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Choose your struggle

A week ago I decided I was going to walk away from my stable and secure public service job and start my own business.

Told my manager, decided on a date (20th June). All very exciting, even a little dramatic.

That night there was so much anxiety in the front of my neck I could barely speak.

It’s a good job, after all. I work four days per week. The days I’m not at work I spend writing novels. It’s been a good arrangement for several years. In fact, some years were brilliant, the work that came my way was varied and challenging.

But I couldn’t shake the niggling desire to start a business. It just never left me.

Nice as it is to have ideas, the reality of setting up a business hit me like a freight train. Two kids need me to sort my shit out, FAST!!

My head was spinning. I went through the ‘What the fuck have I done??!!’ self talk. I don’t know what I’m doing! No regular pay packet! No more paid leave! Where do I even start?

Why make things hard for myself?

When I feel really alone, when I doubt myself, when I think my problems are insurmountable, I read. I read about other people who’ve faced pretty fucked up situations. I read about the problems people have faced. I read about how most people have hopes and dreams that have been cruelly thwarted by circumstances. It made me feel less alone. In fact, it became abundantly clear that my problem was in no way unique. It was just a problem. Just a bit of struggle. And we’ve all got them. In spades.

It got me thinking that to want a pain-free, struggle-free life is just absurd. Life is only possible with struggle. You can never, ever fully comprehend all the consequences of the choices you make or the circumstances that come your way. And they’ll be a mixed bag of truly extraordinarily wonderful consequences, and downright ugly painful ones.

When I came to understand this, the anxiety that was stuck in my throat left. I thought about what I truly value, what I wanted to be defined by, what I’m good at, what’s meaningful to me, and what’s going to drive me forward.

Even if there’s uncertainty, and quite possibly failure, I’m going to start this business.

We are, and always will be, defined by what we’re willing to struggle for.

So now, I sit at my desk and I plan, I strategize, I develop templates, I develop my systems, I do online courses. My writing for the second book has also improved. It’s punchy, and smart, and emotive. And I’ve realised there’s a strange kind of joy in this struggle stuff. I’m more motivated and enthusiastic now than at any other point in my life.

It took a long time to get here. I’ve had to really be dragged out of my comfort zone and I left scratch marks leaving, that’s for sure. I was always waiting to be ready.

But we’re never ready. I’m still not ready. Life’s too short. And there’s too much shit to do.

I bet you have a bloody interesting life with struggles of your own.  We’re all in this together. Please drop me a line at hello@jmlawler.com I’d love to hear from you. Really, I would love that.

~ Jann x

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