As I hid in my office, hiding my puffy eyes from my co-workers, I kept thinking,
“Why am I still here?”
“Is this job really worth it?”
“Am I growing?”

I was being overworked, underpaid, and the more I examined my time there, the more I realized I wasn’t being valued or growing in any form or fashion. Raise your hand if you’re in the same boat.

Why did I stay? Two reasons: fear and a steady paycheck.

Fear of financial insecurity.
Fear of not being good enough for freelancing again.
Fear of failing and falling into another job like this.
The list could go on.

I knew something had to change. I knew I was destined for something more. But I let these fears hold me down for over a year. The thing with fear is, the longer we let it have a grip on us, the more we believe it. They become truths in our lives, and when I say truth I mean lies. They are instilled within us and the battle becomes a bit harder. Believing in fears is draining. Ridiculously draining. It prohibits any and all personal growth.

Again, something in my spirit told me it was time to face my fears, yet I couldn’t bring myself to do what needed to be done. Then I came across this quote?

Damn.
Was this company something I was passionate about? No.
Was this company helping me grow to becoming a better designer? No.
Was this company encouraging me and inspiring me to live my own dreams? Hell No.
I was hired to build someone else’s dream, not my own.

No wonder why I wasn’t growing. It was time. I put my two week notice in.

The best way to move past our fears is by exposing ourselves to them.

In an odd way, growth requires fear. It requires sacrifice. It requires you take risks even if you don’t know what’s on the other side. If you are comfortable with where you’re at and nothing is scaring you, you have to ask yourself if you’re growing. If you think you’re better than everyone else, and you can’t possibly grow anymore, you’re wrong. There’s always room to grow.

Not too surprising, a few days after turning in my two weeks, I was asked not to come back. Was I prepared for this? No. Was I afraid? No. It ended up being a blessing in disguise. Thus started a new chapter in my life, another fear conquered, and a new path to take steps of faith in. Now I look back and I’m at peace knowing this was the right move and I’m wondering why I didn’t do it sooner!

For those of you reading this who are like “I feel you, but I can’t leave not yet”, let me encourage you with a few things I learned during these last few months that have helped my personal growth:

1. Know Your Worth

No one knows you better than yourself. You know your strengths and you know your weaknesses. Sometimes when we are in emotionally draining situations whether it’s an abusive workplace, relationship, schoolwork, etc. we can easily forget our worth and purpose.

Let me tell you something: YOU HAVE A PURPOSE. You have the opportunity to change lives for the better every single day! If for any reason you forget it or you’re doubting it, reach out to those who are closest to you. It’s encouraging when your friends and family speak truth into your life in these confusing times. When you recognize your value, the quicker you are to leave these bad situations.

2. Set Goals & Create a Plan

If you want to leave your current situation you’ve got to set goals and make a plan. I didn’t just quit and hope things would go well. What I didn’t mention above is that for the past year I had been praying and mediating about quitting. And even though I heard, “Quit. You need to leave” time and time again, I ignored it.

What pushed me a bit more was that out of no where, every single day from the beginning of the year I was getting gigs in my inbox. I set goals with how often I’d like to work and the clients I would like, then I made a plan with those job requests I had coming in. I was prepared so when I put my two weeks in, I wouldn’t stress about what to do next.

I know not everyone will be in the same situation. If you want to leave your relationship, job, whatever it is, you have to set some goals. I would even encourage you to write them down. Studies show that those who write down their goals accomplished significantly more than those who don’t. Once you have those nailed down, I would encourage you to pray over them, or meditate, or just tape them on your fridge and think bout them often. Remain positive. Then create your escape plan.

What will you say?
What are you going to do once you leave?
Do you have a support group of friends and family you can count on for encouragement?
Do you have enough financial support? Etc.

3. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Don’t be afraid to try new things. As I said before, conquering fear is the best way to grow. You learn so many new things about yourself and others. If any of you have been to Chicago, you’ve probably seen/heard of the Skydeck. Yeah, it’s a glass box you step out on (yeah the one that broke a few years ago). It’s terrifying. But once you take the first step out and you realize you’re okay, it’s actually quite fun and beautiful. You would never know until you take the leap of faith and try.

But getting out of your comfort zone doesn’t have to be as extreme as that. It can be picking up a book instead of listening to a podcast. Or attending a small workshop instead of a watching a YouTube video. Or walking to the store instead of driving. Switching up the way we do and learn things is important too. It helps build confidence and naturally encourages you to try more new things.

In the end, don’t be afraid to take risks if you know it’s better for you.

We weren’t created to just eat, sleep, work a crappy job, pay bills and die. We were made for so much more. Don’t be afraid to set off on a new journey of personal growth and development to not only better yourself, but those around you.