When I was 21 years old, the future looked bright for me.
I was working at a big international investment company and I was the best performer in the team — I was earning enough money to live by myself, I had a looming promotion, and an overseas transfer was expected too. The icing to the cake? I became an ‘Employee of the Month’.
Naturally, these accomplishments made my parents beam with pride. People would even often think that I have it ‘all’ especially since I was doing really well in my career despite being a fresh graduate.
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 natural ‘linear’ order of life wherein everyone is expected to get a stable 9-to-5 career after graduation in order to secure the future — any differing or unconventional aspirations will have to take a backseat (and if you come from a traditional family like me, this process will be closely monitored by your parents).
Certainly, not being able to do what I really wanted in life had burned me out; but other than that, the overall ‘office setting’ or lifestyle made me wonder a lot… “Is this all there is to it?”
What good is in this ‘secure’ job if I am this miserable? 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 vacation, holidays, or long weekends? If I always have to ask someone for permission just to have a ‘break’? If I am wasting almost 5 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, and 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 society’s conventions because they chose to do what they really love to do, no matter how unusual of a thing it was and they were not only successful but they were happy too!
That was the moment when I knew that it was time for me to take the ‘leap’. I didn’t want to waste my 20s anymore, nor did I want to settle and slave myself for a corporation just to fit myself into society’s 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 almost 2 years now, and since then, I’ve flown around the French Alps as a paraglider, played around with elephants in Thailand, experienced peculiar customs in Europe, and so much more! Plus, as I hopped from one country to another, I had even managed to set up an online business that lead me to live a more sustainable travel lifestyle today.
Now, how did this happen? Do I have rich parents or family members to back me up? No. Do I have some sort of inheritance enabling me to travel the world and to set up a company? No. Do I have someone giving me money? No.
I actually got to where I am now through my own hard work. I alone had made this lifestyle happen and YOU 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 certainly refrain you from doing far greater things in your life.
Besides, if you rather focus all that effort into something that you are truly passionate about, you will not only be ‘good’ at it but you would become a ‘master’ of it, and you will become happy! You might even earn more!
I actually hold a business degree specialized for the corporate setting and it is totally unrelated to the profession that I wanted to do which was online marketing and graphic design. Nevertheless, I didn’t let my prior education hinder me from doing the things that I enjoyed — for two months, 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 gained more recognition and I even bagged a contract for an online brand that paid me double than what I earned before (I eventually earned quadruple more when they promoted me to higher positions) and this happened because they saw that I was good in what I was doing.
Things were going really good, especially since while I was doing all that work online, I was also traveling at the same time — I was in full control of my time. How was I?
Happy, fulfilled and contented!
It was then that I learned that doing the means to achieve the lifestyle and career that I want is always the best choice; it will be hard at first — of course it would be — but for as long as I work hard (which becomes second nature to me because I enjoyed doing it anyway) things will always bear fruit.
So don’t you ever undervalue your abilities and skills; there are people out there who are willing to pay you more for the things that you can do. Also, if you’re not happy with where you are now, make the action to achieve the dream job that you want to have and which you are rather better at doing.
Remember this: 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 the typically perceived way of securing our future; however, that’s not entirely true, because there will be a time that you might get laid off or fired — you are working for someone else anyway.
It is for that reason that we should always create our own sense of security which is usually in the form of making a profession or a business that you would personally own and control. “Always think long term” was my ‘mantra’ and this kind of outlook helped a lot in making me into the entrepreneur that I am today.
You see, though I was handling different clients, I always had it in my mind to think of more sustainable ways to support myself; I was always open to whatever opportunity that could come my way, and an opportunity surely came when I was inspired by one of the online clients that I was working for. They had a really good business and after learning almost all the processes that they had, I just knew that I can do it too. So after a bit of preparation, I along with my partner, decided to adapt their idea and launch the online company: Adalid Gear.
“If you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs.” – Dhirubhai Ambani
Today, I am no longer working for anyone else… I am now working for myself, and the way I see it, I have truly secured my own future — I have built my own dream, and YOU can do it too.
In a way, I think that my traveling lifestyle truly helped in my entrepreneurial journey because I was constantly encountering not only new experiences but new people who were also building their dreams with their own abilities. All those things really helped push me into aspiring for my own.
But above all, I think that what this ultimately boils down to is the thought that for as long as you abandon conventions and embrace fear as you go after your true passion in life, great things will always happen.
It can be a fast process, though most of the time it can be slow; but like everything else, it’s not a race but a journey and you are going to enjoy it!
By: Aileen Adalid