I tried to think where to start.
He had died not even a couple months before.
The girls were 4 and 6 years old.
He was the one with the job, the income.
The future career. Financial stability.
All of it went with him.
Before he died I went back to college.
He would take care of the girls one night a week while I was going to my classes, so I could be ready to have a ‘good’ job after he died.
It is not creative.
And it cannot ever bring fulfillment.
I always thought he was smarter than me.
The smarter one was dying.
The better one was the one to go.
The fear creeping in was slow over the years of his dying.
One place where it would show up was in my dreams.
I had nightmares that I could not rescue my kids.
You see, regular fear has to do with survival and its role in our bodies is pervasive; it interprets the stimulus as life-threatening, and then it mediates a series of biological responses to protect our life.
My responses after he died was to find the most logical career so I could raise my kids.
My fear told me and my body that going into the corporate world was the most safe choice for my survival.
The bad news was that nobody in my life, in my books, even professionals ever tried to tell me that this decision was based on my fear and not on anything that had to do with living a good life after loss.
Nobody. Nobody whatsoever.
So today I am going to write to you about how to look at your career after loss that will impact many years of your life. Don’t make the mistakes I made.
1. SPEND A FEW DAYS REMEMBERING BEFORE YOU DECIDE ANYTHING:
Your brain will not know the answer to this question: What do you love doing? It will always answer it with I don’t know anymore. I don’t even know who I am after my loss. Please know this is your brain refusing to go off the automatic setting and on to manual. Your brain is wired to stay the same, living the same habitual life. It does not like to be told something different. But if you choose to reject the automatic answer grab a pen and paper and try to remember all the things you used to love to do years ago. Before this life was here. Write them down. Spend a few days remembering.
2. CLEANSE YOUR SURVIVOR OUT OF YOUR CONSCIOUSNESS:
Once you think of all the passions, skills, and things you were good at most likely a voice that I call The Survivor will try and tell you to not even consider doing any of these things. The Survivor is here to protect you from taking risks and putting your life into a new path. We need to cleanse the voice of The Survivor. The Survivor is Fear. Your body’s response to your survival after loss. At this point in time you need to do a grief cleanse that will last at least 7 days. This is how a grief cleanse looks: You write every day for a few moments and you unleash all the cant’s and wont’s and all the reasons as to why you should not do something you love to do. You literally take them out of your brain every day until you no longer need to. At the end of it, you can set them on fire, trash them and hide them from your consciousness forever.
3. MAKE YOUR LIST OF DREAM JOBS:
Take your What do I love to do list and start doing the things you love. Go through the list. One by one. Spend a day or two on each one of them. If you love to write, spend time learning how to become a blogger or how to make money writing. Spend an hour or two a day writing whatever you want without judgement. If you have gardening on your list, go to your local garden store and ask to see if you can shadow someone there. Find a landscaper to interview. If you love interior design call a local college and get info on it. Whatever your passion is spend time with it for a few days see if it still makes your heart sing. If it doesn’t then you cross it off the list. If it does then you take the next steps I am about to tell you.
4. PLUG IN TOWARDS YOUR CHOSEN CAREER:
Choose your one top thing you love to do. (I hope it is illogical, edgy, crazy by the way. You can do the impossible remember.) And take your first committed action towards that thing you love. I call the first committed actions plug ins. They are small steps that are non scary towards a goal. What is a small step that does not scare you that will take you closer to making your dream job become more real? And remember every day the Survivor will try to talk to you, you tell them this: Don’t worry Survivor I am just having some fun right now, nothing to worry about. Calm your fear down as much as possible we don’t want your body and mind to go back to survival mode and choose a job that gives you no happiness. That is why the steps have to be small and kind of sneaky. 🙂
5. GET YOUR FIRST PAYCHECK FROM THE JOB YOU LOVE TO DO:
Find a way to get paid from this dream job. It could be 5 dollars, but find a way to get money for a small project you have done. Remember the amount is not important, what is important is for you to know that money can come from this. You don’t have to sacrifice your life doing a job you hate.
One day a few months ago I spoke to a wonderful woman who lost her husband a couple of years back. She told me she loved baking pies, so she just started doing that. Slowly but surely opportunity knocked on her door and now she co-owns her own pie shop. I have many stories like this one to tell you.
Your life after loss does not have to be scary. It does not have to be about making money while doing work you don’t like.
If only someone had sent me a letter like this one I would have saved years of my life. I truly disliked my corporate job so much. This is the one thing I would change if I was to go back. But then again I would not have discovered the Waiting Room and I would have not been able to free others from it. No regrets. But I want to make sure you will not spend years of your life at a job that means nothing to you. All I am asking you to do is spend a few days experimenting after your loss. Don’t listen to your fear telling you to say yes to the job that pays the bills but robs you from your soul.
PS. On Tuesday we officially open the doors to The Life Starters. A big day ahead of us.