I was chatting with my friend today who has been out of work for a while now. She’s one of the sharpest people I know, but she’s still been struggling for a few months in finding a job in tech.
In the beginning, she loved the unemployed life. A life-long overachiever, it was almost a relief for her to be laid off from what was sure to become the fast track to burnout.
Suddenly her day was her own: She had time for hobbies, for exercise, for friends. She still had the afterglow of being employed, which made her desirable. She wasn’t worried about getting a job right away.
She enjoyed the freedom… Until she didn’t.
At some point, the freedom became suffocating. She was waking up purpose-less. The hobbies weren’t fulfilling. And meeting up with friends had become a painful comparison game as even the ones who started off unemployed along with her were finding their place in their careers.
I’m an entrepreneur, so there was no comparison game between us. Were were playing totally different games. Which made it easy for her to open up to me.
“I know I’m not a loser,” she said to me as we walked, “but I’ve been in my head for so long that I can’t think of anything that even excites me about going back to work.”
She leaned against the traffic light we were waiting at and said, “You know, it’s really exhausting to spend time with yourself.”
Boy, do I know about that.
When I set out to build my business, I was the same way -- crazy afterglow, sought-after, exuding confidence, sweating and spitting the certainty of my inevitable success. It’s easy when you’re starting out.
And then at some point you realize, it’s going to be harder than you thought.
You start getting glimpses of what you’re REALLY up against, and it ain’t pretty.
There are so many moving parts, there are so many things that could go wrong at any given moment, and making the wrong move could cost you the client (or in my friend’s case, the interview or job offer).
It’s tough to know what to spend time on, which of the things you’re doing ACTUALLY make a difference and which are just a waste of time, designed to keep you busy.
But most of all… It’s hard to spend time with yourself.
When you’re job searching for a long time (just like when you’re trying to get a business of the ground for a long time), you get to meet parts of you that you’d rather not.
Despair, fear, shame, anger, helplessness, guilt, desperation. Just a handful of the places that were my emotional default, and I know are the emotional default for some of you.
I know how much it hurts.
It’s enough to make apathy sound extremely appealing.
But apathy is not the solution. When you cross the line to apathy, you’ve virtually guaranteed your failure. Because you’ve lost the fight in you. You’ve given up.
There are ways to overcome these incredibly ugly, weakening, unproductive emotions. To move through them and emerge as a winner on the other side.
I was fortunate enough to discover those, so that today I live in victory, in possibility, in gratitude, in joy.
And if you’re dealing with any of what I’ve described… Then I want to help you live here, too. Please don’t hesitate to reach out: grab a spot on my calendar and we can talk about where you are, where you want to go, and how to get there.