Updated: Mar 16, 2019
My palms are sweating and my right knee is jiggling nervously. I twitch as the office door opens, and groan internally as I see the director enter the room.
"Here goes," I tell myself, my brain racing through the different ways this could play out.
"Jeff, can I have a quick word in private," I ask, fighting to stop my voice cracking. He looks at me, somewhat surprised, and nods almost indistinguishably. I follow him silently into the back office, my mind visiting every insecurity and doubt hidden away that I never even realised I had.
What if this is a huge mistake?
What if you don't find anything else quick enough?
What about "Not Quitting"?
Jeff sits me down, opposite him, at the glass topped steel table, his fingers interlaced peering at me quizzically over his spectacles.
"What can I do for you Jordan?" he asks, peering into my soul.
I launch into a tirade of information, drowning him in the management issues, workload, and lack of training that I've been struggling with over the past few months. I talk him through the reasons that the company processes are reducing the efficiency of the workers and that the management structure is fostering a toxic environment. As I work towards my final point, I stop mid-sentence, look him in the eye and say quietly;
"Jeff, I'm just not happy." He looks at me, smiling for the first time. Very quickly, it dawns on me.
I don't need 101 reasons to get up and make a change. I don't need to rationalise my every decision to ensure that anyone around me backs up my conclusion. If I am unhappy then I need to aware enough of myself to identify the problem and be brave enough to get off my arse and do something about it.
Since leaving home at 16 I've been living to work and working to survive. My happiness has taken the lowest point possible on my list of priorities often slotting behind other aspects of my life that I have to focus on. I've been working in sales for the past 8 years, despite having said ever since I can remember that I didn't want to be a salesman and that I didn't want to work in an office. What went wrong?!
At some point, over the years, I trained myself to place more emphasis on what others thought of me and what I did with my life, and less focus on what I thought of myself. I was finding myself working in unethical environments with unethical people and was constantly fighting the internal struggle that this caused. This turned me from a quick-learning employee always willing to do more, into a manager's worst nightmare and sometimes a toxic influence on an otherwise harmonious team.
True happiness can only come from either passion or contentment. You can be happy either through being satisfied with what you have, or from the passion of chasing your dreams.
Doggedly working in a job without enjoyment or without getting any closer to your goals isn't perseverance, it's fear of the unknown.
Personally over my career, despite hard work and a natural aptitude for relationship building and sales, I got no closer to my personal goals than where I was when I started out. This is partly through not having a job that links into my personal aspirations at all, but also due to an uninspiring environment sucking my creativity and my get-up-and-go.
I turned to drugs and other corrosive behaviours to try and fill a void. I had a deep fear that I was wasting my life, battling with an equally deep fear of admitting that I had wasted the last 8 years doing something I hate. I tried to numb the pain of this internal conflict with cannabis but instead numbed almost every aspect of my personality that made me an individual.
And suddenly it hit me. Fear was in the driving seat. Fear of poverty was stopping me leaving the security of a permanent job. Fear of failure was keeping me in the same place and fear of rejection was stopping me facing up to the fact I was unhappy.
Fear is an important part of the human experience. It helps us understand where we need to take care, keeps us out of danger and inhibits us doing things that are harmful. When fear takes over, however, we can become frozen, like a rabbit in headlights finding solace only in repetition, routine and familiarity.
I handed in my month's notice without having even started looking for another job.
I am moving to the French Alps, without ever having been or even knowing how to ski.
I'm leaving my girlfriend of 4 years to pursue my dream whilst she studies for hers.
Surprisingly, I've never felt calmer, and had more faith in my own ability to not just survive, but to thrive.
Fear has been the driving force keeping you stuck in any negative situation. Be brave enough to change your life for the better. Jump.
“First you jump off the cliff and you build wings on the way down.” – Ray Bradbury
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