It’s a very strange coincidence, but as I write this piece about redundancy, I realise that I’m sitting in the same coffee shop that I decided to walk into a year ago. To sit for hours and write about all the things I could do with my life. I knew there were endless possibilities. I had been made redundant several months before and so the whole day stretched out in front of me, like the months ahead also seemed to. I sat in this coffee shop for the best part of the day, just thinking and scribbling in my notebook. Little did I know how different my life would be a year later and how I would manifest many of the things I wrote down that day. Flash forward to the present day and I’m soon to be flying back to India. I’ve been supporting with the training on our social entrepreneurship volunteer’s Bootcamp. The third programme I’ve run with the organisation I co-founded – _SocialStarters. But how did I ever get to this place?
Redundancy. A word that can spread through an office faster than news that there’s free donuts on the 4th floor. I ask you now to just take a moment and to imagine that your boss has just approached you and told that you were losing your job. What do you think you’d feel..? Fear? Hurt? Would you be scared? Suddenly feel like you were entering the unknown? Worried about finding another job? Worried about would happen without a stable job? Afraid about not being able to pay rent? And the big question that enters with the empty space of redundancy..
WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH MY LIFE??!
There were many questions that ran through my mind at that time. But this last question I thought about every day for months to come..
For some of us who want to change careers or do something different, being in a well paid and stable job means not having to think about that question. It somehow numbs or distracts us from having to think about it too much. For most of my life, since I was very young, I’ve been aware that I have this ability to design my own life. That I also have an ability to do good, one we all have. I had felt sure when I was little that I would create an amazing life for myself, because I could choose to do anything I wanted to. A few years ago I found myself sitting in my office looking out of the window and wondering where that person had gone. I had such hopes for myself, big dreams to make a difference, to start something myself. But that wasn’t what I had created for myself and I was starting to think perhaps that life I had dreamed of was only a fantasy. My well paid and stable job was a distraction from the life I wanted to be living and it stayed that way for many years.
When I was facing redundancy, I was very daunted about leaving the organisation I’d been with for 6 years. My safety net. Was I ready to answer the question the big L question..?
I decided it was. I started to realise what an opportunity I’d been presented with..To dive into the unknown, to explore, create, learn and connect with my passions and values. A chance to force myself to wake up and start creating the life I wanted. It felt like walking into the wilderness, as I was unsure where I would end up. But I knew that it was a journey that would lead me somewhere. It’s difficult in practice, but it’s true that sometimes it’s better to worry less about the destination and focus more on the journey. So over the months after my redundancy I chose with my new financial and time freedom, to experiment with things I hadn’t before. Here are some of the things I did which led me to the life I had dreamed of. They may seem like small things, but don’t underestimate the what can happen when you start to make choices based on your passions and values.
- Learn French. Ok so it doesn’t have to be French. But they’ll be something that you’ve always been meaning to study or learn about but have never had time. Well now you do! I studied Social Entrepreneurship which was the start of my journey of discovery.
- Be an intern. What freedom to be able to try out different roles in organisations. Maybe you always wondered what it would be like to work in publishing, or a charity or in TV production. You now have the chance to try it out.
- Explore. Whether it’s far afield or somewhere close by, take the chance to travel and explore. We can learn so much from visiting other countries and experiencing other cultures so let the world be your oyster. You might learn more about yourself than you thought you would.
- Attend talks. When I started attended talks from Escape the City, I started to open my mind up to other possibilities, hear from people who had started up their own projects and meet interesting people who felt like me, that there must be more to life then the 9-5.
- Get lost. It’s safe and easy to be on a path, but when you get lost it means that you might end up somewhere you never expected. Getting lost at times for me felt scary. It’s not easy when we’re conditioned to know where we’re going. But when you get to grips with this feeling of being lost, it’s pure freedom.
- Find your tribes. Last year my world also opened up when I found so many different communities who believed in the same things as me and who shared the same interests or passions. And it was all just through just searching online. Whatever your interests, you can find people in the world who share them and I encourage you to engage with your tribes. This can also lead to new opportunities or friendships.
- Don’t panic. It’s easy to listen to your inner voice telling you that without a job you’re lost in the world. To worry about what you’re going to do and where you’re going in life. But over time this panic will fade as you start to embrace the possibilities of your new life (helped by following the above points).
And the most important point on the list..
- Sit in a coffee shop. Or wherever it is that you feel relaxed. And just stay there for as long as you like, writing out all the ideas you have for what you want in your life. Manifesting the life you want to design will affect the choices you make – where you take yourself, who you meet with and what you learn more about. This ultimately brings you closer to the life you want.
So redundant or not, I would say to follow these points if you want to go on a journey of self discovery. To connect with your passions and values. And through doing these things it might just lead you to the life you have always wanted.
It led me to mine.