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Editor’s Note: Guest post by Stacey Curnow.

It’s agonizing isn’t it?

You know you don’t belong in your job. Sure, it puts food on the table and keeps a roof over your head, and with the economy the way it is, you should probably feel grateful for having a job at all, but you wonder…

Could you make it on your own? Could you take the leap and be your own boss? Could you get up every morning and actually be paid well to do what you love?

A part of you thinks you could. A part of you thinks you would be great at it. A part of you believes doing anything less would be a waste of your God-given talent.

But that’s the problem: it’s only a part.

The rest of you thinks about quitting your job and wants to throw up. It worries about being homeless, looking like a loser, and ruining your child’s life.

“Be rational,” it says. “Who are you to want so much? Just be happy with what you’ve got.”

And so you end up in knots, tossing and turning at four in the morning as the two sides war within you. Which one is telling the truth? Which one is lying?

You just can’t tell, and the uncertainty of it is driving you crazy…

I know, because I’ve been there

Three months ago, I did something crazy:

After thirteen years as a nurse-midwife, I resigned from my staff position at a hospital.

I’ve always been the financial provider in my family, supporting my husband as he pursues his dream of writing the great American novel, but one day, I just wasn’t happy with it anymore.

I had noticed, however, that what I loved most about my work as a midwife was talking with my patients about their hopes for their lives and their families. I realized that I was not only helping them give birth to their babies -­ I was helping them give birth to their dreams.

And then, two years ago, I had the epiphany, “These women need a midwife for their LIFE.” and my personal coaching business was born. I built it while I continued to work the same hours at the hospital.

It’s required me to work a lot of late nights and weekends, but when my clients tell me that I’ve helped them accomplish dreams they had all but given up on, it makes it all worth it. In fact, it’s all I want to do.

I love my business and it’s grown a lot over the last two years, but not enough to support my family.

So I should’ve stayed at my hospital job, right?

I couldn’t do it

I saw my friends being supported by their husbands as they pursued their creative dreams, and I looked at my husband, and I thought, “Why should they get to pursue their passions and I don’t? When would it be my time?”

It made me feel jealous and powerless and taken advantage of, and I couldn’t stand it. Yes, I want my husband to become the next JK Rowling, but I can’t wait forever. I was using food and reality television to fill the void of wanting what I couldn’t have, and that created more pain I didn’t need.

Suddenly I understood men who come home after a long day and need a Scotch or two before dinner. Quite frankly, it sucks to feel like your dreams are drifting away while you’ve got a family to support, and sometimes you just want to check out.

But I don’t want to be that man. This is my life, and I don’t want to check out for one minute. I don’t want my husband to be that man either. I want both of us to pursue our dreams and support our family at the same time.

Why does it have to be so damn hard?

Your ego wants to keep you safe (and mediocre)

Whether you call it your Ego, or your “voice of reason”, or—my favorite—your inner critic, there is a part of your psyche that wants to protect you. And if that means sacrificing your dreams, so be it. To your Ego, your survival is the only thing that counts, and your dreams are nothing more than a dangerous distraction.

But that doesn’t mean you have to believe it.

The truth is, your Ego is just another voice inside your head. You need to view it as a trusted advisor who wants you to think about the risks involved before you do anything unconventional. It’s prudent to listen to that voice, but you’re by no means obligated to obey it. In fact, challenging it on a regular basis is probably one of the best things you can do.

And how do you do that?

Ask powerful questions

The key to coming to terms with the Ego is to ask it powerful questions. Asking, “I’ve always struggled financially, so I guess I’m just not supposed to be an artist, right?” is not a powerful question. But asking, “Of the successful artists I admire, who would be willing to mentor me?” is.

“Who would care what I have to say anyway?” is not a powerful question. But asking, “When I believe there is great work inside me, what am I doing?” is—because it leads you in the direction of your dreams.

Small questions are powerful too. “What is the first small step I can take on the road to my dreams?” is an excellent question, and “What’s the next small step?” is a great follow-up.

Engage your Ego in a dialogue around powerful questions, and I promise you’ll receive good answers. In fact, you know you’re asking a good question by the quality of your answer. If you don’t like the answer, change the question! The point is to free up the voice of your passion and determination, and tone down the voice of your Ego and fears.

But wait, there’s more.

Plan for the worst-case scenario

Your Ego has another tool in its toolbox and it’s called The Worst-Case Scenario. Make no mistake, the worst-case scenario is daunting, but it’s never a good reason to abandon your dreams. How do you deal with it? Think about possible crises before you start any passion-driven work, and decide beforehand what you would be willing to do in the face of them.

For example, before I started my business I made an agreement with my Ego (and my husband) that it would be time to quit if I ever couldn’t pay the bills. Yes, I could tap every bit of our savings and invest them in my business, but I would never put anything on a credit card that I couldn’t pay at the end of the month. I’ve kept that agreement.

I’ve also considered the mother of all worst-case scenarios: being homeless, looking like a loser, and ruining my son’s life. And I came up with a plan. If my business doesn’t support my family fast, I’m willing to move us to Guatemala, where we can live well on the rental income from our house.

Now, living in Guatemala may not be the price you’re willing to pay, but are you willing to consider the worst thing that could happen to you (and your family) if you were to pursue your dreams? Can you acknowledge that there is always something you could do to make it better?

Answer “yes,” and you can get on with the business of doing your great work, because the world is waiting.

The World Needs You

You may continue to feel fear — the Ego is a white-knuckle flyer even when you coax it onto the plane—but if you can remind your Ego of your agreements, you’ll stop feeling scared out of your mind.

The good news is that you’re on this path for a reason. The world doesn’t need more people mired in mediocrity, waiting to punch out at the end of the day and knock back a stiff drink. We need you to fulfill your purpose and become truly alive.

So challenge those voices of “reason” inside your head. Plan for the worst-case scenario. And no matter what, never stop believing in yourself, because regardless of what anyone says, you can live the life of your dreams.

Now go for it!

Stacey Curnow is a nurse-midwife and a mentor who helps you give birth to your BIG dreams. You can find out more about Stacey here.

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199 Responses to How To Quit Your Job (Even When You’re Scared Out Of Your Mind)

    • On
    • May 17, 2011 at 7:51 am
    • Gabrielle
    • Said...

    Thank you for this, Stacey. I quit my job 2 years ago and created my own business. It’s not always white clouds and unicorns, but I’m lucky to be here for my girls every afternoon. I continue to afford our lifestyle and enjoy the creative side of it and networking. I’m much happier than when I was driving in Atlanta traffic 4 hours a day (yes, 4 hours a day).

    I like your agreement with your Ego. I’m still up for the challenge and working it as best I can. :) Thank you for your story!

    • Ahaha! I nearly spit my tea out my nose at “not always white clouds and unicorns”! Indeed it isn’t. It’s high time we admit unicorns don’t exist anywhere. A business isn’t a failure becuase it doesn’t have any. Thanks for the great comment!

      • On
      • May 17, 2011 at 8:28 am
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Gabrielle!

      Thanks so much for your encouraging comment! It’s so inspiring and reassuring to read that you have tread this path before me.

      And like Jen I love the mention of unicorns: I don’t know the story, but Kris Carr of Crazy Sexy Life fame talks about them a lot – so maybe *she* has found them!

      Since they don’t frequent my neighborhood, I’m reassured by your story that it’s not about fairy tales, but about creating a lifestyle that truly serves you, your family and the world. And it is possible.

      Thanks again for your comment!

    • Gabrielle,
      I can definitely relate to you and the Atlanta traffic! I have lived in the metro area all my life, so I feel your pain! I am glad you were able to leave your job and commute behind!
      Bernice

      • On
      • May 17, 2011 at 4:59 pm
      • Corinne
      • Said...

      Stacey – what an incredible article!!! So well written and descriptive. REading this has a big impact on how I see the process of growing my business. Thanks so much!!

        • On
        • July 1, 2011 at 7:22 pm
        • Stacey
        • Said...

        Oh, no, Corinne! I just realized (after Shawdra’s recent comment appeared) that I never responded to your kind comment!

        Thanks so much for letting me know that my post resonated with you and I’d love to hear how it has influenced your thoughts about your business.

        Now a little over month later it would be wonderful to hear how you’ve taken action. Please report back here!

      • On
      • July 1, 2011 at 4:23 pm
      • Shawndra
      • Said...

      Thank you Stacey and Jennifer. This post was exactly what I needed to read today. I just quit my job teaching two weeks ago (I know, I know, I’m on summer break, but I notified I wouldn’t be back in August). Anyway, yesterday I completely doubted this decision as the realization hit me HARD that I only have a few paychecks left and then my income is completely dependent on me and my writing. Scary! But reading this inspirational post “talked me off the ledge” so to speak, and I am confident that this is the right decision for my life. I was only 75% engaged (or less) as a teacher, and I want to be 100% engaged and in love with my career! I love every aspect of reading, writing, researching, and learning, and it’s my, heck, EVERYONE’S, duty to pursue their passions wholeheartedly and never look back! Good for you Stacy, and congrats!

      • Wow, congratulations! Let us know how things go for sure, and if you have any questions as you pursue the business side of things, don’t hesitate to ask.

        • On
        • July 1, 2011 at 7:14 pm
        • Stacey
        • Said...

        Hi Shawndra!

        Thanks so much for your kind note! And CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU for taking such a courageous step in the direction of a passion-driven life!

        I still have doubts about quitting my job: Thoughts like “It wasn’t SO bad.” and “Maybe I should have tried harder to make it work.”

        But I know it just didn’t light me up the way my personal coaching business does, and at the end of the day I want to be lit up. 100% LIT UP.

        I can tell that reading, writing, and researching lights you up, and I know you will be lighting the path for MANY more people by pursuing your passions.

        Please report back with more on your success story: It begins NOW!

        • On
        • February 15, 2012 at 6:27 am
        • Rebecca
        • Said...

        I can totally empathise with your situation Shawndra. I’m a school teacher and there are elements of my job that I love, but there are also aspects of it that just don’t light me up at all. I’m trying to build an organic online business that will support me and my family to the point that I’ll be able to give up teaching, but it’s so scary to think about sometimes. With teaching, I’ve got a guaranteed pay cheque every month. It’s unlikely I’ll get fired (unless I mess up and do something totally unacceptable!). Basically, it’s job security for life. But there’s a niggling part of me that’s screaming, “It’s not making you happy!” And I really want to listen to that voice.

        I hope your writing is going well Shawndra!

        Thank you for a really inspirational post Stacey and Jennifer.

          • On
          • February 15, 2012 at 1:52 pm
          • Stacey
          • Said...

          Hey Rebecca!

          Thanks so much for your comment — especially with your words of support and encouragement for Shawndra! It’s wonderful how the conversation continues on this post!!

          I’ve got a new, free eBook, The Purpose and Passion Guidebook, that might help you a bit more on your path. If you’d like to read it, you can find it here: http://www.staceycurnow.com/purposeandpassion/

    • On
    • May 17, 2011 at 7:51 am
    • Laura
    • Said...

    Great post! It’s funny how loud that Ego can be when you try to ignore it, but how it can lower to a whisper when you actually take the time to listen and question. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Isn’t that the truth? Maybe we should make a rule that the ego can only talk when it has something encouraging to say.

      • I was just reading a post on Advanced Riskology about Ego… Tyler’s presents the theory that your ego is the worst case scenario machine. Whenever there is an unknown… it fills it in with a worst case scenario.

        From the post…
        “Think of your brain as a big lottery machine filled with losing numbers (like most real lottery machines). Every time you think a negative thought, another losing number gets thrown in the mix. Every time you think a positive thought and ask yourself, “What if this went right?” a winning number gets thrown in the mix.

        The game is rigged against you, but you have the power to turn the odds around.”

          • On
          • May 17, 2011 at 3:51 pm
          • Stacey
          • Said...

          Hi Kookykelly! (I love your name, by the way!)

          Thanks so much for your comment and sharing Tyler’s insights on the Ego!

          I LOVE playing the “What if?” game and creating positive scenarios that literally pull me into the future and my best self.

          I’m so glad you mentioned it here so that others could benefit too!

      • On
      • May 17, 2011 at 8:31 am
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Thank you, Laura, for your kind comment! I’m so glad the idea of asking the Ego to speak more quietly so you can actually hear its message resonates with you too!

  1. Stacey, bravo!

    Firstly congratulations for having the courage to really follow your heart and go all out for it. The world is full of people whose dreams need to be “birthed” and I can see you doing wonderful things for many, many people.

    Secondly, you have outlined so well all the reasons that hold so many people back from truly following their dreams.

    I love your worst case scenario – Guatemala actually sounds rather appealing:-)

    At the end of the day, it’s all about blocking off all possibilities of failure and focussing instead on asking the right questions, the answers to which will ultimately bring us the “success” we crave and true fulfilment.

    The world needs more of us to follow our dreams whole- heartedly – and Stacey, you have given us a wonderful template to follow.

    Here’s to your success…:-)

      • On
      • May 17, 2011 at 8:37 am
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Arvind!

      Thanks so much for your comment! It’s such an honor to see you here because you have inspired me so much with your example of service.

      I followed your “Blog with Heart” campaign and read about your school and thought, “I would like to give more, but I don’t have the time (or quite frankly, the energy).” Without the hospital job, I know I will have the time and energy to give more and, as you say, Make a Difference.

      Thanks again for your lovely comment and your example.

      • Stacey, thanks for your kind words, but you are the inspiration here:-)

        You have already been giving a lot all your working life and especially in the hospital job. But now it’s just a different kind of giving, one that will be even more fulfilling for you.

        And see you in Guatemala!

          • On
          • May 22, 2011 at 5:56 pm
          • Stacey
          • Said...

          Hey Arvind!

          Thanks so much for continuing the conversation – especially with such kind words of appreciation! Yes, I would love to meet you in Guatemala. But first, London (after Jen settles in)!

  2. As always, great post Stacey! Thank you for sharing your trials and triumphs – so we all can benefit. Reclaiming your life – is a daily struggle.

      • On
      • May 17, 2011 at 8:48 am
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Ginger!

      Hi Ginger!

      It’s such a delight to see you here, and right after Arvind. When I think of creating a life of joy *and* service I also think about YOU!

      (For those who don’t know Ginger, she is a mom, PT, yoga therapist, musician *and* leads efforts to help the Haitian people – even before the earthquake in January, 2010.)

      Thanks so much for your kind and affirming comment! Ginger, is there anything you don’t do?? :-)

    • On
    • May 17, 2011 at 7:56 am
    • Andy
    • Said...

    Stacey,

    Thank you for your powerful writing! That rascal “Ego” can be a very challenging character to deal with sometimes. Living the white-knuckle life with that one is not for me anymore! I’m happy to hear what it has to say, but I’m the one steering the ship, thank you! Keep the writing coming! Many blessings! ~Andy

      • On
      • May 17, 2011 at 8:53 am
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Andy!

      Thanks so much for your kind comment!

      Yes! I like the idea of you being the captain, steering the ship. I will maintain that the Ego has important information for us – more like the First Mate in this analogy, right?

      Thanks again for your comment!

    • On
    • May 17, 2011 at 7:58 am
    • Lance
    • Said...

    Stacey,
    It’s great seeing you here at Jen’s site!

    Wow, what you share here – it is like you are speaking directly to my heart. I especially relate to this idea that ego likes to keep me safe. Sure, I’m all for adventure – and there’s a sense that adventurous activities can take us out of our comfort zones and the safety these zones provide (and that’s all good). Still, there’s something even more deeply connecting about you, really listening to your heart. See – it reminds me that it is within all of us…our own greatness. That you are going out there and living it – this is so much more than a one time adventure – this is a lifetime adventure – and how awesome that is!

    Stacey, these words you have shared today are words I will hold onto, as a springboard for me in those moments when I’m shying away from my own greatness. Thank you so, so much for this today.

      • On
      • May 17, 2011 at 9:01 am
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hello dear Lance!

      Thanks so much for your kind comment! It’s so great to be here at Jen’s blog and to see you here!!

      I’m delighted to read your comment because you articulate SO well in your “Jungle of Life” the challenge and the joy you find in seeking risk and adventure and providing for your family.

      It means the world to me to know that you will use my words to help you connect even more with your greatness and your great work!

  3. Nice job on this Stacey. Very enjoyable!

    As one who ejected from Corporate America for similar reasons, I can directly relate to much of this.

    There’s no doubt that doing it is very scary, or that it’s so worth it. Life is too short not to love what you are doing. If you think about it, not making the change is the scariest choice. Who would you be 20 years from now with your soul sucked out of you?

    “I was helping them give birth to their dreams.”
    It’s neat how you were able to identify what you loved in your job and turn it into your new personal coaching career. Very cool!

    “The Ego is a white-knuckle flyer even when you coax it onto the plane”
    I love that! LOL :)

    “The world doesn’t need more people mired in mediocrity, waiting to punch out at the end of the day and knock back a stiff drink. We need you to fulfill your purpose and become truly alive.”
    That belongs in a manifesto. Or on a t-shirt!

    Congratulations on giving birth to your new life. It’s always wise to think about worst-case scenarios but I predict wild success for you here in the USA. Have fun!

      • On
      • May 17, 2011 at 9:10 am
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Mike!

      Thanks so much for your comment! It’s SO encouraging to hear from more “veterans” who chose to leave their work-a-day jobs to create something GREAT.

      I don’t think I can hear enough from others who have done it say, “Yes, it’s scary, and YES, it’s SO worth it.”

      I love that you pulled out some of your favorite lines from the essay. Were you ever a reporter, responsible for generating “sound bites”, in your past life? :-)

      Thanks again for your words of support and encouragement! They mean the world to me.

    • On
    • May 17, 2011 at 8:06 am
    • Melani
    • Said...

    Great post Stacey. I think the worst case scenario is a really great exercise. I have been in similar situations myself with my business and whenever fear came up and I worried myself sick that I couldn’t do it I always reminded myself that 1) what I imagined woud happen was nearly always way worse than what could have really happened and 2) I have been landing on my feet just fine for the past 40 years and no matter what happens I will likely land strongly again.

    On another note I think we have to do whatever we can for our kids and we may want to burn all the ships and just go for our passion or our dreams but there are lots of ways to do that – even if it means working at a coffee shop while we build our business on the side. If you want it bad enough, you will figure out how to make it happen.

      • On
      • May 17, 2011 at 9:34 am
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Melani!

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful and thought-provoking comment!

      Yes, it’s so important to remember your first point! Perhaps Mark Twain said it best, “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”

      And it really is a gift of age, isn’t it? That we have the benefit of knowing that we really can land on our feet, no matter what, because we always have.

      I’m so glad you made your second point, because I wanted one of the “take-away” message from my essay to be that there is always a solution to meet your needs (and your families) and it will probably take looking “out-of-the box” to find it. (Working at a coffee shop while he is in school is a possible solution.)

      I think about my child’s welfare constantly. He is finishing Kindergarten and already eagerly anticipating starting First Grade with his friends. I know he would hate to be pulled out of his beloved school if we needed to move to Guatemala. So no, I won’t take the decision lightly, but if we do move to Guatemala, I would trust that it is the best decision for our family.

      Do I know, without a doubt, it would be the *right* decision for my son? No. But I was heartened by reading a quote Katrina Kenison posted to her blog yesterday:

      “Live your own life,” Tao scholar William Martin advises parents, “with all your heart, and with all your mind, and with all your soul. There is no need to live theirs. They will do that wonderfully for themselves.”

    • On
    • May 17, 2011 at 8:10 am
    • Farnoosh
    • Said...

    Brave girl. I don’t have to tell you what guts and bravery it takes to walk away from security and money and what doubts set in right before we do it – but I am very very proud of you for taking that step. Your life will transform because now you will value every bit of your time a lot more than ever before. I like that you made a difference in your job, though. I made NO difference while making a ton of money. At some point, even that, believe it or not, becomes an agony. Are we spoiled or what in this age when we can pursue our dreams? I think we are very lucky! All the best Stacey!

      • On
      • May 17, 2011 at 9:46 am
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hello Farnoosh!

      I’m so honored to see you here! You are one of the Trail Blazers I look to for inspiration and guidance!!

      We do live in an incredible age and it feels like a great disservice not to live our dreams when we really do have the luxury to pursue them.

      When I told one of my friends that we would move to Guatemala if we couldn’t afford to live in the States he said, “Even in the Third World, you’ll always have First World problems.”

      I know for sure that I will never be homeless or without food or potable water. A vast number on our planet can’t say that. Yes, we are very lucky, and I intend to make the very best of that luck.

      Thanks again, Farnoosh! Remember, I’ll be watching you closely!!

        • On
        • May 17, 2011 at 9:58 am
        • Farnoosh
        • Said...

        Stacey, you are very sweet. You’ll be far more resourceful and successful than you can ever imagine right now. I am certain of it! :) Best of luck on the days and weeks and months ahead and make the very most of one of your greatest decisions :)!

          • On
          • May 17, 2011 at 3:54 pm
          • Stacey
          • Said...

          I really am so grateful for your support and encouragement!

  4. Thank you Stacey for such a powerful post. I recently quit a part-time job. It was perfect in every way, except that it was really a full-time job masquerading as a part-time position! In this economy it seems foolish to leave a job when so many folkss can’t even find one, but I refused to try and produce inferior work because I did not have the hours to do the job properly. Let someone else lose sleep over it, not this gal!

      • On
      • May 17, 2011 at 9:51 am
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hello Denise!

      Thank you so much for your kind comment! I’ve read a bit of your story (highlighted on Jen’s blog just recently!) with avid interest!

      I’m so glad you left your time-sucking job so that you could have more time to pursue your passion of writing!
      We’re anxiously anticipating your magnum opus!!

      • Stacey,

        Thank you so much. I am presently working on two novels in this series – not sure which book will come next.

          • On
          • May 17, 2011 at 3:59 pm
          • Stacey
          • Said...

          I’m so excited for you!

          As I mentioned, my husband is a writer and I know it can be a lonely and frustrating path. My hat is off to both of you for doing the work in spite of the challenges.

          Of course, I know there’s also great satisfaction in doing the work (what’s cooler than inventing worlds with your words?!!), but I expect payoff will be great too!

  5. “The world doesn’t need more people mired in mediocrity.”

    And you are hardly one of them! Love what you’ve written, what you live, what you hope on your own behalf and for so many others.

    Gorgeous, heart-felt stuff.

    [And Jen: thanks for asking Stacey for this...for prompting her to get it written, out there, and available to the rest of the world!]

      • On
      • May 17, 2011 at 9:57 am
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hello dear Ronna!

      Thanks so much for your lovely comment!

      Of course, you have long written the words that encourage me to live my dreams even when (especially when!) it feels hard.

      I don’t know anyone who is more candid in their “truth telling” and I am so grateful for your example.

      And I will be first in line to buy your first book – so keep at it, lady – the world is definitely waiting!!

      • Thank you, Stacey. And enjoy all the truth-telling you’ve done AND INSPIRED through this post. Well-deserved. Hard-earned. Transformative.

          • On
          • May 17, 2011 at 4:00 pm
          • Stacey
          • Said...

          I receive that as very high praise coming from you, Ronna. Humbled. Thank you.

    • On
    • May 17, 2011 at 8:54 am
    • DiAnna
    • Said...

    Yikes, Stacey! Have you been living inside my head the past month or so? I love this dialogue with the Ego. I think I’ll use it in my journal today. I, too, am getting burned out with trying to work to pay the bills and build the business of my dreams. As a single parent, I feel extra responsible–and moving the kids away from their other parent isn’t going to fly–even though Guatemala sounds wonderful! I’m still trying to find the path, but your heartfelt article has shined another light on my journey. Thank You!

      • On
      • May 17, 2011 at 10:04 am
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Dianna!

      I’m totally honored that you said my article helps shine a light on your path. I really can’t imagine a more lovely compliment.

      I’m also so glad that you plan to invite your Ego to a dialogue in your journal today. It’s a simple, but very profound exercise: Just pull out paper and pen and write it like a dialogue in a play and you’re off!

      I’d love for you to report back here (or send me an email) on any insights you glean!

  6. Stacey,

    Thanks for baring your fears and your soul and sharing the steps on your journey. I always have a bit of skepticism when I read about people — men or women — who take a chance to pursue their dreams when they have a spouse supporting them and a built-in safety net. I pay much more attention when I encounter incredibly brave and trusting explorers like you.

    As you know, I’m on a similar journey, but my job quit me. I don’t know if the Ego got quiet enough, or the Divine got much louder, but I realized in just the last month as numerous unexpected events and offers started coming together that the best place for my energy was starting my own free-lance biz, instead of looking for a job. I’m listening differently now.

    And, as you also know, I decided to follow my dream of moving to the Blue Ridge Mountains, where I have been welcomed with open arms. (And I’ll be living near you!)

    It’s a huge leap of faith for me. But as you say, what’s the option — to stay scared and small, afraid to venture out and mired in mediocrity.

    The worst that can happen? I get a low-paying job with health insurance. I write and create at night.

    In the meantime, fresher air and new adventures and amazements await in the mountains.

    Thanks for shining the light on the path. Looking forward to hearing about the next milepost! Bravo!

      • On
      • May 17, 2011 at 10:10 am
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hello dear Marsha!

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment! You have graced me with the same “light-shining” compliment as Dianna, and I am honored.

      And, of course, I’m so delighted that you’re moving to the Blue Ridge Mountains! New adventures and amazements are definitely here for you!

      For sure, you know you have a friend and fellow traveler on the journey in me.

  7. Excellent discussion and practical steps, thank you!

    I didn’t quit my job, my job quit me – but the steps I went through are the same as those you outlined.

    I started my own business, and have never been happier.

    Yes, there are lean times, and there are boom times, and it’s not “stable” or “secure” – but in reality, nothing is any more. And I wonder if it ever was.

    What is stable and secure is the ability to own your life and career, and the willingness to adapt and change.

    When people talk about “dead-end jobs” it’s because they have allowed the job to define the journey.

    As you so beautifully illustrated, that’s not the only choice.

      • On
      • May 17, 2011 at 10:15 am
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Steven!

      Thanks so much for your kind comment! I laughed out loud when I saw that you write “stable” and “secure” in quotes because I can’t even *think* of those words without quotes around them!

      I love your riff on what’s stable and secure and what it means to define your own life.

      Yes, the only thing that’s really secure is my willingness to do whatever it takes to care for my family and serve the world in a big way.

      Thanks again for your thoughtful comment!

    • On
    • May 17, 2011 at 9:31 am
    • Amy Oscar
    • Said...

    Beautifully written. A powerful call-putting important choices like, “Should I quit this job?” where they belong, at the center of the heart. Truly, this is the only we’re ever going to change our lives – and change the world. brava!

      • On
      • May 17, 2011 at 10:21 am
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Amy!

      Boy, seeing your comment really brought a smile to my face!

      It was less than 2 weeks ago that I was interviewing you on this very topic and the recording will be available to my blog tomorrow! (Anyone reading this far down into the comments: You really don’t want to miss it!!)

      Thanks so much for your kind comment, Amy. Your writing, like Ronna’s, always inspires me to lead from the heart and tell my truth.

  8. Stacey, wonderful article about following your dreams. I wish more people believed in the value of pursing your passions. Too many well-meaning relatives and friends probably argued that you should not dare leave your steady job. I also feel like people often mistake thinking that having a comfortable life financially is the same as being fulfilled. Unfortunately, they are completely different animals. The most financially successful people however, often are doing what they love. So they often can go hand in hand.

    I think your article also explains why when people lose their jobs, they often say later it was the best thing that happened to them. There was no longer any option but to try and carve a new path. That’s what happened to me, and I thank God just about every day that I was laid off. But obviously, pursuing your passions works best when you choose to make the switch on your timing. I don’t recommend getting laid off.

    Bravo on the post,
    Patrick

      • On
      • May 17, 2011 at 10:47 am
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Patrick!

      Wow, it’s a thrill to see you here, too, because I’ve really enjoyed your writing for Copyblogger!

      And you really hit the nail on the head about my well-meaning relatives. My heart really goes out to them because I know that they are truly concerned (even if my Dad isn’t the most eloquent on the point when he says, “Your Plan B sucks!”)

      I know my parents made a lot of sacrifices so that their children could have a “better life” than they did, but in the end, I really do believe the advice from William Martin, that parents should live their own lives with all their heart, and to trust that their children will do wonderfully no matter what.

      And yes, it’s so true about people losing their jobs fining freedom and more happiness. I recently heard someone say, “I didn’t take the leap – I was pushed – but that’s when I learned how to fly.” And, as you pointed out, I’m very grateful that I did get to make the choice.

      Thanks again for your kind comment and I look forward to reading more of your posts on Copyblogger!

  9. Stacey,

    I feel as if you are a magnetic lighthouse, shiningshimmering your words so that the lost, desperate, and empty can find their way home to themselves without getting dashed upon the ego rocks.

    This is a beautiful piece, a manifesto for soul workers and dreamers to fulfill their highest purpose and serve the world.

    Your success following this process is proof. You have lit the way for countless others (including me) to leave their security blankets behind… after all, “This is my life, and I don’t want to check out for one [more] minute.”

    Big love to you!

      • On
      • May 17, 2011 at 10:54 am
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hello dear Emelie!

      Thanks so much for your lovely comment! I can think or no greater honor than to hear that my words act as a lighthouse to lead people home to themselves!!

      Again, “security” (ha! the quotes again! see my comment to Steven above if you don’t get the joke. :-)) blankets are good and necessary and we don’t want to toss them off until we have a Plan B that our Egos and our partners can agree with.

      I know for sure that there’s no chance YOU are going to check out. You are shining too big a light in the world already.

      • “Security” is definitely no longer an iron-clad concept, especially when it comes to employment and finances! I agree that we need to come up with a number of plans BthroughZ in order to make the leap (if it’s up to us and we aren’t pushed first).

        Yet, sometimes we don’t know that we’re able to fly until we tumble from the nest. Then we may just find that our wings are strongpumpingthumping toward the sky. The fear of heights is erased, the “white knuckle flyer” in us calms (even without a xanax-chardonnay cocktail), and we release into the life we were born to live.

        Thank you for your kind reply, your support, and your beaming lighthouse =)

    • Thanks for the response Stacey, and appreciate the Copyblogger mention. I can’t believe how many people recognize my name from there.

        • On
        • May 17, 2011 at 8:39 pm
        • Stacey
        • Said...

        How can you not believe it? It’s the biggest blog on the internet for people who care about communicating what they do in a remarkable way. You did them proud.

    • On
    • May 17, 2011 at 10:43 am
    • Alison
    • Said...

    I really enjoyed this post, and like everyone else here, can relate. But, I wondered about this statement:

    “. . .before I started my business I made an agreement with my Ego (and my husband) that it would be time to quit if I ever couldn’t pay the bills.”

    I just wondered why you put it on yourself to pay all the bills. Why wasn’t it if “WE” can’t pay the bills?

    As a breadwinner-mom too, I secretly get fed up with the arrangement at times. My husband does bring in good income in his business, but his income is earmarked for vacations and extras, not mortgages and bills. I USED to feel like it was okay because it was the arrangement we signed up for. I was getting an engineering degree and he was getting a trades certification when we got married. Now, though, I feel like I have put in my time. After 15 years together, either of us could have ended up anywhere professionally, so why is the income burden still on me? Please enlighten me. Why did you decide to continue to provide all the income, and were you okay with that decision?

      • On
      • May 17, 2011 at 12:22 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Alison!

      Thanks so much for your candor. I really appreciate that you shared your story and how you have struggled with the same feelings I have.

      I can understand if you were so incredulous about my willingness to bear the financial responsibility for so long that you didn’t notice it, but did you see what I wrote after the “I couldn’t do it” headline?

      Here’s a snippet:

      I saw my friends being supported by their husbands as they pursued their creative dreams, and I looked at my husband, and I thought, “Why should they get to pursue their passions and I don’t? When would it be my time?”

      It made me feel jealous and powerless and taken advantage of, and I couldn’t stand it.

      So yes, I completely understand why you are fed up with your arrangement. And like you, I was fine with the arrangement…until I wasn’t.

      I hope you will re-read the essay and understand a little more of my story because it sounds like our situations are very similar and as they say, if I can do it, so can you. :-)

      (Also, FYI: In honor of my post here, I’m hosting a giveaway for a “How to Quit Your Job” Strategy Session – so if you’d like to learn more, please enter here: http://www.staceycurnow.com/blog/2011/05/guest-post-on-jen-greshams-everyday-bright/)

      Thanks again for sharing your story with such great candor!

  10. Stacey, I wish I’d had this to read four years ago, as I left the company I’d worked for for my entire adult life, in order to sit at home and write a book that I wasn’t sure anyone would actually want to read. I know why you are a great mid-wife — because you make us actually believe that we’re up to the job at hand, whether it’s birthing our babies or our dreams. What a special gift! Thank you for these words of inspiration. They make me think of Howard Thurman’s sage advice: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

      • On
      • May 17, 2011 at 12:33 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Katrina!

      Thanks so much for your kind comment! I love that you also resonate with the midwife metaphor.

      Yes, a midwife is willing to facilitate, support, and encourage others in dark places. Most of all she trusts the process, and that everyone can find their own true path. I’m humbled and grateful that you see me as a great midwife!

      And, yes! The Thurman advice very much inspired this piece! And guess who introduced me to this quote? YOU did, in your book The Gift of an Ordinary Day. (If anyone hasn’t read it, please do!!)

      Thanks again for your kind comment – and for writing the words that light the way on my path!

    • On
    • May 17, 2011 at 11:01 am
    • Sarah Pettit-Mee
    • Said...

    Stacey,
    This has been surreal reading this. It just resonates throughout and I relate to every aspect of this especially being a fellow Nurse and Midwife I empathise with how the ethos of our ‘role’ is instilled in us from working within a healthcare environment.
    It has been inspiring to read and gives me a warm glow inside to see it can be achieved What better example than yourself! I am so glad that I am going to benefit from your facilitation and wish that I had had a mentor like you when I was doing my training! But now I am back at the training stage again but this time its where I want to be and know this is where I will succeed doing something that I was meant to be doing.
    Well done you on achieving and continuing to follow your dreams!

      • On
      • May 17, 2011 at 12:42 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hello Sarah!

      Thanks so much for your kind comment. I know *you* resonate with the midwife metaphors!

      The world is very lucky that you are preparing to leave your health center job and create a new role for yourself: Still a healer to women and children, but on your own terms, not theirs.

      I am lucky to know you, and honored that you have chosen me to be your mentor!

  11. Wow, Stacy, what a fantastic post! You’ve done an amazing job of really getting into the head of the person who is dealing with this sort of situation – I can really tell that you’ve been there (as a lot of us have). Thank you for sharing this with us!

      • On
      • May 17, 2011 at 12:55 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Danny!

      Wow! Thanks so much for your comment. I loved your post for Copyblogger on “21 Ways to Create Compelling Content When You Don’t Have a Clue.” To hear from you that I’ve created some compelling content is high praise indeed! Thanks again for letting me know!

  12. Stacey – you rocked this one. I took a Dale Carnegie course way back when in my career and they taught us the worst case scenario trick. It so works! Rather than simply trying to keep the best case scenario top of mind and block all else out – let mind/ego go to the worst case scenario and figure out what you’d do if it happened. For me, that removed most of the anxiety about it and I was able to refocus on the positive outcome I believed in. Before doing this, I found I was able to keep the bad stuff at bay until things slowed down – usually at night when I was trying to fit in some shut eye. But writing it down, working through what was bubbling up as the worst thing that could happen and what I’d do about it kept me on my path. I haven’t done anything so drastic as quitting my day job but I am certainly working towards that early retirement scenario!! And if the job ditches me before I think I’m ready – I’m all set with my next steps.

    Thanks for reminding me about what has now become second nature for me – putting it in a language that resonates with everyone based on the comments above.

    Keep the dream alive, girl! Go get ‘em!

      • On
      • May 17, 2011 at 1:28 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hello dear Kathy!

      I’ll NEVER forget that you first shared your breast cancer diagnosis (about this time last year!) on the “What Are You Appreciating?” forum on my blog. You blew me away with your ability to express appreciation at the time of such an immense challenge!

      You also shared that you *knew* you would be cancer-free soon and you ARE. It was such an honor and a joy to watch as you met and overcame the “worst-case scenario” with so much courage and faith.

      Job insecurity? That challenge has got nothing on you!!

      Of course, I can’t wait to toast to your early retirement in the wine country of Italy!!

      Thanks again for your comment and, as always, for being a shining light on the path!

  13. Planning to change from employment to self-employment? Check.
    Scared out of my mind? Double Check.

    I am quite risk averse, but I know the change needs to happen in my life. I always look at the worst case scenario because I end up realizing that what will most likely happen is not that bad.

    Lastly, I try to focus the most effort and energy on the good! I think about how much better my life can be and all of the opportunities that I am missing out on.

    Thanks for your sharing your story Stacey. :)

      • On
      • May 17, 2011 at 1:37 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Caleb!

      Thanks so much for your comment. I’m so glad my post resonated with you.

      I commend you for honoring that change needs to happen, and that you are willing to change your employment status, especially since you generally quite risk-averse.

      I think you have a great way of looking at it – focusing your energy on how much better your life will be and maintaining a positive expectation has a huge impact on your state of being.

      Eckhart Tolle, in his book A New Earth, said that here are only 3 “true” states of being: acceptance, enjoyment, and enthusiasm. It sounds like you are doing a great job of keeping yourself in that mindset and that’s awesome.

      Thanks so much for your comment and sharing your story – I will look out for you to hear how it unfolds!

    • On
    • May 17, 2011 at 11:58 am
    • ije
    • Said...

    great post stacey! thanks for sharing more of your story. i loved the part about the worst case scenario and the peace it can bring to fully engage your fears. i’ve always found once i let myself go there then come up with a solution that i can live with, it frees up all this energy for me to move what it is i really want.

    and congratulations for sticking your agreement and only putting on credit card what you can pay back at the end of the month. that’s a HUGE accomplishment and something to celebrate. looking forward to hearing more as your story unfolds.

    sending love and hugs,
    ije

      • On
      • May 17, 2011 at 1:54 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi ije!

      Thanks so much of for your kind comment!

      I really appreciate that you share your experience with engaging your fears and finding that energy gets freed up and solutions present themselves that (I believe) never would have otherwise. The best news is that you know you are moving to what you really want.

      I’m very glad that we don’t have credit card debt because it feels like my family will have more options if we don’t have creditors after us for their money. But sometimes I wonder if I were more willing to use credit (especially to pay for support/education in marketing my business), would my business be more successful?

      In the end I will never know, because I really am too risk-adverse to question it deeply. (At least for now. Who knows what my story will be in a year – or 3 months? :-))

      Thanks again for your kind comment! As you know I am watching you to see how your story unfolds too!

  14. Stacey,
    I am so glad I ran into you here at Jen’s! I had visited your blog a few weeks ago, and was intrigued but never made it back. I feel this is divine providence for you to cross my path again!
    I already left my job last summer, but it was due to a mental meltdown. I am looking to create my own business, my own life now. And I also want to be able to show my husband he could do the same. He is very unhappy in his current position, but as the sole breadwinner, he doesn’t feel he has any other opportunity. Kinda the “woe is me, I’ll just work here til I die” mentality.
    When I hear you speak of the freedom and anticipation of not being bound by a job and being profitable in what you are doing, it makes me want it for he and I even more!
    Thanks so much for sharing!
    Bernice

      • On
      • May 17, 2011 at 2:02 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hello Bernice!

      I’m so glad that we get a chance to “meet” again! Of course, I’ve seen you often in the comments at EB and I’m delighted that you came from here to take a look at my blog!

      I really think you’re on to something when you say that you want to show your husband that he can leave his unhappy job and create something wonderful because I have no doubt that your example will be powerful.

      It might also be helpful to talk with him about how you understand that he doesn’t feel he has options since he is the sole breadwinner, but you’d like to talk with him about finding the “out-of-the-box” solutions so that you both can pursue your dreams and provide for your family.

      Thanks again for your kind comment and sharing more of your story. I can’t wait to hear how your (and your husband’s) story unfolds!!

    • On
    • May 17, 2011 at 12:26 pm
    • Bryce
    • Said...

    Thanks Stacy,

    I’m coming up on a year since leaving the most miserable job I’ve ever had in my life. I put up with it for a year, and if I ever find myself in a situation like that again, I’ll be sure to have the confidence to make the right decision once again.

    Great insight, and I hope you enjoy the journey as well.

      • On
      • May 17, 2011 at 2:19 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Bryce!

      Thanks so much for your kind comment. I’m so glad to hear that you have landed squarely on your feet after leaving your job last year. As I mentioned above, I don’t think I can ever hear that enough!

  15. Hi Stacy – We met at a retreat almost two years ago. I was unemployed at the time and recieved two job offers the day I got back. I went back to the technology field and was happier than I had been, but it wasn’t a good fit and found myself wanting more a few months later. Long story short I became self employed in December :) Very scary, but also rewarding. I relate to so much of what you wrote.
    I remember talking with you and the other ladies at the retreat about my job search and wanting to be home more. You seemed to have a very clear vision of me working out of my home, and guess what I do now :)
    May we always meet people who see bigger things for us when we don’t see them for ourselves.
    Thank you! -Evie

      • On
      • May 17, 2011 at 3:07 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Evie!

      Of course I remember you and how wonderful to see you here on Jen’s blog!

      I’m so glad you caught me up on your story and I’m delighted to hear that you have found your way to the home office where I envisioned you!

      Even more, I’m SO glad to know you are that person who sees bigger things for others, and helps them step into that powerful vision.

    • On
    • May 17, 2011 at 12:40 pm
    • Kim
    • Said...

    Great article, Stacey! I’ve learned a lot from you in the past few months, and I hope to pursue my dreams with the help of all the excellent resources you’ve shared. Thanks for pointing the way to Everyday Bright, I may not have found it otherwise.

      • On
      • May 17, 2011 at 3:11 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hey Kim!

      Thanks so much for your kind comment! It’s so cool to see you here since we haven’t had contact in the last few months. I love hearing that you will use the resources I shared with you to help fuel your dreams! And I’m so glad you found Everyday Bright – I know you will love it here!

    • On
    • May 17, 2011 at 12:41 pm
    • Benny
    • Said...

    Stacey, thanks for sharing! What a great story. You’re right that it’s not fair that one person in the family gets to pursue his/her dream while the other has to keep working where he/she doesn’t want to be.

    glad you took that leap of faith!

    And I’m assuming you don’t need to move to Guatemala?

      • On
      • May 17, 2011 at 3:27 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Benny!

      Thanks so much for your comment!

      I usually try not to think in terms of “fair” because I know I have more than my “fair” share when it comes to resources, but it was too hard to shake the feeling of powerlessness not to take the leap.

      Anais Nin said it best, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

      And we have no imminent plans to move to Guatemala, but I’ll let you know if that changes! :-)

  16. Congratulations on taking a huge leap of faith and following your heart. By taking these steps you’ve ensured your future is in your complete control. That must feel great!

    I also love that you included plenty of handy tactics to go from employee to employer that fit your risk tolerance.

    Cheers and wishing you continued success.

      • On
      • May 17, 2011 at 3:37 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Carin!

      Thanks so much for your fabulous congratulations! As you may imagine, I don’t get that response much! Whenever anyone says “Congratulations!” when I say I quit my job, I know they’re one of my tribe. :-)

      Yes, I really knew it was time to leave my job when I started to bristle at the things that were out of my control (when for many years they didn’t bother me at all!).

      I’m so glad you find the tactics I suggested helpful!

      I know I’ve seen you often in the EB comments and I’ll look forward to connecting with you more!

  17. Wonderfully said Stacey – thanks so much for lining it up in such an accessible way! Esp the powerful questions part. Every question already contains its answer and you have clearly pointed that out. Great stuff – Thank you!

      • On
      • May 17, 2011 at 3:42 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Tammy!

      Thanks so much for your kind comment!

      Yes! I’m so glad that you also see that the answer *is* always contained in a powerful question. It reminds me of the saying that “the solution lies within the problem.” It may take some time and effort to see it, but I think it is always there.

    • On
    • May 17, 2011 at 2:06 pm
    • Lori
    • Said...

    Stacey, great piece! Many of us have thought about it, but the battle is fierce, as you’ve talked about. Overcoming Ego and treading alone (it seems sometimes) has it’s challenges, for sure, but the outcome can’t be beat! At the end of the day, we create our experience, and we get to create it again tomorrow. I think that’s the biggest gift we could ever give ourselves. Who knows where it will take us! But the journey is where the fun is!! Sometimes a roller coaster ride and sometimes a boat trip around the park. It transforms us in the process. How could that EVER be wrong! Thanks for the encouragement. I am grateful to be on a similar path and wake up every day excited! Now THIS is living!!! xo

      • On
      • May 17, 2011 at 3:47 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Lori!

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment! Your response is a blog post in itself and I really appreciate that you took the time to expand on the theme!

      I still have moments of doubt, and I will read your comment – especially the part about trusting the process (“How could that EVER be wrong!”) – when I need a confidence boost.

  18. Oh Stacey, you’re such an inspiration. Thank you so much for sharing your process behind one of the biggest decisions of your life. When I quit my corporate job, yes, I had my husband there as a backstop. And I so admire you for taking that leap off the cliff, wings spread wide.

    May the wind catch in your beautiful wings and lift you higher and higher! You deserve it xxx

      • On
      • May 17, 2011 at 8:44 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hello dear Karen!

      Thanks so much for your kind comment and for offering the lovely image of the wind catching my wings and me soaring! I will hold that image close when I feel my faith and determination falter. I appreciate you and your support and encouragement so much!

  19. Great post! I think two big steps that stop a lot of people are realizing they have options at all, and doing the worst-case analysis. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been afraid to do something, but then when I took a hard look at what I’m really afraid will happen, it boiled down to “people might laugh at me.” Oh, heaven preserve us! lol

    I’m on this path right now, building my business but still going to the day job. The first few paragraphs of this post could have been written just for me. At first, it was really discouraging with all the work and not much progress, but I got a business coach, and things started taking off. As I’ve seen progress and results, I’ve become more and more confident about it all, but the big leap is still to come. Like you said, life is too short to keep doing lame stuff when you could be doing your great work. I’m working to make the transition soon.

    Good luck to you as you keep building your business! I hope you don’t have to move to Guatemala, but I’m glad you have it as a backup plan.

      • On
      • May 17, 2011 at 5:45 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hey Cara!

      Thanks so much for your comment. I really LOVE to hear from people who are “in the trenches” and definitively planning their way out.

      And it’s so true about the “people laughing at me” fear being a huge deterrent when it comes to doing something unconventional.

      When I wrote my first draft of this essay I wrote that being homeless, disappointing my family and ruining my kid’s life were my biggest fears.

      Then I realized that disappointing my family doesn’t put the fear in me as much as looking like a loser. Sure, my family may be disappointed by my choices, but I’m reasonably sure they’d never laugh at me.

      I can’t wait to congratulate you when you quit your day job. For now I’ll cheer you on as you continue to step boldly toward your dreams!!

  20. Stacey – fabulous writing, kudos to you. And also for taking the leap 3 months ago. Big step.

    I liked two things in particular about your post.

    First was the asking the right kinds of questions. Questions that empower, that shift, that jolt, that provoke and stimulate and MOVE you. Our minds are supersuggestible and sometimes we feed them such crap, it’s no wonder we don’t end up where we want to be. Asking the right questions of yourself, consistently, is a daily habit – one that anyone can learn. Loved that piece in your post.

    The other thing I appreciated was the moving to Guatemala piece… I wasn’t sure how serious you are about that, but what appealed to me about it was the practicalness of it. So often we hear people talking about their dreams and their passions – which is all super duper. But dreams and passion take elbow grease to turn into reality.

    My own escape from corporateland was over 12 years ago now, and I have been blissfully unemployable since then. It can be hard work and there are many downsides to running your own show that many folks don’t consider (like being your own IT department, and your own billings/collection department, and your own marketing department). Sure beats traffic though.

    Thanks again for a great post and thanks to Jen for posting it here.

      • On
      • May 17, 2011 at 8:54 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hello dear Jill!

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment!

      I love that you talk more about the importance of asking the right questions and why that makes all the difference in determining whether we will be successful or not.

      I am very serious about moving to Guatemala. It really was settling on that option (if we can’t “make it” in the US) that finally allowed me to really devote myself to my dream.

      I really hope anyone with any amount of privilege (to me that means anyone who can afford to buy a bottled drink) could find their “Guatemala” and commit to their passion-driven work.

      Thanks also for sharing your story. As I’ve said before I can’t hear too many stories of people becoming “unemployable” as they do the work they love (and avoid a commute in the process)!

    • On
    • May 17, 2011 at 8:25 pm
    • Liz Tufte
    • Said...

    Wow, what a great article, Stacey! This one is worth re-reading a few times. Thanks for sharing your wisdom and courage with us, and articulating it so well!

      • On
      • May 17, 2011 at 8:56 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Liz!

      Thanks so much for your kind comment! I love hearing hat you plan to re-read it. I know I will re-read these comments when I need a faith or happiness boost!

    • On
    • May 18, 2011 at 5:24 am
    • Mary C
    • Said...

    Thanks for posting. I can see several parallels to what I am going through myself. It’s good to get a glimpse of what else needs to be done.

      • On
      • May 18, 2011 at 6:59 am
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Mary!

      Thanks so much for your kind comment. I’m so glad you see the next steps on your journey more clearly now.

    • On
    • May 18, 2011 at 5:36 am
    • Lisa
    • Said...

    Stacey, this is a beautiful article – bravo for having the courage to share it. I left my job three years ago and never looked back. I work harder now than I ever did before, but it’s more rewarding and it’s on my own terms. That said, I’ve had many days where I’ve been stressed and am tempted to walk away. Then I ask “what’s the worst case scenario” – and then I realize that even the worst that can happen is better than my life was before, and that I really can handle anything if I put it in perspective.

    So thanks for writing this – and good for you for being true to your (and your husband’s) dreams.

      • On
      • May 18, 2011 at 7:18 am
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Lisa!

      Thanks so much for your kind comment.

      It’s so funny, isn’t it? It’s not the hard work that’s a problem. The problem is when you feel like the hard work isn’t aligned with your your higher purpose.

      Thanks so much for sharing your story! Again I can’t hear enough of the solo-preneur success stories!

    • On
    • May 18, 2011 at 6:29 am
    • Dawn
    • Said...

    I’m just thinking about all the people who are in the same “stuck” situation you were in several months ago…I posted your article on my FB page in the hope that some of them would find your article and imagine the possibilities and take the next step toward fulfilling their dreams. I especially appreciate the part about the importance of the inner critic and not turning away from IT in fear but taking the crucial step of facing those uncomfortable thoughts and dealing with them- some are just habitual and insubstantial, but others, like you write, are trying “to protect you”. When I give those honest critical thoughts some attention, it always serves me and also tends to turn down the volume and intensity of the less substantial ones. GREAT article- I hope it spreads and spreads…

      • On
      • May 18, 2011 at 7:25 am
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Dawn!

      Thanks so much for your kind comment.

      I’m delighted to hear that you posted the link to this article on your Facebook page and I hope it helps others (who might not have seen it otherwise!) know that they are not alone and there really is a way out of the “stuck” place.

      I’m so glad that you’ve also found that facing your fears and giving your honest critical thoughts attention serves you.

      Thanks again for your thoughtful reply!

    • On
    • May 18, 2011 at 7:05 am
    • Colleen Fleming
    • Said...

    Thanks for this great post, Stacey! Follow your heart and your dreams! It makes me think of Dory again, in Finding Nemo ( I don’t know why I am stuck in that movie right now). The line goes something like this, ” How do you know something bad won’t happen?” Dory’s reply is, “I don’t!”. Okay, so make a plan B and go for it for your goal and dreams!! Love this!

      • On
      • May 18, 2011 at 9:26 am
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Colleen!

      Thanks so much for your kind comment and delightful reference to Dory in Finding Nemo. I think her short-term memory loss also served her well.

      I can’t remember his name, but a famous football player said he owed his success to having the world’s shortest memory. He just wouldn’t let himself think about the times he fumbled the ball. He kept all of his focus in the present moment – where all of our power is.

      I have Dory’s “Just keep swimming” mantra in my head too! :-) Thanks again for your comment!

  21. the world DOES need you!!!
    beautiful, dear!!
    xox

      • On
      • May 18, 2011 at 9:28 am
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Aw, thanks, Rachel! I’m so glad the world has you too!!

    • On
    • May 18, 2011 at 8:37 am
    • Kristin
    • Said...

    Hi! I love how you said a powerful question can even be “What is a small step I can do right now?” I often get overwhelmed with the big picture, and end up not taking ANY action. What a great reminder of how baby steps can still help you reach your destination!

    • On
    • May 18, 2011 at 8:45 am
    • Lindsay
    • Said...

    Oh goodness me. I don’t know if you believe in “Divine Timing” but I do. I got your email about this blog posting in my inbox just moments after having had ENOUGH and thinking, “That’s it, I’m quitting. I need a sign that I will be okay, though.” 5 minutes later your blog post was delivered.

    I’m scared out of my mind, but I’m more excited and feeling so happy to finally being able to dedicate my life to what I want to be doing, and not what someone else wants me to.

    Wish me luck, please! You’re an inspiration. :)

    • Lindsay, you don’t need luck. Just believe in yourself and your talents and your persistence. And remember that you have a community here to come to for support and help. Drop me (or Stacey) a line any time. And congratulations on your transition! I hope you CELEBRATE!

      • On
      • May 18, 2011 at 9:54 am
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Lindsay!

      Woo HOO! Congratulations! And thanks SO much for sharing your momentous decision with us here!

      I absolutely believe in “Divine Timing” and I believe an amazing alchemy occurs when you decide to align your actions with your dreams and purpose.

      So it’s no accident this post landed in your inbox. Get ready to see even more examples of the Universe lining up opportunities that support you in going boldly in the direction of your dreams.

      And I completely agree with Jen. I know Jen is also a fan of the great quote, “The harder I work, the luckier I am.” You don’t need luck. You have everything you need to succeed. Just don’t stop believing in yourself, never stop working, and you will get there.

      And, like Jen said, you’re welcome to contact me if you think I can help in anyway. In celebration of my post here, I’m also offering a giveway on my blog that might interest you. You can find out more here: http://www.staceycurnow.com/blog/2011/05/guest-post-on-jen-greshams-everyday-bright/

      Thanks again for your awesome comment and for sharing your CELEBRATORY news!

  22. Thanks for this post Stacey (and Jen!). That ego/fear sure holds us back doesn’t it!? Along with those other voices of well meaning family and friends who say we should just be thankful and “suck it up”…

    I’m interviewing today for a new position that is teaching information technology and helping people be productive. This is something I can truly dive into. It’s still working for the same company, but a different, fresh direction; more of what I love to do. It’s funny that once you’ve set your mind to do something different, something different is offered… :)

      • On
      • May 18, 2011 at 10:01 am
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Shawna!

      Thanks so much for your kind comment! Yes, it sounds like you know the voices of my family and friends well. Perhaps we’re related? :-)

      I’m very excited about your new job prospect and I hope you’ll let us know how it goes. If not this IT position, I expect you’ll find something that’s a closer match to your interests and talents very soon.

      Like you said, once *you* make the decision that you want something different, something more, the way is always presented. Sometimes we just have to get really quiet or look really hard to see it!

      Please report back and let us know how it goes!

    • On
    • May 18, 2011 at 9:01 am
    • Shane
    • Said...

    Stacey – wow – this was not only amazing but you know what? It literally paralleled what I just wrote (see below) about leaving my own job after 11 years and on the day I left, the site I was running lost 50% traffic and it was the worst day of my life…but you know what? I kept going – I focused on how it felt to finally be free and show the world my own potentials :)

    http://www.rewirebusiness.com/get-unstuck/how-to-quit-your-job-and-live-better-despite-your-situation/

      • On
      • May 18, 2011 at 10:22 am
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hey Shane!

      I really loved reading your story! I also loved your Third Tribe interview with Sonia. Even though I have no interest in building an affiliate marketing site, I listened with great interest because it was obvious that I could learn so much more from you.

      I took away that there are *always* opportunities to do lucrative and meaningful work (if you’re willing to keep your eyes open to not-obvious leads and actually *do* the work) and that your success always comes down to your ability to form good relationships.

      Didn’t you share the great Zig Ziglar guote? “You can have everything you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”

      And it’s SO cool that you, Jon, and I posted “How to Quit Your Job” posts on the same day! If anyone reading them is sitting on the fence about quitting their job, we probably give them the nudge to get off, don’t you think?

      Thanks again for your comment. Again, I’m a fan, so it’s very cool to see you here! (And I tried to leave a comment on your blog , but it disappeared.)

  23. Pingback: Why Denzel Washington told Penn grads to fail (and why we should, too) | 17000 Days

  24. Stacey,

    I enjoyed your inspirational message and shared it on. I totally believe, “And no matter what, never stop believing in yourself, because regardless of what anyone says, you can live the life of your dreams.”

    Pat

      • On
      • May 18, 2011 at 2:49 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hey Pat!

      Thanks so much for your kind comment! I saw that you shared the link on your (many!) Facebook pages and I really appreciate it! You are so awesome!!

    • On
    • May 18, 2011 at 12:06 pm
    • Manyesha Batist
    • Said...

    I loved finding this article in my inbox yesterday morning. Oftentimes, I must reserve much mail for later in the day–but I could not resist this title.
    I decided this year that a change of lifestyle and career are in order for my own physical health and the health of my family….Throughout my life I’ve been driven by my ego (I now understand this thanks to the article.) I have soooo many ideas and passions and dreams, and I have always allowed my ego to crowd out any attempt at pursuing any one of them. I can come up with a million ways that anything can go wrong.
    This year, however, I’ve been using new tools (for example, visualization…) to combat my fears and truly believe (and act in such a way) that I can achieve some rather extraordinary dreams. Your article has added a new tool to my box: asking myself powerful questions. I LOVE that. Thanks for sharing!

      • On
      • May 18, 2011 at 2:55 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Manyesha!

      Thanks so much for your kind comment!

      I really appreciate that you share your story. I’ve known so many people who have similar experiences of losing their health, but they’re still not willing to change their circumstances. So bravo to you for taking the necessary steps to reclaim your health and the health of your family!

      I’m delighted that my discussion of the Ego gave you insights into your process. When you combine them with visualization and action, I know you’ll be unstoppable!!

      Thanks again for sharing your story and your thoughtful comment.

    • On
    • May 18, 2011 at 12:13 pm
    • Vicki
    • Said...

    Wow! When did you get into my head?!?!? The first part of your article is the exact struggle I run into every day, sometimes every hour. Thank you for the encouraging words of realism.

      • On
      • May 18, 2011 at 2:59 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Vicki!

      Thanks so much for your kind comment.

      It’s pretty evident from the reaction to this essay that MANY of us live in the same head space. I think Anne Lamott said it best, “My mind is a bad neighborhood that I try not to go into alone.”

      I’m so glad that my words could help you. Thanks so much for letting me know.

  25. Stacey – I love the bit about asking powerful questions! The ego is so smart that it can trick you into keeping you “safe.” But if you ask the right questions you can reason with it. Congrats on taking the big leap – and acknowledging the pressure of being the provider. it’s a challenge! Keep on believing!! :)

      • On
      • May 18, 2011 at 3:02 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Courtney!

      Thanks so much for your awesome comment! I really appreciate that you captured the crux of the article. (Methinks you are an amazing editor! :-)) Thanks so much for your support and encouragement.

    • On
    • May 18, 2011 at 8:20 pm
    • gina
    • Said...

    Powerful questions are so key! And I love the simplicity, yet empowering flow of this article and its message.
    Thanks so much!
    Gina :)

      • On
      • May 18, 2011 at 8:43 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hey Gina!

      Thanks so much for your kind comment! I especially appreciate that you love the flow of the article. It’s such an awesome compliment to receive!

    • On
    • May 19, 2011 at 5:18 am
    • Pam
    • Said...

    Stacey,

    This speaks so honestly to the heart of that big shift happening at this time, to the huge movement of people desiring to follow their spiritual purpose and share their gifts with the world in a way that comes from their true voice within (fully expressing on the outside, what is on the inside).
    Personal stories are so relate-able, thank you for writing from your heart to ours. I think my favorite line in there is “The world doesn’t need more people mired in mediocrity, waiting to punch out at the end of the day and knock back a stiff drink.”
    Yes! Let’s go create the life we want and we will all be in a better place.
    Pam

      • On
      • May 19, 2011 at 5:55 am
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hello Pam!

      Thanks so much for kind – and quite poetic! – response to my article. I’m so glad you received it as the call to action that I intended.

      You may have missed the mention in a comment above (I certainly don’t expect anyone to read all 100+ comments :-)), but this article was very much inspired by Howard Thurman’s sage advice: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

      Thanks much for answering that call! The world really does need you.

  26. Hi Stacey,
    This is a wonderful post! It absolutely captures the anxiety I sometimes feel as a business owner. It certainly isn’t easy but as the saying goes “there is very little traffic on the extra mile.”

    Thanks for writing this!

      • On
      • May 19, 2011 at 11:17 am
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Russ!

      Thanks so much for your kind comment! Yes! It can feel like a long slog from beginning to mastery, but it’s so worth it.

      I really believe the only “magic bean” or “sure-fire success secret” is to believe in yourself and to never give up.

      It ultimately comes down to whether you’re willing to do what’s convenient, or what’s *necessary* in order to live your dreams and be successful.

      Thanks again for your comment – and especially for sharing your story!

  27. “After thirteen years as a nurse-midwife, I resigned from my staff position at a hospital.” – This sentence made me gasp!!!! Point made!!

    Oh my, living in Guatamola on your rent income!?!?! I guess that’s one way to look at it.

    I am currently working at home and not making a dime without any savings. I’m looking at working 3rd shift at walmart to pay the house payment, but I’m not going to let that get me down. It will empower my dreams!!

    Thanks for an amazing post!
    Tammy

      • On
      • May 19, 2011 at 3:52 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Tammy!

      Thanks so much for your kind comment! Thanks especially for sharing your story.

      You picked out 2 important points from my story: my willingness to quit my job to pursue my dreams *and* the willingness to do whatever is necessary to ensure that my family is okay.

      I want to encourage people who say, “I’d love to quit my job, but I can’t…” to question that belief.

      I really believe there is always a way, but it may take some “out-of-the-box” thinking.

      If pursuing our dreams requires that we work at Walmart or live in Guatemala, so be it.

      That’s the price were willing to pay.

      Thanks again for your comment and sharing your story. I’d love for you to report back and let us know how your story unfolds!

    • On
    • May 19, 2011 at 3:48 pm
    • Kanesha
    • Said...

    This is wonderful and magic! Thank you for this post. I was talking to a great childhood friend and we were talking about how we have to leave our best selves out of our work lives – and I told her that was no longer acceptable – so I’m taking a major leap to start a new career. My knees are shaking and I’m listening to the lovely music they’re making because I’m moving forward with my dreams!

      • On
      • May 19, 2011 at 4:39 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hey Kanesha!

      Woo Hooo! That’s SO awesome that you no longer are willing to leave your best self out of your work!!

      And I got goose bumps when I read, “My knees are shaking and I’m listening to the lovely music they’re making…”

      It’s like a line from a Ntozake Shange poem, but it’s YOUR poem.

      I’m thrilled for you and for the world that gets to receive your best self!! Please come back and share more lines from your poem!

  28. Bingo! Fabulous post. I’ve had to go back to jobs twice in my 20 year entrepreneurial career; while I have learned and grown in each one, I’m put on this earth to build businesses. I’ve never worked harder or longer than for myself, but I’ve never been happier — or more authentically myself — when I’ve been on my own. Richer, too! ;-)

      • On
      • May 21, 2011 at 3:04 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Susan!

      Thanks so much for your kind comment!

      It’s phenomenal that you can report from 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur! As I’ve said before, I really can’t hear enough success stories from this part of the world.

      Your willingness to go back to a j-o-b twice over the last two decades reaffirms my belief that you really can make your entrepreneurial dreams come true if you’re willing to acknowledge that there really are no failures on your journey – there’s just learning.

      Thanks again for your thoughtful comment!

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  32. Stacey,

    I am so happy for you! By taking your own step to leave behind a job that no longer fit, you are inspiring so many others. It seems like this is a time when many others are being called to make this change in their lives. How wonderful that you can mentor others through this shift.

    I still remember my first job after graduating college in the graphics department of a small corporation. About 4 weeks into it, I remember starting off the day, bright, cheerful, energetic, enjoying the moment, the Berkeley sunshine. Then I got into the elevator and it was as if my energy level dropped to my feet. I realized I needed to quit. I did and never looked back.

    Of course, I was only 23 years old so health insurance didn’t seem so important. I didn’t have a mortgage and lived rather simply. I admire the enormous courage it takes for someone in mid-life to take this step.

    Now, I’ve been supporting myself as an artist for over 22 years now. I had to learn A LOT to support this less chosen path and am still learning and growing. But isn’t that the most joyful path? To continually grow and evolve because we elect to put ourselves in situations that are energizing but not always comfortable?

      • On
      • May 22, 2011 at 5:54 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Michele!

      Thanks so much for your kind note! I really can’t hear enough stories of people leaving the good job to CREATE something great and yours is such a shining example.

      I’ve heard that artists have been hard hit in this economy (Who is going to buy a painting if they can’t pay their rent?), but you have GROWN yourself and your business because you looked for innovative ways to get your work seen by new people, and you also found ways to help other artists do the same. YOU are pure inspiration.

      Thanks again for your kind comment and for sharing your story!

    • On
    • May 22, 2011 at 11:45 am
    • Nadine
    • Said...

    Dear Stacey thank you so much for sharing this with us. As I want to qui my job too, it’s a blog post I like read and re-read to regain energy. As usual you precisely describe your own experience and it is priceless !

      • On
      • May 23, 2011 at 2:40 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hello cher Nadine!

      Thanks so much for your kind note!

      I’m so glad you will use this post to support and encourage you as you negotiate your way from frustrated employee to passion-driven solo-preneur.

      The world really does need YOU to lead us!

    • On
    • May 23, 2011 at 7:41 am
    • Debbie Cornelius
    • Said...

    Stacey-
    Thank You for a wonderful dose of inspiration and assurance that I CAN get moving on my dreams!I am in the fledgling stage freelance writing and often argue with that blasted ‘inner critic’….but I’m learning and this post is a great boost just when I need it!!!

    Be blessed!

      • On
      • May 23, 2011 at 2:49 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Debbie!

      Thanks so much for your kind note!

      I’m thrilled my post gave your dreams a boost! And now that you’ve learned you don’t need to get mired in arguments with your inner critic, you’ll have more time and energy for your writing! Hoooray!

    • On
    • May 23, 2011 at 9:34 am
    • Ruthie
    • Said...

    What a great article, Stacey. I especially love the powerful questions part! Can’t wait to see you next week!!

      • On
      • May 23, 2011 at 2:53 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hey Ruthie!

      Thanks so much for your kind comment! You taught me one of my favorite powerful questions: “What if I did and happened?”

      Can’t wait to see you too!!

        • On
        • May 23, 2011 at 2:57 pm
        • Stacey
        • Said...

        Oops! Apparently my example of a powerful question didn’t publish because I used funny brackets.

        The powerful question is: “What if I did (risky behavior) and (delightful outcome) happened?”

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  35. I always felt that fear can be used both ways: to keep you back and to propel you to change.

    When you see how people get laid off without hesitation even after years of good service to a company, you can use your fear of getting laid off yourself to start a business.

    It’s taking one fear and using it to overcome the fear of failure at your own business. This is how I did it.

    • It’s like you’re reading my mind. I want to do a post called “Fear Has a Purpose.” Couldn’t agree with you more!

      • Great minds think alike (-:

        I still get people who ask me where I found the courage to quit my cushy job and start an online business.

        They don’t understand when I tell them that I remain a coward to this day. I was just more scared of staying an employee than going out on my own.

        Let me know if you’d like me to include my story in your future post. I’d be glad to serve as an example.

          • On
          • August 7, 2011 at 5:07 pm
          • Stacey
          • Said...

          Hey Jonathan!

          Thanks so much for your kind comment!

          I think I said this in an earlier comment but I’ll say it again, I can’t even say “job security” without using the air quotes. I just don’t think it exists.

          I simply see a willingness to do the work you identify with your purpose, or not.

          I’ve learned that the best way to deal with my fears is to dialogue with them. If I dismiss them too quickly – as either founded *or* unfounded – I miss the opportunity to learn and grow in a profound way.

          I concur with you and Jen: Fear ALWAYS has a purpose!

            • On
            • August 10, 2011 at 6:56 am
            • Jonathan Dunsky
            • Said...

            A dialogue with fear. Stacey, this is a wonderful concept.

            As for job security. I wish such a thing still existed for most people.

            • On
            • October 29, 2011 at 6:16 pm
            • Stacey
            • Said...

            Hey Jonathan!

            I just saw you left another comment — thanks so much! I love the conversation happening here!

            I’m putting the finishing touches on what a dialogue with my fear looks like — and I plan to give it to Jen first. Hopefully you’ll see it here soon!

  36. ooh! Love this:
    “If I dismiss [my fears] too quickly – as either founded *or* unfounded – I miss the opportunity to learn and grow in a profound way.”

    Such an important point! Dismissing fears as founded is still dismissing them.

      • On
      • August 8, 2011 at 2:05 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hey Kookykelly!

      Thanks so much for coming back and joining the conversation! I’m so glad to know that you appreciated the added point!

  37. Hi Stacey! Thank you your post. It resonates with me, because a few years back I went through a similar experience. I think that it was my ego that played a big role in my decision. I was so tired of working in a career that did not fulfill me. I also took a leap of faith and decided to follow my purpose instead.

    Yes, the world needs people like us! And no matter how small of an impact we have on someone’s life, it outweighs years of mediocracy. It is a difficult decision to make, a specially if you have responsibility of taking care of a family. But in the end, your family, your kids will appreciate what you stand for! Good luck with your path.

      • On
      • August 24, 2011 at 5:51 am
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Vlad!

      Thanks so much for your kind note! I’m so glad to know that it resonates with you and I’m thrilled that you took a leap of faith to follow your purpose!

      Is it scary to take a step forward even when I don’t see everything lined up? You bet. But that’s why Martin Luther King said, “Faith is taking the first step, even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”

      When I realized that faith requires me to step up and do a lot of hands-on work, amazing things started manifesting. But only after I took a lot of scary first steps – like quitting my job, or investing big money in my growth and development – did I see the next steps. And they weren’t so scary.

      Thanks again for your kind comment! It’s so cool that this discussion – started over 3 months ago – continues!

    • On
    • September 8, 2011 at 11:24 pm
    • Rachael
    • Said...

    Great article Stacey! Thank you for taking the time to write it and share your story.

    My ego and I are battling furiously at the moment, as I plan to quit my 6 figure, corporate executive job and start my own Relationship Coaching business.

    I am PETRIFIED and constantly go back and forward between trying to convince myself I CAN suck it up and stay at my job and feeling so soul destroyed, bored and fed up. My days off are bliss and EVERY Monday is dreaded as if a visit to the dentist.

    Reading your story, and knowing the path is paved by brave, fantastic and admirable women such as yourself gives me more confidence that I can do this and shows the light that is ahead in a place where we can truly live our passions and our choices.

    • Rachel,

      The best way to overcome your fear is to a) get specific and b) make a plan. So write down everything you’re most afraid of, in detail. While you’re writing, don’t edit. When I did it, I honestly had things like “I’m afraid my family will be homeless.” It could happen, I suppose, but it’s extremely unlikely. I have a lot of friends and family who’d take me in, at least until I could get on my feet. The point is, your brain will keep blowing up the shadows until you force them down into the light. You can do it!!

      • On
      • October 29, 2011 at 6:13 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Rachael!

      Yikes! Somehow I wasn’t alerted to the most recent comments on the blog, so I missed your very kind one!

      Thanks so much for letting me know that my post helped you! It’s almost 2 months since your comment, and I’d love to hear if you are further along your path to quitting your job.

      For me, as soon as I started to think that it *might* be possible to quit my job, it wasn’t very long before I began to think it was *very* possible.

      I look at hope and courage like muscles, and the more you “flex” them the bigger they get, and the more you can depend on them to do the heavy lifting in challenging situations.

      Again, I’d love to hear where you on your path now!

    • On
    • September 21, 2011 at 10:25 pm
    • Danielle
    • Said...

    I’ve read quite a few posts from Jen and others in the last few weeks (all have been inspiring and eye opening) and have thought a lot about “…when will it be my time?”

    I am taking the GRE on Friday (9/23) because I want to pursue a Master’s Degree in English with a dual concentration of Professional Writing and Teaching (geared toward all those engineering types I currently work with).

    I don’t exactly hate my current job, but I don’t LOVE it either. Monday’s are not nice, Friday’s are not nice, I don’t look forward to my weekends; basically, I feel as though I have lost whatever motivation was driving me toward some unknown (and unattainable) goal. I know funding a Master’s Degree will be difficult. And when I think of that, it reminds me that I gave up my acceptance to Harvard-Radcliffe because no one would co-sign the *** student loan.

    So I say, “Now is my time!” I’ll find a way to pay for the degree because it is something I want to do.

    And I did sign up for the No Regrets Career Academy… I need to figure out how to parlay the new Master’s Degree into a fun and exciting job with fabulous Mondays. I am looking forward to learning different ways to ask the right questions.

    Thanks for sharing, it’s appreciated.

    • So excited for you, Danielle. It is your time. Because you say so. That spirit of yours is going to take you to some wonderful places, and I’m happy we’ll be doing some of that work together. :)

      • On
      • October 29, 2011 at 6:21 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hey Danielle!

      I’m so sorry I missed your comment earlier, but as I wrote to Rachael, it would be very cool for you to report back on where you are now on your journey, especially since you are taking Jen’s excellent NRCA. I can’t wait to hear how you plan to create your ideal job!

    • On
    • October 7, 2011 at 6:40 am
    • Guven Ilter
    • Said...

    Hi there,

    It has been an intereseting week for me. A sad one, as one my idols, Steve Jobs, passed away. And I was bombarded with his famous Stanford commencement speech from more than a few sources. I had read it previously, and watched it on YouTube, but it somehow really clicked this time.

    And I had one of the least pleasant meetings I have ever had in my life. My boss started shouting at everyone and at one point I was the target of his unfounded and irrational rage over something that nobody will remember in a couple of weeks.

    Then I started thinking, is this really the environment I want to be in? Is this my dream? Do I love this? Is there any way that I can be passionate about this job?Is this really what I want? Would I be douing this if today were the last day of my life?

    Having abswered “no” to all of these questions, I decided to quit. Just like that.

    And I will really do something that I love. If I don’t start making money right this minute, the time will come. Don’t ask me how, but somehow I’m sure…

    As David Coverdale of Whitesnake always ends his concerts, “be safe, be happy and don’t ever let anyone make you afraid.”

    Best,

    Guven

    • Guven,

      First, I’m sorry you had to go through that trauma to get where you are today. But I think you’re going to find life gets better quickly, even if not less certain in the short term. You’ve already done the hardest part–walking away–now to the fun part, walking towards the light. Best wishes and let us know if we can help!

      • On
      • October 29, 2011 at 6:27 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hey Guven!

      I’m sorry I missed responding to your comment earlier. Have you had your official last day yet?

      I hope — and expect — you find, like I did, that even the hardest days as an entrepreneur are better than the best days at a job where you were treated poorly.

      I’d love for you to report back on how you are now!

    • On
    • January 14, 2012 at 10:36 pm
    • Deb
    • Said...

    Hi Stacey
    I am coming to this conversation late but I was so amazed at semthing that you wrote & was inspired to comment:
    “And so you end up in knots, tossing and turning at four in the morning as the two sides war within you. Which one is telling the truth? Which one is lying?
    You just can’t tell, and the uncertainty of it is driving you crazy…”

    I have been struggling with this exact thing for the past 6 weeks while I try to decide whether or not to quit my current job. In fact, my inability to distinguish between the voices has left me immobilized. But, as these things go, I have to make the decision by tomorrow due to timing and after reading your story I feel a bit stronger, a bit more able to come to a decision so thank you for that.

    I wanted to add that although many of the responses here discuss ‘being homeless’ as an abstract ‘worse-case-scenario’, I have actually experienced this and although my children and I go through it, it leaves a very real terror in me of literally losing everything – because it did happen to me.

    I enjoyed reading all of the responses here about how people managed to avoid this fate but they are all vague about exactly what they do – the word ‘entrepreneur’ is mentioned but it is so unclear as to exactly how that manifests on a day-day basis – in that way, although all of the posts are wonderful and inspiring to read, they are often speaking to each other and people like myself are left feeling like we don’t quite ‘get’ what the cool kids are talking about. What would be wonderful, is a post that actually discusses what you actually do, what everyone here actually does that has encouraged/allowed them to walk away from limiting jobs and fly.

      • On
      • January 15, 2012 at 9:33 am
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Deb!

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply. I really appreciate that you share so much of your story with us.

      I’m so sorry you and your children were homeless. I completely understand why you feel terrified about going back there.

      Jen and I have tried to be clear that finding one’s ideal work can come only after one’s basic needs are met and secure.

      Only once I satisfied those needs did I allow myself to go out on an entrepreneurial limb.

      You ask what made it possible for me to do this: For me (and I believe for Jen, too), it was identifying a coach/mentor who had already done the thing that I wanted to do. It required investing in one of their programs so they could teach me exactly how they did it.

      I’ve had many, many mentors over the last 2 1/2 years. (Jen and I both highly recommend Jon Morrow.) Investing in my growth and development has *never* been convenient or comfortable, but it is one thing I can point to that made all the difference in my success.

      I hope that helps. I hope you come back and let us know how you are. I wish you all the best!

    • Deb,
      I’m sorry you and your children had to experience homelessness. That would leave a terror in anyone. So the fact you are considering leaving your job at this point is a real testament to your bravery.

      I think one of the reasons though that what you read sounds vague is because the day-to-day specifics of being an entrepreneur is completely dependent on what kind of business you choose to run. There are some basic principles, like “choosing your business model” or “finding customers” but there are a lot of different ways to do that and which is right for you depends on your personality, what kind of business you’re running, and where you think you can find customers. Starting your own business is hard, and most will say you shouldn’t expect to make a significant profit for at least a year. If starting a business is something you’re seriously considering, check out Ellen Rohr’s post on creating a business plan. That should give you a much better idea if making the leap is the right move for you. Let us know what you decide!

        • On
        • January 19, 2012 at 7:07 am
        • Deb
        • Said...

        Stacey & Jen

        Thanks for the thoughtful responses. I wanted to let you know that the deadline to give notice of leave at my job was Tuesday so at 4pm I submitted my application via email. The very next morning at 10am I received an offer that will give me a bough of a base income so that I don’t have to worry about ending up a crazy bag lady (albeit one with a cute dog). I have had other tentative offers through as well vut i can be a bit pickier now and choose enough to keep me solvent but also allow for me to finish my doctorate which is my main aim for the next 18 months.

        It was your site and sites like yours that helped me in my decision and i wanted to pass along my thanks and to let anyone else know who is reading this that sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith.

        I am still a little leery about walking out on a solid income (although nothiing remotely like the 1 million mark – wow, that took guts!) and due to my personal experiences, I will probably feel anxious until I have found a new place to live in uni city and that money is actually landing in the bank. I will let you know how I am going in 6 months as a few friend and I are starting a small business on the side – at least we are in talks to do so – it won’t be a priority while I am studying but I am going to put a set amount of hours in per week and re-asses it in 12 months.

        Thanks again,
        Deb

        • Hey Deb!

          Thanks so much for coming back and letting us know your decision. Here’s what I’ve found to me true: Once you make a powerful decision, all kinds of unexpected assistance appears.

          Yes, making a big decision like leaving a job requires a leap of faith, and a true leap of faith involves some risk. (That’s why it requires faith!)

          But risk-taking is a big part of claiming your authentic, powerful self. I’m excited about where you will be and what your life will look like 6 months from now. Please report back and let us know how you are!

    • On
    • January 15, 2012 at 2:22 am
    • becky
    • Said...

    Thanks for the encouragement, I haven’t quit my job yet, but have for many, many years been prompted too in my thoughts, being that my husband is not working at this time, something keeps prompting me to quit so we both can pursue the dream of owning our own business, with my son on the verge of attending his first year college it is very challenging. I am scared to even attempt….any suggestions???

      • On
      • January 17, 2012 at 7:30 am
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hey Becky!

      Thanks so much for your comment!

      My best suggestion is to make sure your basic needs are met before you start your own business. It took a little over 2 years before my business was able to support me and my family, so I needed my hospital income and A LOT of savings to carry us through.

      Pursuing your dream IS doable with a lot of hard work and planning — so keep believing *and* set plans in motion to make it happen! I’m excited for you!

    • Becky,
      Start a side hustle and have your husband help you! Since he’s not working right now, he’ll have a lot of time to devote to your budding business, and you can assist while still working full time. It’s a good test to see if you LIKE it. It’s much harder than it looks! Maybe even get your son involved if he’s interested (though family businesses have their own challenges on the relationships). But I will say that kids need to be learning about this, because regardless of what track they pursue after college, they’ll need that entrepreneurial mindset.

    • On
    • January 22, 2012 at 6:23 pm
    • lisa
    • Said...

    I found this article because I am wanting to quit my job but i a, TERRIFIED to quit. I started Dec. 5 as a staff writer for a small paper in my town. It’s not a good fit but I can’t tell my boss that because I worked with him before at another place and he made his expectations clear when I started. I want to tell him we are relocating(we are–in 4 months)and I need to give him my 2 weeks but I am terrified, of what he’ll think, what he’ll say, what he’d do, etc…I cannot picture myself doing it. I get scared. It has made me physically ill. Please help me.

      • On
      • January 24, 2012 at 7:47 am
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hey Lisa!

      I can really feel your anxiety in your comment, and my heart goes out to you. Here’s the thing: You only “owe” your boss a simple statement of resignation and 2 weeks notice. That’s it.

      So start picturing yourself doing it — visualize it happening, visualize the *relief* you’ll feel when it’s over, visualize yourself finding a great job where it’s a perfect fit and you are energized by going to work every day…it’s all SO possible.

      And you can always fall back on the age-old affirmation, “This too will pass.” And it will!

      I hope that helps! You CAN do it!!

    • Lisa,
      I’ve actually been in your situation before. I had to tell a boss that I loved that I wanted to quit. It was so hard, because I really respected him and certainly wasn’t leaving for any lack of leadership on his part. It just wasn’t the right career for me. I found he was so much more understanding than I thought he’d be. However, because we liked working together, he talked me into doing some part-time consulting for him. I needed the money and thought, “Why not?” Within a couple of weeks, I knew it was a mistake. I waited four months before I finally told him, “This is working for me…again.” Like you, I was terrified, but I couldn’t keep it up. It wasn’t fair to him or me. Once again, he was generous and wished me well. We’ve maintained a warm relationship, because he always knew it wasn’t personal. So, I’d say give your boss the benefit of the doubt. He’ll likely be more understanding than you think. And if not, is it really the person you want to keep in your life as a contact anyway? How helpful will he be if he won’t support you doing what you really want to do?

      Good luck and let us know what you decide!

  38. As always, Jen (and Hi Stacey!) I am impressed by the quality of the conversation on your blog. I am deeply taken by Stacey’s notion of asking powerful questions. It’s so easy to get caught up in fear and miss the opportunities that are all around. I am in the last stages of a divorce that (along with cancer, job layoff, and foreclosure) has wiped my slate clean financially. I am a different person, and want new things for the next phase of life. This article resonates with me around controlling negative thoughts (e.g., I have no time, I will always be poor) and starting to ask those what if kind of big questions…to take the space and time to ask them. So…thank you both!

      • On
      • April 8, 2012 at 10:22 am
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Susan!

      It’s so great to see you here! Yes, I’m blown away by the quality of the conversation happening here — and almost a year after it started! I’m so glad you came back to continue it and let us know how you are.

      I’m so glad the concept of asking powerful questions resonates with you. I recently wrote about the power of telling your “transition story” on my blog. You might enjoy taking a look: http://www.staceycurnow.com/blog/2012/04/how-to-stop-being-your-own-worst-enemy-part-ii/

      I look forward to hearing more of your story!! Please continue to let us know how it unfolds!

  39. Hi Stacey — I indeed will go read your post right now! It sounds like must reading. Jen runs a remarkable blog that teaches us what blogging is all about — upleveling the connection between people! I will keep in touch. Happy Easter to you! ;-)

      • On
      • April 11, 2012 at 6:22 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hey again!

      I’d love to hear what you think of the post and I hope it helps. And I feel the same about Jen and the gold mine that is her blog AND the community she created here! :-)

    • On
    • September 20, 2012 at 11:25 pm
    • LL
    • Said...

    love this article

      • On
      • September 28, 2012 at 5:00 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi LL!

      Thanks so much for letting me know you appreciate it! I love that it still resonates with people, even a year and a half after it was first published!

      It’s now been almost a year since I collected my last staff/salaried pay check (I occasionally work PRN — or as needed) and life is better than I ever imagined.

      In the words of Goethe,”Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!”

    • On
    • October 19, 2012 at 6:13 am
    • Hud
    • Said...

    Lovely words, Stacey…

    I’m presently 95% sure I want to quit after 10 years of completely unfulfilling work after the company wouldn’t let me have some unpaid days to get back into my writing. If I don’t take that leap now, I may as well never, right?

    I still have no firm plans, but I’m giving myself a few months to consider my options and draft some worst case scenarios, but the more uplifting tales I read, the better I feel – so thank you!

    Hud x

    • Making the leap sounds like the right move, Hud. But definitely do use the next few months to put a plan together. I gave myself 6 months and still didn’t have a good plan after separating from the military. When we had some big unexpected expenses crop up, that forced me to take a part-time job I didn’t really want. It took a full year for me to figure out how to make money doing what I love. All that to say, while I don’t regret my leap in the slightest, I wish I’d been more purposeful in setting my direction.

        • On
        • October 22, 2012 at 8:12 pm
        • Stacey
        • Said...

        Hi Hud!

        I’m so glad you could add my story to your “bright spots” file. I agree with Jen, and you definitely want to have plenty of funds to support yourself while you make your way as a writer.

        I started my coaching business as a “side hustle,” and it took almost 3 years before it brought the same level of income as my hospital job.

        Please let us know when you make the leap, and we’ll be here to cheer you on!

    • On
    • February 21, 2013 at 7:36 am
    • Angelique
    • Said...

    Hi Stacey your story is really inspiring, but what keeps me from going for my dreams and leaving my job is failing and disappointing my parents who have already threatened to disown me if go for what i want. i am extremely unhappy in my current job and feel like there is so much more to life, but my parents words, “irresponsible” “stupid” “biggest mistake of your life” “you’ll never succeed” keep running through my mind. So now im stuck in a job i hate, yearning to break free, so afraid of disappointing others but in the end im the one who is unhappy, every single day.

      • On
      • February 21, 2013 at 8:56 am
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Angelique!

      My heart really goes out to you. My parents said the same things to me, but luckily I understood it was because they were concerned about me and really didn’t know it was possible for me to succeed without a “conventional” job.

      They didn’t have examples of people close to them being successful as entrepreneurs, so I had to become that model for them.

      Remember, I built my business for over two years as a “side hustle,” all the while I continued to work in the hospital, before I felt I could take the leap. Even though it was hard, it was necessary for me to bridge the gap from where I was (in a job that was unsatisfying) to where I wanted to be.

      I’d love for you to ask yourself what you could do to bridge that gap for yourself, so “failure” really isn’t an option. (Start with questioning what it means to you to “fail.”)

      Of course, there are lots of great coaches, like Jen and myself, who would be happy to help you through this process!

      Please understand this: you were put here for a reason. Your vision and mission and deep desires are NOT an accident. You wouldn’t have them if there were not the means to achieve them.

      This may sound “woo woo” but I believe it with all my heart.

      You deserve to be happy and you can create a life that you absolutely love. Once you truly believe that, you will find a way.

    • On
    • June 25, 2013 at 9:40 am
    • Tracie S
    • Said...

    Hi Stacey, What a great and inspiring article. I can see why it is so popular! Through your courage, you inspire others to be courageous. I’m going to work on my inner dialog and asking the more powerful questions. As always you encourage me. XO

      • On
      • February 13, 2014 at 8:49 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hello Tracie!

      I stopped receiving notices after a comment is left on this blog, so I’m sorry you didn’t hear back from me sooner!

      The good news about the delay is now you can report back and let us know how you are after working on your inner dialogue! Please share!

    • On
    • November 3, 2013 at 4:37 pm
    • Shelby
    • Said...

    Stacey-
    Our journey sounds very similar! I am a nurse uninspired by my career, punching in and out for that pay check, and dreaming what my life would be like if I really lived authentically in accordance with myself. I have come to realize life is too short and precious to live this way and am making steps to cultivate the life I see for myself. I too am going in the health/wellness coaching direction. This journey can be exhilarating, but also terrifying at the same time. Your article was just the push I needed today.

      • On
      • February 13, 2014 at 9:04 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hello Shelby!

      As I mentioned to Tracie above, I stopped receiving notices after a comment is left on this blog, so I’m sorry you didn’t hear back from me sooner!

      I’d love to hear if you’ve taken steps to creating meaningful and lucrative work from your health and wellness expertise.

      First, I hope you know you ARE an expert! Second, I highly recommend Pam Slim’s new book, Body of Work, if you’d like some support in thinking “outside of the box” to match your talents with what people need.

      You can do this!

  40. Hello,
    Thank you for this wonderful and inspirational article. I have been writing for awhile and it is always encouraging to see others that have walked their talk and came out on top. Happy Holidays!

      • On
      • February 13, 2014 at 9:05 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hi Sharron!

      Thanks so much for your kind comment! I’m delighted to know that my writing gave you a bit of added encouragement, and I hope you had a wonderful holiday too!

    • On
    • February 7, 2014 at 4:21 am
    • sujith
    • Said...

    Hi,
    I really liked your article.
    In fact I am in a situation of sorts because I quit my sales job 4 months back due to unbearable stress.I just couldn’t carry on with it.

    I haven’t joined anywhere else now and I was managing all these months with my little savings.I was still averse to join a corporate but now I can go on like this say for 2 months only.I feel less better now but I know that eventually I want to quit sales but don’t really know what to do after that.

    I like aviation and jets etc,so if I get a job from there then it would be great.

    Request your feedback
    Good luck to you.

      • On
      • February 13, 2014 at 9:13 pm
      • Stacey
      • Said...

      Hello Sujith!

      Congratulations on doing a truly brave thing by quitting your job — I believe it was absolutely necessary for you to leave because nothing is more important than your health!

      Since you have a highly developed “emotional guidance system” (those feelings that led you to quit rather than develop stress-related illness!), I want you to trust that you *will* know what’s best for you, and it sounds like pursuing a job in aviation is a great next step.

      I would also recommend that you, like Shelby (in my comment above), read Pam Slim’s new book, Body of Work.

      It will give you loads of support in thinking “outside of the box” to match your talents with what people need, and will pay you handsomely for.

      Let us know how your next steps go, okay? I’d love to hear back from you!

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