I wanted to separate the Daily Stoic posts from the main blog’s content, but I think the Stoic for February the 7th. “Fear is a self-fulfilling prophecy”, deserves to be with the main articles.
Here, I describe how I overcame my fears to quit my corporate job and start a path that will change my life forever.
“Many are harmed by fear itself, and many may have come to their fate while dreading fate.”
—SENECA, OEDIPUS, 992
Fear can be your worst enemy. I know it because I endured it for years.
I had a well paid, steady job that I hated. I would woke up every morning at 6am feeling miserable. Thirty minutes of traffic jam later, I would arrive to my work spot, and stay there until 6pm, when I was finally free to get into my car and drive back home.
That situation repeated every single day. My life had come to a complete standstill.
Furthermore, my job, while definitely stressful, was not exciting or challenging. I felt like I was wasting my time there. Concretely, I was exchanging my time -my life- for money.
One day, I couldn’t stand it any longer. I quit for good one day.
What was holding me back?
However, it wasn’t an easy decision for me. While I had been thinking about it for a long time, there was a part of my that was utterly scared of doing it.
My fears were paralyzing me.
I had plenty of fears. First and foremost, I was scared of losing everything. I envisioned myself getting into debt, unable to pay the bills, losing my house…
That was related with the fear of not being able to find customers, or not being good enough to get them.
When you are an employee, you don’t really have to worry about those things. You do what you are told to do, end of story.
However, when you are on your own boss, and the whole team is you, you have to worry about marketing, management, acquiring customers, taxes, etc… I was also frightened of not being able to handle all that.
Finally, I was scared of not being able to get my job back, or any other job. We were going through a recession back then and unemployment was growing disproportionately.
It will get to more than 25% just a few years later. Not the best scenario for quitting a steady job, one would think…
Don’t Fear The Ripper
Seasons don’t fear the reaper, nor do the wind, the sun or the rain
We can be like they are
— Don’t Fear The Ripper, by the Blue Oyster Cult.
Nevertheless, after some time I discovered that my fears were unfounded.
If you are passionate about what you do, and work hard, you will eventually succeed. The question is not “if”, but “when”.
Of course, you will need to work hard, especially at the beginning, build a portfolio, look for customers and grow your reputation, both online and offline. All this effort will be worth the day you land your first job as a freelancer or get the first customer for your business.
You won’t loose everything. There are lots of jobs waiting for you if you really want to work. That’s one of the things I also discovered. The corporate world is there, hungry for labour force to feed the machinery. If you ever decide to come back, you will find a job again.
While it’s easy to see how ridiculous these fears were afterwards, they can be insurmountable walls when you are deciding on your future.
Fear Is A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
Hence, if you allow your fears to take over you, if you listen to them and let them block you, they will certainly be right.
You will never be who you want to be or live the life that you want to live.
Don’t let this happen.
When I took the leap, I had almost no savings, no concrete plan, no customers and no backup. There was no safety net. Nothing. Nada. It took me some effort to find my first customer. Actually, it took me three months.
However, I didn’t give up. I believed in myself. After three months of working hard, building a portfolio, and creating a network of contacts, I landed my first job and my first customer.
It was an amazing feeling. Not only had I become the owner of my life, I had overcome my fears and, as a result, I had grown as a person.
So, what’s your excuse?
Today’s Daily Stoic, “Fear is a self-fulfilling prophecy”, talks about how fears can paralyze us.
That was my case when I was thinking on quitting my corporate job and become a freelancer and later a digital nomad and entrepreneur.
I had to overcome these fears to become the person I am now. Once I did, I discovered how unfounded they were. Thus, if you are struggling with your fears, don’t let them prevent you from doing what you want to do.
Take the leap. Follow your path. Become who you want to be.