To some degree, self-employment has been in my life since before I graduated from university. Through every phase of my career up until April of last year, I have had various evening or weekend contracts. Some took me to Arizona on a high profile mission and others were less glamorous and far more administrative and behind the scenes. Even for the 10-year period I was more traditionally employed, I had numerous outside gigs. In April 2017, I closed shop and took no contracts under my own business name for one full year to work for someone else. Wow, did I miss it. Not just the versatility that contract work brings but also the option of a Plan B. What I knew to be true at 23 still proved to be true 20 years later…You always gotta have a Plan B – another source of income just in case you literally quit your day job.
We have this idea that if our plans don't work out, we've failed. After my first engagement (yup, I’ve been engaged twice) and life seemed to fall apart, I definitely felt like I had failed. But then came this crazy moment of clarity and lightness. I hadn’t failed. What I had done was to clear the space for the man I am so happily married to today to eventually occupy in my heart. There was no Plan B, I just leaped out of the relationship that wasn’t working.
When I resigned from my job and actually stopped working, I had that same moment of clarity and lightness. No Plan B to fall back on, but somehow I knew it would all be okay. (Full disclosure: I also have to actively remind myself of that from time to time when my mind wants to panic.)
Of course, it was painful to call off my first engagement, and it was painful to resign and choose to change my career path. But painful moments often happen when the life we had imagined is different than what the reality is. But what I have learned and cannot overstate is this: changing plans is not failure. In fact, clarity and light comes in realizing if plan A doesn't work, the alphabet has 25 more letters for you to fall back on. Use them up. All the way to Z if you need to.