The ‘W’ word - How I rapidly became the person I never thought I would.
The ‘W’ word and my realisation
The word I dreaded the most. The word I prevented others from mentioning the most. The word that made me feel socially embarrassed the most. ‘Work’.
Despite your location on the planet, one of the first questions (somewhere after name, between origin/education and definitely before hobbies) is “What do you do?”. At first it was a play on words for me to answer this, working within an International Tax team where there was actually no income tax allowed me to make a joke and move on to topics I wanted to speak about – the ‘me’ stuff……my hobbies and why I had most recently moved to Dubai etc.
I only had a very sudden realisation around 11 months (Nov ’17) into my full-time professional career within Finance that I was completely avoiding the topic of work - the most important contribution for a human as I now understand.
Often, I would ask friends not to mention work. I had even imposed ‘social rules’ with friends about the word. For each work reference, there would be a punishment that could include a dare or even taking a large sip of a drink. This was light-hearted, yet it still clouded my reality of the situation.
Who are these people?
I had always heard about people with ‘cool’ or ‘fun’ jobs. They all seemed so random, so broad and seemed to align so well with the person who held that role. I wanted to be like that – deep down I knew I had the capability, but something stopped me from exploring this side of my life – mainly because I didn’t know what that ‘cool/fun’ job looked like for me. This was my excuse.
I had also heard about those folks who loved their work. I questioned how work could add so much value to life and be the reason for someone to wake up each morning, striving to better themselves and those around them. Again, this seemed distant to me. It seemed that this was all happening in a world beyond mine, and it was.
This was becoming so confusing. As much as I initially knew that I would not get this “fun job that I loved’ with the International Tax team at the time, I knew it wouldn’t just happen. The successful people I personally know or have read about firmly state “there is no substitute to hard work”.
In addition to the hard work, these successful people who loved their job were all so different and unique. Ultimately, they were aligning their best skills within areas of interest and were comfortable with themselves.
Time for action
Between month 12 (Dec ’17) and month 14 (Feb ’18) I made drastic changes. I reached out to those I trusted the most, learnt more about those I admire from YouTube/Instagram, halted any ‘pointless’ socialising and put myself first (I will share more about this phase in another post).
I invested in myself – this occurred beyond my working hours. Typically, this entailed waking up at 5.20am during the working week (I was often exhausted after work and slept around 9.30/10pm) and spending 10+ a day over the weekends. I had difficult and awkward conversations with others and myself about determining my best skills and how to align those with a career.
‘Learning by doing’ is the technique that suits me best. I had to put myself out there and be vulnerable to be able to access my core in the way I need to at this point.
The immediate results and decision
By the end of month 16 (May ’18) so much had happened. Almost by coincidence. I was meeting people within worlds I never knew existed, my relationships became deeper and more meaningful and I was becoming more confident with embracing my true self.
Month 17 (June ’18) began with my resignation. A leap into the unknown – a world without a fixed plan, without a full-time job and without a salary. Many at the time said this was reckless, foolish and I was naïve – many still say this to date.
My new world
My new world began in August 2018. A career within Happiness and Wellbeing originated – my new month 1.
The ‘W’ word is now my most-used and favourite word and it is intertwined with almost everything I do and think about. As I type this at the end of month 5 (Dec ’18) – I am the happiest and healthiest I have ever been.