Embracing It All: Sabbatical at Month Two

Embracing It All:  Sabbatical at Month Two

When is the last time you didn’t feel broken and defeated at 7 PM? Two months ago, my answer would have been NEVER. However, my sabbatical has brought me this peace. My kids’ Taekwondo class has become one of my usual writing spots. This feeling of calm is well worth the price of not being able to replace a broken $400 Apple Watch.

It feels like just yesterday that I resigned from my job with no job on the horizon? Now, it’s month two of my sabbatical. This is the point where I promised my husband that I would figure out how to make some money or return to an unfulfilling job.

I’m incredibly grateful that I’ve been able to make some money freelance writing. It’s far less than what I used to make, but I feel more whole. I’ve also had the opportunity to attend enough industry events (GHC19, Pure Accelerate, and VMworld) to satisfy any conference FOMO. I’ll wrap up October at HPE Storage TFDx event, and then onto NetApp INSIGHT.

Identity Shifts

So, what else is changing? My identity. Mark Manson describes “identity is an emotional construct” in “Everything is F*cked: A Book About Hope” This idea that we create stories and emotions around who we believe that we are. Having worked pretty much non-stop since high school, my job has always been part of the narrative of who I am. I am Becky, who works in IT, and who earns a six-figure salary.

Except I’m not this person anymore. This was never who I was, but the story that I told myself. It was an idea that kept me trapped in the belief that I needed to earn a six-figure salary. Leaving this behind has been identity-shattering.

I’ve needed to confront the insecurity that swirls around what I think about what others think about me and what I do. Repeatedly. First, when I put in my notice with no job on the horizon, Then, when I’ve introduced myself as between jobs at conferences. And this week, when I reached out to former coworkers to ask if they could be a reference for my substitute teacher application.

Getting Help

Chances are if someone leaves a job without a new job on the horizon, maybe they needed help. I did. So, I found it in the form of a Life Coach who offers accountability, support, and guidance. Thank you for the recommendation, Mel Zura!!!

I’m grateful to feel okay with being vulnerable and not get caught up in what she thinks. Also, sometimes, you need to be reminded that everyone feels lost and struggles at times. Knowing that someone will ask me about what I accomplished towards my goals weekly keeps me moving.

When I felt ready to abandon freelance writing to search for a soul-crushing job that paid well, my coach challenged me to take steps to find more paid work. After that session, I thought a lot about how I’ve bought shit that I didn’t need to fill a void left by meaningless work. I have some weird beliefs around money and worthiness that I need to address. The Soul of Money (recommended) is next on my reading list.

Explored Ideas

  • “Non-attachment to results” is a powerful idea. I discovered it in Dan Harris’ “10% Happier.”

    How much of what you do is with expectations of a specific result? I want to write and find ways to make the world a better place. I’m going to keep writing and searching out altruistic things because I want to. These activities are an end, not a means to an end.

  • Guilt and Shame are shitty motivators. Loving yourself and acknowledging feelings without creating the negative narratives in which guilt and shame live is a way better way to create change. If your kids need encouragement and support, you would praise them and send positive energy their way. Treat yourself this way.  My life coach says that shame is never good. You can recognize it in the form of “you are unworthy” narratives. I have a lot of those statements that I’m working through.

  • Feck Perfuction. Seriously. Publishing within two hours taught me that I’ve been making writing far more painful then it needs to be. Also, I had an inspiration convo with Luigi Danakos, where he talked about how he had all of these unfinished blog posts that he held back because he didn’t think they were good enough. Now, he treats blogging and podcasting as acts of love in which done is better than perfect.

What’s Next?!

Who knows?  I’ve stood up BeckyElliottWrites.com in support of my solopreneur aspirations.  As I embrace a life with more joy, it includes more writing. Hopefully, some of this writing will be the paid kind that allows me to continue on this path.  A path where every day doesn’t feel the same; where I’m free to create my own adventures; and where I show my kids how to LIVE this one life.  What’s your path?

Becky Elliott

After dropping out of a liberal arts college that focused on reading and discussing the “Great Books”, Becky Elliott found her way to a career in IT. For 20+ years, she has held a number of roles in Dev and Ops, and the area in between the two. In working for organizations in which poor security practices can cost lives, she’s an ardent believer in integrating security through the entire design process. Becky holds a number of industry certifications including the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).
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