Art emergency exitOne year ago today, I walked into my manager’s office and gave her the shock of her life – well, maybe not THE shock, but a kicker, nonetheless.

Today I celebrate the day I resigned from my position in corporate America.  Some may call it insanity to leave a well-paying job where you’ve earned the trust of management to get the job done – to come and go as you please.  Some may not understand why someone who had climbed so hard would be willing to leave it.

Passion. Oh man, the desire was strong to do what I was being paid to do.  Everything else lined up so very nicely. Work began not just to follow me home, but became a backpack I carried around, keeping me from really being present.  It was the same at work where my backpack was full of all the undone I had left at home. I wanted to want to be there but I wasn’t enjoying being in either place.

Leaving a great (and not extremely demanding) position didn’t make sense until the day I was putting my son to bed and he asked me, “Mom, why do you look so sad?” My immediate thought was “I’m not sad, this is just how my face looks,” which scared the ever-loving crap out of me.  Who wants to look sad as their “normal” face?

When I was very young, I watched my Dad work hard, achieve a comfortable material life, and lose it. While the family turned out fine and we all grew up to be comfortable and happy, the experience was pivotal for me. Having it all, losing it, and starting over became something I was familiar with but preferred to avoid – like eating sushi (I tried it, I didn’t like it, and you can’t make me order it). In fact, I spent my whole adult life building a career that would protect me from hardship. Small risks were ok, but I was scared,  panic-attack-level, to lose that paycheck and title and all the benefits of a life that go with it.

follow your road

So, why in the world am I happy I resigned? Why would I revel in leaving behind the corporate cache and prestige?

I got my passion back, campers! The fire that used to burn brightly in my 20’s, the fire that fueled my desire to stay up late if I had to and work hard has returned. The delight in doing what I love cannot be contained. My friends will hear me say that this is the hardest thing I have ever done. The risk exists that this may not work out the way I plan it to but the real opportunity is that it will work out in a way I can’t even begin to imagine, orchestrate, or manipulate.

I may be crazy for leaving one career, but I am crazy happy having started the journey toward what lies ahead.

What are you waiting on – what is holding YOU back? Is there something small you can do this week to stretch your courage muscle to risk the benefit of something better?

Check back later this week for the top 10 things I’ve learned since resigning…