“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ~ E.E. Cummings
This blog has been sleeping for a little over a year. Those best kept intentions (i.e., the one I had about continuing this blog after the course for which it was created ended) sometimes get put on hold when life takes turns in directions you don’t quite expect.
I had little time to write in 2015, because I spent a majority of 2015 letting go. Choosing to let go, in fact. It was the major theme of my life for the last year. I was letting go on steroids. And… it was empowering and liberating. Courageous and brave. Yet, incredibly confusing, frightening and stressful – even though it was my choice! I was letting go of so much of what I had known; I felt like I was floating in an abyss of uncertainty. That’s not an easy thing for anyone, let alone someone who thrives on strategy and planning! There were some really low moments that gave way to some serious contemplation.
A life reset
In July of last year, I made a really difficult decision to leave the job and organization I had been with for nearly eight years. There was a time where I would never fathom leaving the organization. It was a special place and I felt like I grew up there, learned so much and made incredible connections with incredible people. I credit that organization and time in my life for enabling me to build a foundation for self-discovery, fear-busting and exploring my calling. I left it with a tremendous amount of gratitude, satisfaction and accomplishment.
My decision to leave was one that had been brewing for some time. I had spent the previous four years engaging in personal development and leadership training at work and outside of work. The funny thing about personal change is that the more you learn about yourself and become more confident in who you are within, the more you start to question the things in your life outside yourself. I didn’t realize how much I had changed until I started feeling out of sync with my work. I wanted more challenge. I wanted more opportunities to grow. I wanted to do something different. I wanted to make a meaningful difference.
Living a dream?
There are many people who dream about leaving their jobs. Maybe you’re one of them. I lost count of the amount of times people have said to me, “You’re living a dream!” And I guess yes, to some extent that’s true. But in all honesty, it hasn’t felt very dreamy. There is A LOT of emotional guck that comes with making such a huge decision. Mind you, and I won’t get into specifics, I left in one of the best ways a person could leave their job. My life’s circumstances allowed me to afford the opportunity, as well as time to make thoughtful decisions about next steps. That is an incredible gift. But the emotional rollercoaster that followed? No way could I have predicted that!
Being able to take some time off led to more letting go. Letting go of old ways of doing things, how I view work and career, expectations of where I should be at this point in my life (mine and society’s), concepts of time, old patterns and limiting beliefs, and the list goes on. All that letting go created more uncertainty and a lot of anxiety, but also… a blank canvas. And how awesome is that?
Letting go of people
One of the hardest lessons in letting go I had to learn had to do with people. When you’re making major changes in your life, you have to surround yourself with people who genuinely, deeply support you. There will be days when you feel like you’re losing your mind – when doubt creeps in and gets the best of you. And it will happen over and over – even when you think you’ve outmaneuvered it. On those days, you need people who truly believe in you and have your back. Those ones who will give you their shoulder to lean on and who won’t mind wiping your tears (and boogers – yes, that’s the level of support I’m talking about!).
When you speak up or choose to make big changes in your life, you will encounter people who are not supportive. Some will never understand your decisions, and that’s OK; however, those people who are for you will respect you for your decisions even if they never understand them. Those who don’t, can’t or won’t respect you: LET THEM GO. They are more concerned about being right than being your friend. Wish them well (they need it) and walk away. You need people who want to help build you up – not those who endeavour to cut you down.
I’ve been a little all over the place in this post, and that’s kind of how the last several months have been for me. I’m riding the wave of uncertainty and while I’ve wiped out a few times, I’m learning to get back up and enjoy it. I envision this blog reawakening to be about transition; it’s what I know right now, and I think it’s key to living a life of integrity – letting go to grow, evolving, and seeking ways to become better and to serve others. These are all topics I want to delve into, while saving room for those things that uncertainty bubbles up. I hope you will continue to join me through the highs and lows of this journey, and that some part of my story helps you make sense of yours.
© Fazeena Haniff and Live with Integrity Blog, 2014-2016.