You’re not stuck.
When you feel like you’re at rock bottom and are so far off track from where you thought you’d be in life, please know that you’re not stuck. Things will shift; you are in charge of your life.
You’ve probably heard of Newton’s first law of motion: (paraphrasing) an object in motion stays in motion; an object at rest stays at rest. I used to only think that applied to science or physics types of things. The reality is that it applies to daily life.
For example, think about those that are aging – as soon as they stop socializing, stop exercising, stop getting out of the house, their health tends to start declining.
An object at rest stays at rest.
About eleven years ago, I had hit my rock bottom (it looks different for everyone, by the way). Among other things, I had gotten a DUI where I totaled my car and went through a divorce with my high school sweetheart. I felt like I had two options: 1) continue down a destructive path and wallow in my misery, or 2) put something into motion to shift out of the destruction.
Put another way, my options were to stay at rest or to get into motion.
I decided to quit my job and move to a new city with limited money and no plan – other than staying with my parents and getting a job ASAP. It probably sounds crazy, but I just knew in my heart that I wasn’t sure how to fix myself, and I sensed that physically moving would help jump start a new flow.
My parents lived almost an hour outside of the city I was looking for a job in. I wasn’t proud of my situation and put a lot of pressure on myself to find a job quickly. It didn’t take me long to find a sales position with a small company. In retrospect, I should have spent a little more time looking to find a higher paying job with better benefits. But I saw it as a stepping-stone out of my parents’ house and towards getting my life in order, so I took it. I commuted an hour each way for about four months before finding a place with my roommate (someone I was friends with from my previous job).
It turned out that I wasn’t making nearly enough money in the sales position.
Instead of looking for a higher paying sales role/career (which my now older and wiser self would do), I picked up a second job working part-time as a front desk person at a spa. I would work 8-5 at my full-time job, then spend two to three nights plus some weekend days at my part-time job.
Even with working 65 hours/week, I still wasn’t making enough to really live. I could pay my bills (remember, I had the DUI which was expensive), but I had limited money to eat and put gas in my car.
When payday was a few days away, but I was out of money, I became familiar with the gas stations that would allow you to use a debit card where only $1 was authorized at the pump, and the full charge would hit the next day. Yes, that meant I would overdraft my account – but I would have a full tank of gas to get to work.
I would siphon off a very small amount of food from my roommate, so that he wouldn’t notice (sorry, Erick). I was too embarrassed to tell him about my money situation. The truth is that he would have shared his food with me if he new how bad things were, but I couldn’t bring myself to tell a soul. Instead, I would steal things from the grocery store; literally put turkey lunch meat in my purse.
All of this was just eleven years ago.
Right now, you might be thinking, gosh… this is depressing. And didn’t she say something about not being stuck?
Yes, my money situation was the worst I had ever experienced. But moving to the new city was absolutely the right call. I had put myself in a bad situation due to my own poor choices, and I forced myself to own it and claw my way back to where I wanted to be.
It didn’t happen overnight, but it slowly happened over the course of three years. In those three years, I worked really hard, exposed myself to new people and points of view (which helped me discover career paths that I was passionate about), realized I had a talent for sales, and grew a confidence that I could tackle anything that was sent my way. Three years after stealing food at the grocery store, I was working for my dream company that was rapidly growing and had tons of room for advancement. I was in a relationship with “my person” and we had just gotten married.
If you feel stuck – stuck in your job, stuck in your relationship, stuck in your finances, etc. – you have two choices: 1) stay at rest and do nothing or 2) put something, anything, into motion.
Even if that first move you make isn’t the right thing, it will create the motion to send you in a new direction. Where could you see yourself in three years?