There are way too many people in this room right now, that are doing stuff they hate. Please stop doing that. There is no reason in [ insert any damn year ] to do shit you hate. None. Promise me you won’t. – Gary Vaynerchuck
A few years back I was working a temp office gig and a coworker confessed to me that she hated her job. She made good money, but the office environment was volatile and she spent more time crying in the bathroom than feeling valuable at her trade. She had a specialty degree in this field and thought that it justified her commitment to staying with the company despite her outward discontent. She was married to a generous, loving husband who’s salary was enough to give her a comfortable cushion, but that didn’t give her the courage to leave.
“What would you do if you took fear out of the equation?” I asked her with curiosity. “Start a pet grooming business!” she affirmed without hesitation. “Then, do that?” I nudged, pointing out the obvious.
So, she quit her job that day, wrote a business plan, and with the unconditional support of her family and friends, opened a wildly popular pet grooming center and spent the rest of her life in puppy coated bliss.
(Except what really happened was, she mumbled something about how it was “too complicated” as the hearts in her eyes faded and we never spoke again. I left the company shortly after that.)
That’s a damn sad story, right? The thing is, it’s not complicated. Stuck in a life you hate? Get the hell out of there and recreate yourself. Gary Vaynerchuk gave a speech in 2008 that changed my perspective in an instant (link above). Five of the most simple, jarring, useful word combinations you’ll ever hear are: STOP DOING SHIT YOU HATE.
I’ve always been a quitter. Just because you’re living one story doesn’t mean you’re stuck in it forever. I’ve quit smoking, I’ve quit jobs, I’ve ripped up contracts, I’ve ended relationships, I’ve dumped friends. When you wake up and realize your job, your partner, your habits or your life don’t serve you anymore, move on. Even if it takes some work.
Sometimes, quitting is the logical thing to do.
What’s the state of being most of us value most? Happiness, right? Joy, delight, feeling good. Happiness isn’t something we’re awarded in retirement to celebrate a long life of enduring misery. Happiness is a choice we make every single day. So if you’re catering to a life that makes you sick to your stomach, now’s the time to say goodbye to that nagging dread. Peace out. Drop the mic. Good riddance.
There’s a reason you hear self help authors, spiritual gurus, public figures, speakers, marketers, entrepreneurs and average Joe’s turned lifestyle designers hyping up the idea of “following your passion.” Passion isn’t just some buzzword. Living a life you love is not some radical, idealist, elusive dream. Passion creates meaning. Meaning defines us all.
If quitting your bullshit job to start a pet grooming business would make you happy, why the hell wouldn’t you do that? (Using 100% of my willpower to not type this entire blog post in CAPS, by the way.) If quitting the thing you hate the most opened up a universe of possibility, would you take the leap?
Take a big breath, and make a decision that will change you for the better. Ask yourself, what would excite you to get out of bed every morning? What lights you up? Choose that.
As Seth Godin says, “safe is risky.” Living an underwhelming life should be the thing that scares you most of all.