In this post I will be sharing my experience on how I started my blog, The Prosperity to Do List. I also operate another blog focused more on inspirational quotes. I also run a web traffic agency helping business owners get better rankings online
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This post is a bit long but I want to give you a better idea how I have decided to make the transition from a regular employee to a blogger and writer, and I share my life lessons learned while I am going through this transition.
Life After Graduation
You see, a couple of years ago I was a fresh grad from one of the top universities in Canada and I was excited about what lies ahead of me:
I mean you are young, you are a new grad and you are eager to start that corporate job that everybody is chasing (my fourth year at university was filled with attending networking sessions, interview and resume preparation seminars).
But somehow things didn’t go the way I wanted to.
I did everything possible to make myself attractive to companies: extra curricular activities, polish my resume and interview skills and ensuring I get top marks to get into the list of “Graduated with (High) Distinction” group of students (so I can make my parents proud).
I did get many interviews but somehow I couldn’t get past the interview process. There is (and always) an inner resistance in me to work in a 9-5 job.
I didn’t know at that time but it was more of a subtle resistance every time I went for an interview.
I am sure the recruiters might have picked on this “vibe” since I didn’t get any job offers in my fourth year even after attending many interviews.
Then two months after graduation my dad told me (my parents were not living in Canada at that time) that my mother was diagnosed with eye cancer and she just got one of her eye removed as the tumor was too big to be surgically removed.
So the doctors decided to remove the whole eye instead.
You can imagine how shocked and worried I was at that time.
My parents didn’t tell me anything about her condition until after the surgery!
They didn’t want me to worry while I was studying and planning to graduate but then they had to tell me since it was a serious condition and they couldn’t keep it a secret for too long.
My dad then ask me to flew back to China to be with my Mom and so I did! I book a ticket right away and I left for China in 5 days.
During that long flight I was grateful that I didn’t have a job at that time that it give me the flexibility to leave right away. I was very sad when I saw Mom having a fake eye but thankfully she maintain a positive attitude and I am grateful that she has recovered from that experience while I was with her.
I return back to Canada six months later and then start looking for some entry level jobs and eventually got a position as an Account Manager for a internet company. How excited! My first job out of university! Yet, this is the start of a series of jobs I took within one year:
I eventually work at 3 different companies in less than a year. The reason? Because I was fed up with the office environment and some petty office politics and somehow hard work is not really appreciated by some of my co-workers.
During this time I was also taking accounting courses in hope to get an accounting designation and earn a better income. Even though I don’t like accounting very much, all my relatives think that I should better study accounting and get a stable job.
But during this whole time I feel miserable. I was very unhappy: sure I got my degree, I got a job, I got money to pay the bills, I have a roof over my head, I study accounting, I have a caring and loving boyfriend etc.etc…..but yet I am still not happy. Every day after work I will complain and whine about what happened in the office to my then boyfriend (now husband) and thank God he was so patient with me during that time and give me lots of emotional support.
I want to quit my job (again!) because I was miserable but boyfriend advised me to just go through with it and learn to deal with this aspect of the job. So I stick with it and try to put my best effort on the job. I really appreciate my boss at that time and he give me a lot of flexibility as long as I give him the results. That really helps and I stop whining for a while.
Just one month after the complaining stop I got the news that my company was to be acquired and there was high possibility that the majority of the staff will be laid off. That is when I realize that after I was laid off, I won’t ever go back again to the 9-5 routine.
Stepping Back and Do Self -reflection
After I left my ex-company I didn’t look for another job. Instead I spend time thinking what it is that I really want to do and don’t want to do. With lots of free time on my hand, I really start asking myself what it is that is going to make me happy. I really didn’t like working in the corporate world and even before graduation I have a inner resistance (albeit not as strong as now) to go into 9-5.
I start questioning my values and my future direction; I list the things I want and don’t want:
– Nice house, nice car
– Enough money for me and my parents and being financially free
-Ability to travel around the world
– Do what I love in my career
– Marry and start a family
But then I have already have a roof over my head: a nice house is but a further and luxurious expansion of it – so how come I am still not happy? What happened if I acquire these items? Would I still be happy and stop pursuing my goals (since I have achieved them right?)
That is when it hit me: I have been chasing the wrong things in life. You see, I have been very much a product of the environment:
Jen, get good grades
Jen , get into the top university
Jen, get a good job
Jen, get an accounting designation
Jen, get a house,
Jen, get a Mercedes Benz,
Jen, get nice clothes,
Jen, get yourself in shape
Jen, Jen jen je,,j,,,,,,
I never really question the things I have done in the past; I always thought that pursuing good grades, good school, good jobs are my purpose in life. Yet when I have the chance to do a little bit of self reflection I realize that none of this goals make me happy. Yes they are important but there is more than I am seeking: I am seeking fulfillment in life.
Then I start devouring a lot of books and reading blogs on success and what it means to live a life of passion and happiness.
I need to understand what makes me tick. I was doing a Purpose finding exercise (share in my future posts) on finding out what your purpose is and the result is that my purpose is to grow and at the same time to help and contribute to others through sharing my own life experience.
This is also the purpose of the Prosperity To Do List blog: to grow and at the same time to help and contribute to others through sharing my own understanding and experience of what it takes to live a fulfilled life.
1. Self-Reflection is essential in discovering your true self – For the first 25+ years of my life, I didn’t do a lot of deep and intense self reflection – I was more focused on external results: grades, school, social life, work and earning money. But none of them in itself bring me joy. I see them more as tools for you to live a happy life but by themselves they cannot bring you lasting happiness.
2. Listen to your feelings and gut, especially if they are persistent – I didn’t pay attention to my inner resistance of working a 9-5 office job but they somehow keep coming up and it became louder and louder until I have to listen (alert: they are pretty stubborn). Please avoid my mistake and listen to it the first time around. It is important because feelings are a part of YOU- they let you know what makes you comfortable and happy and warn you what makes you uncomfortable.
3. Be Grateful – After my mother cancer diagnosis, I pray day and night for a miracle: that my mom will recover and live a long and happy life with my dad. I was never a religious person even though I attend Roman Catholic elementary school and high school. But that incident shake me to my core and make me understand that life is fragile and impermanent – we need to be grateful for every positive things and moments in our lives. Keep a grateful journal if you have a tendency to complain (like me).
4. Understand Your Passion, Purpose and Values – Your Purpose is Like a Life Compass, Passion is your Engine/Motor and Values are you right hand men/women. You need them in place first to steer you successfully through life. Otherwise you will be subjected to other’s passions, purposes and values- that is fine if they are align with yours but what happen if they do not?
5. You Are Born An Entrepreneur. As I mentioned, I never really like working a 9-5 job. Even after forcing myself to fit into the corporate world, it has nothing but brought me the realization that if you don’t like something, do not force yourself to do it. Business and entrepreneurship was something I want to do since young but I dismiss that as being a bit “risky” and my family prefer me to have “security” rather than being “risky”.
I will share more on the topic of passion, purpose and values in future posts – they are very important in guiding you to a life of happiness, fulfillment and joy. There is no point in living a life full of misery all for the sake of “security”.
In fact, my personal experience of working for someone else is that I don’t feel very secure: my income and consequently my financial future is entirely controlled by someone else and that is something I am very uncomfortable with. For me, the ability to call your own shots is much more important than having security.
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