Big risks have their rewards. I’m not talking about running a stop sign to make it to the movies on time. No. That is dumb and dangerous. I’m talking about investments, career changes, love, etc. You know, life things. I want to take a moment to acknowledge my own risks and to encourage those who might be on the edge of jumping. You can never know where a road will lead to, unless you take steps to explore it, right? In my case, there were a series of abrupt pushes that led me to my big leap.
On recognizing the need for a drastic change in direction: It was the 3rd installment of lay-offs in the 3 ½ years I had been at HOT 97. I thought it was just a customary process…until it was my turn. I remember it like it was yesterday. I had just come from a doctor’s appointment and was smitten to have missed the first half of the work day. I strolled in leisurely with my box braids plopped in a bun atop my head. I was wearing a silk, hot pink blouse from J. Crew and my new Jessica Simpson wedges. I was feeling easy, breezy, beautiful and LAZY. I didn’t feel like doing much of anything and I do think I made that quite clear to my constituents in the preceding months. I was like one of those stubborn mules that had been overworked and at a certain point just refused to budge. Anyway, when I walked in the office, my boss skipped his normal salutations and directed me to HR. I knew what was up. “Could it be?” I thought to myself. “Am I getting laid off?” It was quick and painless. I think I dropped a few tears for the memories but that was it. I was sooooooo over the work I was doing there. The truth is I had known I wanted something different for myself for quite some time, but I failed to go for mine. I lingered for a bit, said my goodbyes and proceeded to the exit. For the sake of this article, I’ll say it was the cliff. For that is where I expanded my wings and began to fly.
On recognizing and seizing the opportunity: The first person I spoke to was my mother. “Mommy, they laid me off.” Her reaction is something that will stick with me forever. “Congratulations!” she cried. “I’m so happy for you!” she said. You know how babies sometimes cry and you can do a weird and silly face to shock them and it will stop their tears in their tracks? That was precisely my reaction. I had complained a million times about feeling unfulfilled to her and here I was crying over what I failed to see as a blessing. This was my chance to start over. Who knew when I would be presented with the time and freedom to pursue whatever I wanted again? Who knew when I would finally act on my desires? My mother’s wisdom was probably the first beacon of light that broke through my internal darkness. I wiped my tears away and for the life of me that day, I could NOT stop smiling.
On persevering through obstacles: Starting over was HARD. My degree was totally unrelated to what I wanted to pursue. My experience was only personal and I had a finite amount of time to bust a move before problems started to pile up. The gradient wasn’t consistently upward. If you know me, you might have gotten a distress call from me during this time. There were dips and twirls that sent me plummeting but I never hit the bottom. That’s the thing about risks. You have to see it through.
I began studying for my PT certification. That was the quickest way to get into the health arena. After getting certified, I set out to snag an entry level job where I could work in both the fitness and non-profit realms while building my training repertoire. To my surprise, there was an abundance of opportunities in that field and I actually landed a specialist position at a highly respected non-profit. From there, I sowed. I sowed and sowed and sowed until it just became automatic. Like a stylist or model loves to wear clothes, so do I love the gym and imparting my wellness knowledge on everybody and anybody. I sent out positive energy. I did things pro bono. I offered my help. I went above. I went beyond. I set out for things that many would say were out of my league. I applied for jobs that required a masters degree, I interviewed and put my best foot forward and opportunities began appearing. People began to hit me with the “I see you, Jazz.” People recommended me for things. It’s the law of the universe. What’s yours is yours. But you have to go out and get it. You have to take a risk or you will definitely take regret instead. This is only the very beginning but my risk is paying off tenfold. I feel so much better about my work. I actually go into every session and shift with a smile. I am happy to be doing the work, helping people and being of service to people in need.
My regrets? I have one. My only regret was the wait. Why did I wait so long? It wasn’t that I was a lazy person, I simply hadn’t internalized the possibilities that were there. People always told me “Stop being so hard on yourself.” I have always been my own worst critic and I had to stop that sh*t! That was like poison! You have to trust and believe in yourself. You have to believe in your goals. You have to go for yours!
What was the biggest risk you’ve ever taken? Are you planning on stepping out on faith? When? How? Why?
Drop your stories below. I wanna hear!