Would you quit your job, pick up your family and move across the country to pursue your passion? Find out how Jessica did!
Please share your story… what was your leap?
I left my high-paying consulting career, sold my dream house, and moved 4,300km cross-country to find my passion.
I knew that I would land on my feet. I had every confidence that I wasn’t running away from my career, but running towards the life I wanted for myself and my family. I wanted work that mattered. I wanted to publish a book. I wanted to harness the creativity I felt inside for so many years and focus it in a new way.
What is it that made this a leap for you?
I hit the wall in my job. I burned out after many years trying to sustain a high-burn pace while wearing the mask that I could manage it. I was good at my job and got rewarded for high performance. Those expectations of myself and from others couldn’t be sustained after I had started a family.
How long would you say you thought about taking this leap before you did it?
A year. Many times, I would daydream about my life in another city with other work. I convinced myself that I would be crazy to give up such a well-paying career to experiment with something new. I journaled often about leaving and then in the same entry, would convince myself things weren’t so bad.
If you thought about it for a while first, what changed that allowed you to take action?
The final event that tipped me over the edge was receiving the worst performance review feedback of my life. I had gone from a top-performer to someone who needed an action plan working with our partners and HR. It was horrible, and at the same time, there was such a toll on my husband and young son that I just wasn’t present with them given all the stress I was under. I started to unravel.
What was the hardest part before you took the leap? Was anything challenging after you did it?
The hardest part of the leap was not the leap itself but giving myself permission to do it. I struggled at first with being deserving of the life of my dreams.
How did you keep yourself motivated to stick with the change as it was happening?
Once our family made the commitment to move and I prepared my succession plan, life just got easier as if we were swimming with the current and not against it. For years, we felt we were trying to build a life on circumstances that looked good on paper yet left us unfulfilled. Each day, we felt lighter and more ourselves. It was a transformation for the three of us.
What was the best part of the experience?
The best part was that I needed a wake up call so large – so unbelievable to bring me back to myself. I’m a better mother, wife, daughter, and friend having experienced my career burnout in the way that it happened. And I feel lucky that I was able to walk away from the experience with only some minor health issues and that my detachment didn’t have a larger impact on those that I care about. Had I not been there, I wouldn’t be here absolutely filled with joy each day coaching others and growing my business.
Looking back at the leap you made, is there anything you’d do differently if you were doing it again?
I would have been more vulnerable at the time to tell people what was really happening. Many months later, I finally admitted to my colleagues the real reasons why I left. I simply wasn’t ready to face the hard truth completely as it was painful, shameful, and completely unexpected. I have no regret that I wasn’t ready to do this. Many months later, I “came out” about my burnout, and the most powerful gift was given to me. I realized that I wasn’t alone in what I had experienced. Many of my friends and former colleagues said, “me too.”
What did you learn about yourself from taking this leap? About the world around you, if anything?
I learned that we are all on the same journey, and this journey repeats itself across our lifetime in different themes. The journey is learning, and only through authentic communication with others can we see we’re not alone.
If you had to describe what making this leap has done for you in one sentence, what would you say?
Freed me from living my life according to what others want.
Is there anything else you want to share about your experience?
People kept asking me, “Aren’t you scared to start over again in a new city? What if you don’t find a job?” I thought the scarier option was to stay put, live in fear, and keep settling within a lifestyle I no longer wanted. I knew I deserved so much more.
Jessica Manca is a certified coach, author, entrepreneur and former management consultant. She founded Managing Mindspaces, a professional coaching firm, providing sensible career and life coaching services to professionals making life-changing decisions. Manca’s book, “Finding Passion: A Self-Discovery Approach for Navigating Career Crossroads” is available on Amazon and Kindle stores. Manca can be found at http://www.managingmindspaces.com and on Twitter @jessicamanca.