Every time someone says “pivot” all I hear is Ross Geller…the one with the sofa…Friends, The One With the Cop
Now, I’m not moving a sofa – what with my back – yeah right! But I am pivoting. (Yep, still hearing him…) And until I became an indie author, I had never heard of the phrase when it came to careers. It wasn’t until I started devouring podcasts and content about creatives, indie authors and entrepreneurs, that I began to realise that pivoting was something I would have to do and that there were already millions of entrepreneurs pivoting out of the so called traditional 9 to 5 role.
Why? That’s the easy part.
Entrepreneur = Freedom
With Autumn, or ‘Fall’ if you’re from across the Atlantic, on our doorstep, I’ve been reflecting upon exactly what has happened this year, all those bumps along the rocky path. And what I’ve figured out is that I chose this path. I just couldn’t see all of it. I couldn’t see those obstacles that make you stumble. No-one can.
So, on NYE 2018, almost a month after losing my Dad, I was trying to be positive, be strong. I wanted to let go of 2018 and leave it behind and leave all the pain behind, too. I knew that if I was serious about my author career, my life would have to change. Sometimes, it takes a shock, like a bereavement to make you really look inside yourself and answer some big questions about what you want out of life and what you don’t want. So I declared to my husband that “2019 would be the year of change.”
I had come to terms with the fact that I just couldn’t see myself being confined inside the walls of a classroom every single day anymore. And as the year progressed, the pressures of work and being back on the grief rollercoaster, it wasn’t long before I reached the point where my emotional and mental health had taken one beating too many and by Spring, I just felt like I had nothing left to give. I remember saying to a colleague, “I can’t be a teacher and be a grieving daughter again. It’s too much.”
And I have no shame in admitting that. Sometimes, it still is.
You see teaching is unforgiving. The pressure is relentless. No sooner have you completed a task, then there’s three more waiting and usually two of those are for the very next day. Never mind the targets to meet and parents to deal with and tackling very challenging behaviour on a daily basis. Yes, we get very good holidays, but there’s very little work-life balance.
For teachers, often the equation looks like this… Holidays = Recovery
Trying to maintain any semblance of work-life balance during term-time is…well…nigh on impossible. I’ve yet to meet a quality teacher doing a quality job who has found a balance. If you’ve done it, what’s your secret? Many, many teachers would love to know…
My truth is this – I had no emotional capacity left.
By April, I knew I had hit rock bottom.
Seriously, some days the anxiety, which I tried to hide for as long as I could, left me nipping off to the loo to catch my breath. I’ve been very fortunate to work with a brilliant team who could step in to cover me for five minutes whilst I answered a ‘call of nature’. And what’s sort of funny about it now is that my husband sent me a Joe Rogan video to watch – link here – where he says exactly that – some people are so miserable in their 9-5 jobs that they relish toilet time because they can find a moment for themselves, or in my case, focus on my breathing and trying to avoid tears. Have you ever felt like that?
So I went to my GP and took some time off. It was the best thing I could have done for myself. If you ever feel like that, speak with your doctor or friends and family. #itsokaynottobeokay
Finally, I began to rise to the surface
I am very fortunate. I could have been facing much worse as so many people do. I’m not belittling my anxiety and my grief, far from it. Mental health is just as important as physical health. When one is affected, the other is.
I just followed the advice I had been given and began counting my blessings. I know what and who they are.
Reflected back upon the first half of the year, I realise that I had been given something and that something was TIME. So I wrote. I poured my heart out onto the blank pages through the tears, filling the emptiness I had inside. I found solace in the pages. Writing was my escape. My freedom, albeit, temporary enabled me to create. Some days, I couldn’t lift my head off the pillow. I would stay in bed, lost in grief. But when I could write, when my characters were plaguing me, I did. I grasped every minute of the time I had been given when I was emotionally able to do so.
You see, that is what drives every creative, every entrepreneur to pivot from a 9 to 5, or to never get stuck in there in the first place – we all want that FREEDOM.
So I resigned.
I read in a recent article my husband had sent me that:
Entrepreneurs would rather work 100 hours a week for themselves rather than 40 hours a week for someone else.
Reading that, was just another piece of evidence, like the Joe Rogan video, that spoke to me. I know from the very core of my soul that I have made the right decision.
I’ll be spending the rest of 2019 and the very beginning of 2020 teaching part-time which will allow me more time and more freedom to pivot to the author career my heart so desperately craves.
It’s a big financial change. I’ll be battening down the hatches over the winter. I’ve got financial sacrifices to make whilst I try to build this author life, but we only have one life to live, don’t we? So, if nothing else, it should be a happy one.
So, as Ross Geller says, “pivot, pivot, pivot!”
Make sure you stay Write Healthy