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Friday, 1 August 2014

10 Life Lessons Learned From Suddenly Quitting My Job - Jamie Flexman

Jamie Flexman is a guitar teacher who quit his job to pursue his passion. He is a writer and now runs a blog called Psycholocrazy to document his thoughts and struggles as he forges his own path in life. He shared some amazing life lessons he learnt from suddenly quitting his job. Read below:

We all feel lost from time to time. Society has a way of beating us down with its arbitrary life rules and expectations. Just when we think we have it nailed, the rug can be pulled from below and we end up with a crushing realisation that actually, we don’t have it all figured out. Questions arise, and you find yourself doubting your very existence. “Am I in the right career?” “Do I have the ability to rise through the ranks and increase my income?” “Is this it for me?”

I felt all of this and more. Until the age of 31 I felt trapped in a menial customer service position that began to eat away at my soul. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, but I knew with absolute certainty that something had to change. It did. When you back an animal into the corner it has no option but to come out fighting. I quit my job and it was the scariest moment of my life. 

Would I sink or swim? Well, 2 years later I have my own guitar tuition business and while it definitely wasn't easy – the lessons I have learned on the way will be invaluable as I continue moving forward. Hopefully, if you’re in a position where you are seeking to change your career or to start your own business, you can take a little something from the following 10 life lessons.


1. There is no such thing as the right time

Do you have a crazy life changing idea that you are putting off because the time just doesn’t feel right? You’re not the only one. I wrestled with my mind for years before I finally plucked up the courage to quit my job, and you know what? It was a colossal waste of time. Preparation is overrated. No matter how much thought, planning and care you put into something, you will always come up short.
Life doesn't give a damn about how prepared you are. It wants people with the balls to make something happen.
2. People will think you are crazy but that’s ok
We’re fragile beings. Our ego likes to protect our little selves from all the bad people in the world. Even though we don’t like to admit it, many of our life decisions are taken because we care about what other people think. It’s human nature. After quitting my job it didn't take long for the naysayers to crawl out of the woodwork and mock me for having ideas above my station. I heard it all;
“You can’t do that. How will you survive?” 
“You should have found another job first. You’ll regret it.”
“You’re insane!”
But you know what? You soon learn to ignore the haters and it’s impossible to please everyone, so in future it’s best to just live life by your own standards.

3. You learn to become responsible for your own actionsDoing something as drastic as quitting my job without really thinking it through, led me to a profound realisation; This is all down to me. I don’t have work colleagues to drag me down or a narcissistic manager to crush my soul on a daily basis. There is no one to blame but myself if this goes down the toilet. That’s the beauty of taking control of your life; you’re fully in the driving seat and the motivational surge you receive as a result of grabbing life by the balls is astounding.
4. Every problem faced becomes an end of level boss to defeat
Is life easy once you quit your safe job for a life of uncertainty? Hell no. It feels like an endless assault on the senses. You've heard of treading water? Well imagine treading treacle. Just keeping your head above the surface is a herculean task by itself. Forget trying to run a fledgling business. Putting food on the table and paying the rent suddenly become the only goals worth bothering with. But you learn to cope. And then you look for the next challenge that passes your way. You defeat that one too. In fact, you quickly learn that life isn't that hard after all. It’s just a video game and you've got invincibility mode enabled. You’re bulletproof.

5. Life isn't a linear process – there is no beginning, middle and end
I’ll admit; I believed that once I picked up a few students and started making a bit of cash, everything would sort itself out. How naïve…Just when things seemed to be moving forwards I would suffer a setback. The few students I had on my roster suddenly quit. No feedback, no apologies, nothing. Gone, just like that.And then I waited. It took me 6 months before I found a few more students to take their place. That’s a long time to wait around without any proper income. Even now, I have good months and bad months, but I have come to realise that it’s all about the process, not the destination.
Life is too big to concern yourselves with. The present moment is all that counts.

6. You can make up the rules as you go along

Who in their right mind would give up a safe job, their own apartment and independence for an uncertain life as a guitar teacher? On the face of it, it’s crazy. But I’ve always teetered on the edge of conformity – peering over the edge to see what is possible. Who quits their job at the age of 31 and moves back home? Who starts a degree at the same time because it seemed like a good idea? Who fills their days with German study sessions and rigorous guitar practice when they aren't working? Me. I do that, because I can. I’ve learned that confusing people with your day to day activities just means that you’re doing something right with your life.

7. Nobody can order you around, but you still need discipline
I have worked under some ridiculously inept managers in my time. Borderline psychopaths, bullies, bumbling buffoons and many other things that begin with the letter ‘B’; but they all have one thing in common… They can’t tell me what to do. Except, this led me to a strange realisation; without the structure and discipline of a full time job I became lazy. I needed my alarm clock and the threat of dismissal for not turning up on time to fuel my day. This is something I still struggle with. I am slowly improving but the procrastination monster still rears its ugly head from time to time. I've learnt that whatever we choose to do with our lives requires discipline to achieve greatness.

8. Fear is necessary for growth
I’ll let you in on a little secret. Life scares the hell out of me. I used to think that there was a big difference between successful people and the likes of me. That somehow they were born with superpowers that enable them to surge through life with confidence and swagger. This couldn't be further from the truth. Fear doesn't discriminate. It engulfs us all. In fact, successful people experience more fear than anyone else because they are putting their balls on the line every single day

If you’re feeling scared then it’s a good sign. You are pushing yourself further; stretching your comfort zone and experiencing something new and exciting. Accept and embrace fear because it’s the friend of exceptional people.

9. There will never be enough hours in the day

We always want more. If it’s not money, then it’s time. If it’s not time, then it’s success. If it’s not success, then it’s respect. If it’s not respect, then it’s money. It’s a vicious cycle – an addiction.
Life is a never ending quest to seek more of what we already have. But here is a novel idea… what would happen if we simply made better use of what we currently have? Of course, seeking to improve ourselves or our life situation is desirable but what is the point of acquiring more money if you can’t manage your current finances?

What’s the point in more time if you don’t make use of what you currently have? What’s the point in building a reputation if you allow complacency to set in? Everything; time, money and respect must first be earned and then utilised effectively. Do you only have $50 in your account? Stop binging on fast food and use that money wisely. Do you only know a few people who trust and respect you as a businessperson or as a brand? Word of mouth is powerful; keep these people on side and you’ll reap the rewards later. Do you only have 2 hours in the evening to spend with your loved ones? Make those 2 hours count. Successful people make the best of what they have whilst continually striving to improve.

10. Excellence is 100% – everything else is failure
For years I coasted through life – doing the absolute bare minimum. Hoping that no one would notice how my whole existence was a master class in incompetence and laziness. Everything from playing the guitar, my job, training in the gym and even my social interactions were all accomplished with this mentality. I felt like a fraud. I needed to change, and fast. To do this I had to take a long, hard look at myself and accept that the only way I was going to be able to achieve anything is with complete transparency.

No more lies. No more covering up the cracks. It was time to get brutal. I've discovered that success is a habit forged through a combination of time and effort. There are no shortcuts. Is it possible to put 100% into one area and then coast in another? For a while maybe, but eventually the lesser activity will start dragging the others down. Consistency is the key. Eliminate the fat from your life and put 100% into whatever remains. Cement the habit and don’t settle for second best.

Since implementing this mentality my output has improved dramatically. My guitar playing has improved. My business has more students than ever. I'm finding that my studies and my assignments are getting easier. I am training harder than ever before and my diet is in check. It’s not a coincidence.
By suddenly quitting my job I have finally learned how to live my life. Try it. See what happens.

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