^^For all of these reasons, it was an exciting and rewarding year, yet mentally - it became one of the most challenging.
I left a full-time career in the summer of 2014 without a back up plan (more on that here), which meant I faced complete financial uncertainty in 2015. I had no concrete plans for making money from month to month, and I ended up writing about my career experiences for blogs and websites (for free), while also juggling work as a copywriter, freelance event manager, server and brand ambassador.
Constantly having to adjust (and apply) to new jobs, new schedules and late night deadlines was incredibly stressful, and I became addicted to Ambien to get me through the night. Additionally, because I was pursuing freelance work, I was working alone a lot, and began developing social anxieties that made me nervous to see my own friends and TERRIFIED to be “put on the spot” in any professional settings (which made job searching quite difficult). As the negative little voice in my head got louder, I holed myself away at home (which was also my way of spending less money) and purposefully avoided any situation where I'd have to answer the question: "how are you?" or "what are you working on these days?"
Half way through 2015, my anxieties grew stronger, and by May— I stopped writing all together. I wasn't ready to talk about what I was going through (emotionally) at that time, and I felt like a fraud writing "advice" for women, when I was struggling with my confidence and my finances so much! Instead, I poured all my time into designing the SOLO website and interviewing other women to feature on the site.
At that point, it certainly would have been easier to get a 9- 5 to reduce the financial part of my stress, but something deep within me told me not to...to keep pushing forward in my own unique way. I knew we were creating something special with SOLO, and I thought that if I got into a full time job, my creative projects would be pushed to the back burner and my dreams would start to slip away. So I kept juggling freelance jobs and searching for part time work, and I went to bed every night telling myself that great rewards require GREAT sacrifices.
Thankfully, by July, I found a 30-hr/ per week job at a boutique catering company (Urban Palate)—that enabled me to quit the awful serving job I had at the time (BEST.FEELING.EVER!) and return my focus to writing! I turned the “lows” I’d been experiencing into new writing material, and I started regularly journaling, as well as meditating and practicing yoga to naturally reduce my stress and help me sleep.
These days, I'm still working for Urban Palate, and I've recently begun working part time for a health/wellness brand as well. I wake up early every day to work, write and brainstorm ideas for SOLO, and will (soon!) be launching our SOLO video channel filled with motivational advice + interviews for millennial women!
If you yourself are considering switching up your career or making a major life change—PLEASE DO NOT let this post discourage you! Had I not taken some risks and left my old career path behind—Erica & I wouldn’t have created SOLO, I wouldn’t be connected with the brilliant entrepreneurial women that I’ve met through writing... and I wouldn’t have the freedom to work creatively every day. The challenges of this last year were necessary for me to become a stronger, more confident person – and I don’t think my voice (or my writing) would ever be powerful without them.
YES, change brings challenges —but ones that are vital for personal growth and success! You’ve got to throw yourself INTO the fire and OUT OF your comfort zone to find your true purpose and potential in life. Have faith in your own abilities, stay close to those you love, explore your passions, and keep pushing forward until you get to where you want to go!!
xoxo - Ryan
(( Wishing you all strength and serenity this year, and the power to overcome any challenge that’s dropped in your way. We are all on the path of personal growth and discovery, and we must support and encourage one another every step of the way!))