends – never wanting to leave the path we’ve been told we’re “supposed” to take.

I’ve been there. Hell, I’m still there sometimes. I’ve let my fear control and define who I am. It took me a long time to realize that sometimes, even when it seems ridiculous or even inappropriate, you just have to let yourself go – and be YOU – in the purest sense of the word – you have to connect with what makes you unique and tap into your full potential. We’re told all the time that you have to do what’s best for you – but when you take a step back and think – are you actually doing it? Can you honestly say you feel like you’re the master of your own destiny, or are you riding on the coattails of faith in hopes that it will lead you in the right direction?

If you’re wandering around wondering how to take that first step – how to quit your job and find something better, move to a new place, try a new food, get back into working out – whatever it is, big or small – just do it…You can do whatever you set out to once you’re ready and believe in yourself.

To get there, you have to step outside your comfort zone – you have to throw away being content and rock the boat a bit until you figure things out. You have to experiment and try new things – sometimes without a back up plan. It’s not easy, it can’t always be calculated and strategic – but causing a riff every now and then and introducing a little “chaos” into your lifestyle is sometimes the only way to get things done.”

Little did I know that the advice I was looking for, the person I wanted to answer the phone to tell me everything was going to be okay, the voice of reason and confidence, was within me. It was me.

And suddenly, I felt free. I was free. And ever since, I’ve been in pursuit of freedom.

A couple years later, I’m running my own business, cherishing every day I have in front of me because I know that it’s my day to create. It’s my day to own. 

But I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for that car ride home, sobbing, more vulnerable than I’ve ever been. It was that moment of derailment, where all felt hopeless, when the ships had burned and I was stuck swimming in the middle of the ocean, that changed everything.

In that moment I found comfort in trusting others. I accepted support. I allowed myself to be vulnerable. I embraced emotions. I understood.

And then I got to work. I persevered. I hustled. I overcame. I tried. I created. I learned. I did. 

Maybe we should get fired from our day jobs more often. Our day job of being in a broken relationship. Our day job of living in the wrong place. Our day job of pursuing the wrong path.

Our “day jobs”, whatever they may be, hold us back from the things we should really be doing. The things we want. The things we love.

It’s up to you if you’ll let them define you, or if you’ll be the one to define. And while nobody can go back and start a new beginning anyone can start today in making a new ending.

What about you? Have you been faced with a moment that threw you off course? How did you deal? How has it helped in where you find yourself today?

(Photo credit)