Is this what I have been so afraid of?
it’s 9 am and my alarm goes off. I open my eyes and the first thought that pops into my head is “Why exactly am I supposed to get up that early? Why the heck do I even need to get up for?” I was angry at myself and angry at the world for making me rise from the state I actually loved being in: asleep. My shift starts at 11 am and I live 2 minutes from the place I work. The day before I might have written down some stuff I wanted to do in this 2 h before my workday starts. But in the morning nothing made sense and I wanted to crawl back under my sheets and stay there forever, not just these 2 hours.
When I moved to Switzerland in 2014, I got a job in the summer as a waitress in a restaurant near my home. I was a bit late with applying for a job so I figured I had to take the first opportunity out there and that’s exactly what I did. I was working 100% (which today seems like a horror movie), I was working all weekends and evenings. And on top of that, I was working with “room-hours”, that's when your shift is divided into morning and evening parts, having a 3 h break from 2 pm till 5 pm. What am I suppose to do with this time? Live my life?
Having a life was not an option for me. I missed out all the dinners, the parties, the Sunday brunches, the warm summer barbeque evenings and much more. Living in this town for 3 years and I had made no friends of my own and I spent all my “room-hours” literally in my room, depressed, unhappy just waiting to go back to work. Luckily my boyfriends' friends were awesome, but I never got a chance to hang out with them much. So I figured they have long forgotten about me.
I kept telling people and myself that I did all of that above to save money over the summer to be able to move to Laax in the winter time. I and my boyfriend worked as snowboard instructors there. This was my dream job that had initially led me to travel to Switzerland in the first place. So, therefore, I thought it was okay to compromise my summertime happiness in order to get to do what I love in the winter. Today, I call bullshit on that. Today I know I was scared. I was scared I was not going to get another job, scared of rejection, scared I was gonna end up with something even worse (was that even possible?); scared I was not good enough for another job with decent working hours and occasional weekends off. In my head I did have the perfect back up story for that; I was a foreigner with limited language skills. And this is what I am to this day, it has not changed, German is my 3rd language and I will be forever limited by this. But I will not let this limit my life like that any more.
It was February 2017 and I had to make a decision: Contact my boss at the restaurant to tell him I'm coming back for the summer or tell him I'm quitting. Hands shaking, voice trembling, weak from my knees I had a walk in the forest to make that phone call. What made me pick up the phone and tell him I'm quitting was the feeling that going back there and doing it all over again yet another summer felt worst than the fear I had about finding another job. This is usually the space people wait to be in. The uncomfortable feeling of the situation is bigger than the fear of actually doing it. Even though I'm grateful that I did the step and made that call, I could have saved a few years of my life, If I would have identified my fear a bit earlier. The reality is what it is, I cannot change that. All I know is this experience though me a lot.
When spring rolled in I had to start looking for another job. This action that I was so scared, this action that I have been putting off for 3 years. I sent out a few applications. I also upgraded my standards for the job. I mean, I really wanted to have a life that upcoming summer.
A few days later I get a phone call from a restaurant I had applied for a job and they wanted to hire me on the spot. “What??” They didn’t even want to make an appointment for an interview neither a trial day at work. I could have said yes and have a new job right there and then! But I learned from my mistake from the first restaurant; I wasn’t going to say yes to the first option this time. I told them I needed time to think and explore other options. I mean I hadn’t even started looking yet. I was just warming up. And after that phone call, I felt more confident, this is exactly what I needed, not the job itself but the confirmation of knowing that someone else would hire me.
So I decided I wanted to do this right this time. I wanted to find a job I would enjoy and not limit my experiences in life as much as the last job did. That summer I did get a job I dreamed of. I had all evenings off and an occasional weekend here and there. Is that what I had been so afraid of? Was that what I had compromised my happiness for?
First overcoming my fear of not finding another job, then tapping into my self worth and realizing that I can do better, way-way better, made it possible for me to see that there are more options than I knew about. I also learned that what we most fear is probably never going to happen anyway, so why settle for something that makes me so unhappy?
Today I have also ditched the job I found in 2017 because I knew that I could do even better. I am constantly upgrading my work conditions and chasing after the life I feel I deserve. All I had to do is tackle the first initial fear, get really clear what I was really afraid of about taking those first steps and all the doors seem to start popping open after that.
If you feel inspired and ready to take on the word, go ahead and follow up with an Adventure Activity. We have been inspired by the incredible Tim Ferris and therefore prepared a little at home worksheet about fears and how to motivate yourself to take these steps towards your goals and dreams.
Tell us how these few questiosn made you change your perspective on the things you might have been scared of doing?
Light and Love