I know many of you have read about Deanna Mulligan stepping back from her career for two years. She was 41 at the time and in the prime of her career. Now she is CEO of Guardian Life Insurance; a company that was once her client. What a great move. I, too, decided to do the same thing at 29. I was in the prime of my career, lived in one of the best apartments EVER, had a great circle of friends, and life was great. However, I was exhausted.
In October 2018, I retired early from the company I started in 2007. Many would say that being able to retire at 29 is a great accomplishment, but retiring early was a much needed step at that time in my life. As a kid, all I ever wanted to be was CEO of a large company. I made it happen, but by the time I reached the peak of my career, I was exhausted. I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Here’s why:
I focused too much on who was on the journey with me.
- I felt like a bad ass owning my business, modeling, and acting in my twenties. I was living the life many people dreamed of. However, I wanted certain people to go with me and it didn’t happen. I felt entitled because I was the only one I knew doing what I was doing, so I tried to figure out why so I could change their minds. Even though, I was a confident woman, I tried to prove myself to the people who rejected me because I felt entitled to.
I tried to control my life.
- One of the biggest mistakes we make in life is trying to control what happens. It’s a defense mechanism because we are afraid of getting hurt and/or failing. I had a goal, I knew the steps I wanted to take to get there, and I had a vision of how the outcome would be. I wanted everything to be perfect.
I reacted to everything.
- If you didn’t give me my way, I didn’t like you and wanted you to pay. THE WORST ATTITUDE TO HAVE. The worst part about me reacting this way is that it’s not me at all. I was afraid that if the vision in my head didn’t go as I planned it to, that it was going to set me back or I was going to fail. My biggest fear was failing, but my definition of failing was things not working out the way I THOUGHT they should. What I wasn’t mature enough to understand is that even if things don’t happen my way, doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen.
I forced things to happen.
- You were not going to tell what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. I was so determined to get what I wanted, that if you didn’t support it, you were my enemy. Even, if you had good intentions.
What did this cost me:
I put myself into debt.
I forced myself into depression and having suicidal thoughts.
I didn’t focus on the woman I knew I could be and wanted to be.
I missed out on opportunities.
I didn’t allow others to fail, make mistakes, and be where and who they are.
I hurt others.
I was angry, frustrated, and easily irritated all the time.
I became prideful and entitled.
Taking a break from my career and normal life routine opened my eyes to who I truly was and how damaging things were becoming in my life. It was bad because I was TOO focused on what I wanted and not focused enough on what I truly needed. Here is what taking a one-year break from my career taught me:
- Just because you can’t do anything at the moment, doesn’t mean that your skills, talent, gift, and purpose go away.
- What’s meant for you, is ONLY for you.
- Jealousy and envy of what someone else has or are doing, takes away your focus on what is important to your purpose.
- Life isn’t fair, but when you focus on YOU, the things meant for you will come and if it doesn’t it wasn’t meant for you to have.
- When you rush things, you open the door for things that are not meant to be part of your life, and it could hurt you in the long run.
- Life isn’t perfect, so stop expecting negative things to not happen. There is always going to be things going on, but how you deal with it is important.
- Titles, the amount of money you have, who you know, where you’re from, how you look, how smart you think you are and what you have accomplished DOESN’T mean you will reach your fullest potential. You get there by appreciating where you are, those who love and support you, and taking care of you and what you have now.
“If something is not really given, you can never really have it. You do not really have love, when you force someone. You just have resentment. You do not really have success, when you force it. You really have anxiety. You do not really have respect, when you force it. You really just have anger.” – Unknown
I was afraid and I allowed my fear to overtake everything in my life. I still have a few things I need to heal from and overcome, but it doesn’t mean that I can’t choose to make the right decisions. Now, I am back in my original career, I have a six-figure job, with full benefits and it allows me to travel a lot. I live in one of the greatest cities and I am happier than I have been in years. Most importantly, I am back to doing what I love. 2019 was one of the best years of my life and I am proud of the decision I made to better myself and my life.