This Friday (July 1st, 2011) is National Motivation Day, and I decided that I wanted to share a story with you guys about my own motivation, and lack of it. It's a story that a lot of people don't know, because it represents a very dark time in my life, and I tried to hide it from people for a very long time. But, it's so long ago now, that I no longer feel ashamed to share it. And I think that it's an important thing that needs to be told, to help anyone else who might be facing a similar thing.
It was April 2008, and I was really happy. I had an okay-ish job that was paying off my debts, I was about to head off to Canada (my first time on a plane eeee!), I had a great boyfriend and I'd just been told by my Employer that they intended to make my role permanent (I was actually only there as an Agency Worker, hadn't been expecting to last longer than a month, and I'd been there for about eight months at this point).
Move forward to the middle of May, and things were a completely different story. I'd just got back from Canada, when I had my "interview" to apply for my own job. I think I kinda went in there with a bit of "as if I'm not going to get this" kind of attitude because I knew that I could do the job, c'mon I'd been doing it for eight months, of course I could. But, two days later, I was told that I hadn't got it. Gossip around the Department put it down to "office politics" because it had gone to a girl from the factory floor, who "applied for everything going" whilst to hire me, they would have had to pay the Agency an "Introduction Fee". It was really nice that the guys who I worked with thought that it was wrong that I didn't get it, and were really supportive throughout, but that solidarity hadn't gotten me the job.
So, I worked two weeks notice, and inevitably, I left.
A Rapid Decline
Initially, I decided to quite happily take a break. I went to stay with my brothers for a week, and I spent a lot of time with my boyfriend. He was just finishing his first year as a mature student, studying for a Degree so for a while, I enjoyed the break, I eventually signed on (I say eventually, because I actually received a very large Tax Rebate after I left work, and I lived off that for quite some time!) and quite quickly fell into a decline.
Over that summer, the boyfriend found Factory Work in order to survive over the summer months until his next Student Loan Payment, and he worked a lot of night shifts. So, he was working at night and sleeping through the day, and I found myself sinking into what I can only describe as a depression. At one point, over that summer, I don't think I'd left his flat for over two weeks (this was before I started claiming Jobseekers Allowance).
I knew that something had happened inside me when we were getting ready to go out one day, and we were just about to leave, and I couldn't do it. The fear washed over me, and I just could not walk out of that door.
I've always been a mild agoraphobic. I'm fine going out when I'm with someone, but on my own, I have to really wrestle with myself to do it. But, this time, it was different. I was with the boyfriend, I wasn't going alone, and yet, I could not even force myself to.
I've always been interested in taking up Tai Chi, and over that summer I'd bought a book on getting started, to try and keep active, but learning from a book is never that easy. So, when I spotted an advert, in the local paper, for a Tai Chi class being held at my old College, we jumped at the chance. It was once a week, at night so it wouldn't be too bad.
Initially, it was hard getting myself to go, and even though my anxiety never went away, I forced myself to go, and I really got into Tai Chi and that kind of meditative state that you need to be in to appreciate it. The course ended in the November, but it was enough to give me a bit of confidence back.
In the May/June of 2009, the boyfriend and I decided to get the internet and having daily access allowed me to explore the world of online writing. It was kind of interesting to read about the opportunities, because even though my Nana had once declared to her friends that I was going to be a writer when I grew up, and that I'd studied Creative Writing for my Degree, writing was always something that I'd tried to keep in the shadows, not because I was embarrassed about it, but because I'd always worried that if I wrote for a living, I'd slowly grow to hate it.
For a few months, I took on a few small jobs, for very tiny money, but I felt that I needed the experience, and I started going to a local company who specialises in helping people to start their own business. To be frank, the girl was more intrigued by the fact I was the only writer she'd ever had to deal with, because ultimately she had very little advice for me. She did, however, put me in touch with the Prince's Trust, who put me on a week long course regarding starting a business.
All Change Here Please
It sounds corny, but that one week course, effectively, changed my life. I left on the Friday, and spent the weekend with some old friends, celebrating my birthday. The Sunday night, however, I was anxious about the fact that I was due to start "New Deal" because I'd been unemployed for 12 months (well, in the sense of that's how long I'd been claiming JSA!). I was in fact due to start the very next day.
But, having just finished a course relating to my business, I was on a high from that, and I knew that I really did not want to spend the next goodness knows how long being spoken down to by an individual aiming to get me a job, but would never really listen to what I want out of life.
So, I sat down and talked to the boyfriend about our options. We discussed finances obviously, and what we could afford, noting that by this point, the boyfriend had finished his Degree and was job hunting himself. We went through everything, and I decided that I was not going to go New Deal, I was going to hand my JSA book in.....
November 8th 2009. The day my life really did change, because that was the day I filled in the Self-Employment form for HMRC.
So, after a year and a half of unemployment, depression and agoraphobia, what was it that finally gave me that motivational boost that pushed me into the best decision that I have ever made?
- Fear. Anyone who has ever seen the third season of Friends, will remember Chandler telling Rachel that quitting her job is a good idea, because it will give her the "fear" needed to find something that she actually wants to be doing with her life, rather than waitressing. For me, the fear was that my only line of money was about to disappear, so making money out of my writing would be my only option, otherwise I wouldn't be able to survive.
- Determination. I guess the real determination was that I did not want to be told what to do by some woman, who couldn't even get dates right (seriously, I'd missed a meeting with her, because she'd got the dates wrong, and apparently this was my fault!)
- Passion. In this case, it was my passion for writing, and also a passion to do what I enjoy in life, even if money becomes tight, that really motivated me.
- I wouldn't be self-employed, doing the one job that truly makes me happy
- I don't think that I would have moved out of my home town. Don't get me wrong, I love my home town, but sometimes, you just need to escape and move on
- I definitely wouldn't be writing this blog, and that is most definitely the number one positive thing that has come out of that period. I love writing this blog more than anyone could ever know, and the fact that as of writing this, I have just gained my 91st follower, is just incredible. I'm sure most other bloggers will agree, but when I started writing this blog, I honestly thought that I would always be the only person that ever read it, but I'm so glad that I didn't give up.