When I was 21 years old, the future looked bright for me.
I was working at an international investment company and I was the best performer in the team. I was financially independent, had a looming promotion, and an overseas transfer in the works. The icing on the cake? I became an ‘Employee of the Month’.
These accomplishments made my parents beam with pride. Friends thought I had it all. But what they didn’t know was that I was terribly uninspired and miserable.
Much like everyone else, I only clung to that job to follow the traditional order of life wherein everyone is expected to get a stable 9-to-5 job after graduation in order to secure their future. Any unconventional aspirations take a backseat, especially if you come from a traditional family like mine.
Certainly, not being able to do what I loved and the corporate lifestyle got me burned me out. I wondered – “is this all there is to it?” I thought, what good is it to have a ‘secured’ job if I am miserable? Or if I am counting every hour until I could get home? If I am calculating the days until it’s the weekend? If I am always waiting for vacations, holidays, or long weekends? If I always have to ask someone for permission just to break? If I am wasting almost five hours of my day in traffic? If I am plagued by overtimes and unnecessary meetings?
It definitely wasn’t the kind of life that I wanted, but when I started to meet backpackers, nomads, and entrepreneurs who were passing through Manila, my whole world was turned upside down. Here were these individuals who abandoned conventions to do what they really love to do, no matter how unusual it was to most. And they were not only successful but they were happy too!
That was the moment I knew that it was time for me to take the leap. I didn’t want to waste my 20s anymore, nor settle and allow myself to be enslaved by a corporation just to fit into the traditional concept of security.
So after a bit of preparation and thorough discussions with my parents, I finally left my corporate job to go after my real passion in life: traveling the world while working for myself.
It has been two years now, and since then, I’ve paraglided around the French Alps, played with elephants in Thailand, experienced peculiar customs in Europe, and so much more! Plus, as I hopped from one country to another, I even managed to create an online business that allows me to live sustainably.
Now, how did this happen? I don’t have rich parents or family members to back me up. Nor did I receive money from anybody enabling me to travel the world and set up a company. I actually got to where I am now through my own hard work. I made this lifestyle happen and anybody can do the same!
Just do what you really want to do. You don’t have to be a lawyer, a doctor, or an engineer if that’s not what you want to be, because no matter how you are good at it, you will just end up unhappy and that will keep you from doing far greater things in your life. Besides, if you focus all that effort into what you are passionate about, you will not only be ‘good’ at it but you would become a ‘master’ of it. You will be fulfilled and might even earn more!
I hold a business degree specialized for the corporate setting – something totally unrelated to online marketing and graphic design which I really wanted to do. Nevertheless, I didn’t let that hinder me. I scoured the internet for tutorials in order to learn what I needed to know, and when I was confident with my knowledge, I started to offer my services to different clients online.
I had to start small at first, but then I slowly became more adept and gained recognition. I even bagged a contract for an online brand that paid me double than what I earned before (quadruple when I was promoted to higher positions).
Things were going really good. I was doing work online, while traveling at the same time. I was in full control of my time and I was happy, fulfilled and contented! It was then that I learned that doing what you love is always the best choice. Of course, it will be hard at first but for as long as you work hard, things will always bear fruit.
So don’t ever undervalue your abilities and skills; there are people out there who are willing to pay you properly for the things that you can do well. Also, if you’re not happy where you are now, take a leap and get that dream job. Remember that you are far more valuable than you think, especially when you are at your most productive state.
Create your own sense of security. We are often bound to our office jobs because it’s seen as the traditional way of securing our future. However, that’s not entirely true, because you could get laid off anytime. You are, after all, working for someone else.
Hence, we should all consider a profession or a business that you personally own and control. Always think long term. This has helped in making me the entrepreneur that I am today.
You see, although I was handling different clients, I was always thinking of more sustainable ways to support myself. So when an opportunity presented itself – inspired by one of my online clients, my partner and I launched our online company: Adalid Gear.
Today, I work only for myself. The way I see it, I have also truly secured my future and built my dream. Somehow, my traveling lifestyle helped in my entrepreneurial journey, as I encountered new experiences and people who were also building their dreams with their own abilities.
And it ultimately boils down to this – that even as you abandon conventions and embrace fear as you go after your true passion in life, great things will happen. It can be fast or slow. But like everything else, it’s not a race, but a journey and you are going to enjoy it!
Follow Aileen at: http://iAmAileen.com
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