This is a guest submission by Lauren from

“I’m just not happy.”

I finally admitted it to myself. Well, I guess you could say I always knew I wasn’t happy in my job, but it wasn’t until then that I let myself believe there was another way for me. It wasn’t until then that I decided that a different kind of life was possible – a life lived on my own terms, a business run with my own ideas and ideals, a schedule that avoided my unavoidable zombie-like state in at 7:00 AM. (I am not sexy at 7 AM… at all.)

And that’s when I sat down with my boss and I told him, “Michael… I feel like the life is being sucked out of me here and your meetings are boring as hell, and well, honestly, I think you’re an ass.”

Okay, I didn’t say that. But I did tell him I wasn’t happy and that I was proud to say I was going to venture off on my own to start my own business. It was a proud moment for me.

But then the next realization came…

“What will I do?!?! I now have no income, still have rent to pay, and suddenly all of my friends are getting married and I need to buy them salad bowls and gravy boats from Crate and Barrel!”

What Do I Love To Do?

The day after my breakup with my job I woke up at 9:30 AM on my own terms, sat in front of my laptop at what was now my big, bad home office, and I opened up a blank word document.

There was nothing on it. At first I freaked out! “My life is now nothing but a blank document with a blinking cursor acting like a pointing finger screaming ‘WTF were you thinking Lauren?!?!’”

But then I saw it for what it was… a fresh start. A clean slate. A place of endless opportunity for true badassery and ass kicking.

It was time to brainstorm.

I knew 3 things at this point:

1.)    I loved blogging, writing, and the overall community that comes from chatting it up with the amazing like-minded people through the blogosphere.

2.)    I loved seeing beautiful websites and blogs that were designed to actually show that person’s message and brand. Bad websites literally make me cringe in despair!

3.)    My purpose in life is to help others fulfill theirs. Nothing else makes me happier than seeing someone light up with ideas of ways they can make a difference in their own life and the life of overs.

And so I dove in deep. I started teaching myself everything there was to know about web design. I knew that I didn’t want to just help other people design blogs and websites for the written words and launched products that would be the backbone of them living their passion, but I also knew I wanted to be able to create websites for any crazy idea I had as well. It was perfect. I could help others AND I could help myself. Why not?!

Doing What I Love

So, where am I today, you ask?

I’m designing beautiful websites for amazing, powerful, and inspiring people and companies! I’m organizing 50 mile walks to raise over 1.2K dollars for classroom projects in high poverty schools.

I moved away from the frozen tundra of the northeast and settled in a beach town with a surfboard and a moped where I live two blocks from the beach. I’m a travel junkie, having spent a year in China and explored many corners of South East Asia.

Honestly, when I type that out, I still don’t believe it! But I will tell you this… it’s been an interesting and sometimes bumpy road to get here and I still have insanely high standards for myself in terms of where I want to go with all this.

Was It An Easy Ride? Yes And No..

I’m a firm believer that if you stay true to who you are and what you’re about, and you truly give 110% to doing what you love to do (not what you think you want to do – the thing in your life you LOVE to do… there’s a big difference there.) then somehow, some way things will happen for you. Correction – somehow, someway you will make something happen for you. Just when you feel like everything is going to fall apart… some magical, crazy thing will happen to keep you mission going.

Think about this …. Did you know that after Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run album (I’m a HUGE fan!) came out he went through endless and tireless battles to gain the rights to his songs and to be able to write the kind of music he wanted to?

Imagine if the record company had forced him to do what the producers and big-wigs of the music industry wanted him to do? We might not have the same sell-out-Giant-Stadium-7-nights-straight kind of musician we have today! Sticking to your guns is essential!!!!

We all start from the beginning. Even the people that seem untouchable today went through struggle to reach that point.

For me, that struggle was more internal – “Can I really do it? Is it worth the risk? What if I screw it all up? What if my own design work sucks?

Yup… I was a regular old asshole to myself. What a waste of time that was!

At some point though, we reach a line and we can choose to cross it or turn back. Once you cross it, don’t look back.

Where I’m Headed

Well, I’d have to say I’m headed right where you’re headed! I’m going to keep paving that road that strays further and further away from that cubicle lit by florescent lights. Man, I can’t stand florescent lighting!

I’m going to keep bettering my skillset, connecting with amazing people who live like they have a reason to, and coming up with out-of-the-box ways to make myself and this world a better place.

I’m an entrepreneur. I’m a startup addict. I’m a people person. I’m a designer. I simply couldn’t not be those things, and that was that.

I’m glad I can finally look in the mirror and I can say, “I’m happy.”

It’s a journey worth the risk. The cost of taking that journey will never ever outweigh what you’ll gain from taking it when it’s all said and done.

Go kick some entrepreneurial ass!

Lauren Rains world-traveling, Spanish learning, web-designing chick who is on a mission to live a life of adventure, substance, and growth.

The Mad To Live is her second home where she writes about how to live a wild, crazy, and meaningful life through travel, personal development, and passion products. She lives to explore the unknown, be inspired every day, and to sit outside on warm nights with good friends sharing stories and laughs over caipirinhas. She likes to do the same on Twitter @Laurrains.

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