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This is a guest post from Stella at Bucket360.com

Everyone has one. Would you be able to recognize yours?

I wish I had an amazing story to tell you about how I ended the grind. You know, one of those stories in which I just wake up one morning full of gusto and quit my job. But that didnʼt happen.

The truth of the matter is that while the prospect of ending the grind sounds very exciting, the actual ending of it is not so much. The emotional toll of the entire process often goes by undetected until youʼre outside your former employerʼs office scratching your head wondering what the hell just happened.

I consider myself a pretty brave individual. I have an affinity for jumping out of (and off) of things. Like airplanes and cliffs. But this – ending the grind – was an entirely different matter. Forget about quitting my job, I couldnʼt even bring myself to admit that I didnʼt like it. Talk about denial.

The top 3 excuses I made for staying at my last job:

  1. Iʼve already invested over $100k and 3 years of my life to get my law degree, so doing anything else besides law was just not an option.
  2. I had a 6 figure salary working with some of the most talented and amazing people in my field. Professionally speaking, it couldnʼt get any better than this.
  3. Having a steady job is just what responsible adults do.

The funny thing is, if you asked me several years ago what the biggest challenge I faced in quitting my job was, I wouldʼve pointed to something like reason #1 or #2 above. You know, financial reasons. Because thatʼs what everyone talks about these days when theyʼre making excuses for not living a life they love. In reality, it was reason #3 that was the stumper.

Fear, Not Money, Might Be Holding You Back

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In case youʼre wondering, Iʼm not trying to gloss over finances as if itʼs some minute detail in deciding whether you end the grind or not. Itʼs a huge freakin deal. Itʼs important to have a solid exit strategy and a sound plan in place before quitting.

But with that being said, Iʼd venture to say that for most people who are still grinding along, their mentality is actually much more of a roadblock than their wallets are. What I really wanted was to like my job so that I could do what everyone else was doing and live a conventional life.

Itʼs easy to drone in and out of work everyday and let someone else take care of where youʼre going. The tradeoff is that they also took care of your happiness too and usually they didnʼt do such a good job at that.

I tried convincing myself that maybe if I just stayed there long enough I would eventually enjoy what I was doing. But as time went on, I found myself nowhere closer to liking my job and yet I was also getting more and more comfortable – in a bad way.

But then something amazing happened. I got laid off.

Boy did that change everything. The great thing about not having a job is that thereʼs no longer the illusion of security. Your arsenal of excuses? Also gone.

Youʼre on your own and it becomes apparent with every step you take whether what youʼre doing is something thatʼs getting you closer or farther away from the life of your dreams.

In Order To Get What You Want, You Have To Be Willing To Challenge Yourself

I couldʼve easily done what my other laid-off friends were doing and immediately start looking for another job. Instead, I challenged myself to create a life that was truly and authentically mine. Living in mediocrity? No longer an option.

I had a once in a lifetime chance at freedom and I was taking it. I began making a list of all the things I wanted to do in life and started doing them. I spent the better part of the year traveling abroad and visiting places like Lebanon, Syria, and Australia.

lists

When I returned to New York, I began writing, taking classes at my alma mater, and volunteering at my local organizations. So what happens when you start living a more authentic life by doing the things you love? You get more creative and your life becomes juicier.

So far Iʼm in the middle of starting my own content and copy writing business, which Iʼll be launching this summer. Iʼve also managed to combine my love of travel and charity by signing up as a volunteer in Ghana this summer; Iʼll be working at some of the local orphanages and hospitals there.

These things wouldnʼt have been possible had I not made the decision to live a more authentic life.

Ending the grind is a scary process. Sometimes you need a nudge, or if youʼre like me, a big push. But at the end of the day, the real challenge is getting over your mental attitude.

Iʼm not going to lie. Itʼs not easy. I still have my law school loans to repay and not a lot of income to live on. I just do it all within my means. Are there days when I wish I could just go out and buy the latest gadget? Most definitely. But then I think about whatʼs important and all the great experiences Iʼve had to date and thereʼs no doubt in my mind that itʼs all worth it.

If thereʼs one piece of advice I could give to those still grinding, it would be to really sit down and think about whatʼs holding you back from living a life you love. Chances are while money plays a part, itʼs not the real reason. Living an authentic life is scary but thereʼs nothing more rewarding.

See you on the other side. 🙂

Stella Szeto is the author of Bucket 360, a lifestyle blog dedicated to helping others create and lead the life of their dreams. Her motto? Take risks, smash convention, and live happy.

Stella will also be launching a content and copy writing business this summer to help entrepreneurs and small businesses market their goods in a fun, creative, and ethical way. Keep an eye out for it!

You can also follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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