Feeling stuck and unmotivated is not a way of life and figuring out the cause for these emotions was the first step in my personal journey. Examining these emotions and understanding 4 signs that I needed a career change launched me on the greatest journey of my life!

Graduate college, receive my Masters Degree, intern, get a job, get married…these are all things in my life that I have done and have loved. But they’re also steps that are expected on the journey of life. They’re typical stepping stones of being successful and I was stuck in the traditional life path.

But somewhere along the path, I was starting to veer off course and I was becoming happier and healthier. I started to ask myself who I was and what I wanted to be and realized that I needed to jump off the course and start a whole new one. I was defining success by standards set for me by other people and I was going through the expected motions of living. But it’s not living if it’s not a life filled with joy and happiness. So I needed to step back and re-examine what I needed in every aspect of my life in order to be happy, healthy and successful, as I defined it in my own terms.

I graduated Clark University with a BA and MSPC and began working in film & television production. I worked on TV shows such as Cash Cab, History Detectives, America Revealed and Totally Clueless, as well as the Academy Award nominated film, Precious. The freelance life meant jumping around from show to show, never sure of my next job or paycheck. However, I was feeling pressure from friends and family to get a “real” job where I had set hours, a salary, vacation time, sick days, and a desk. So after some time I began working at a corporate job. I was working at my own desk in an office space and I was receiving bi-weekly paychecks and paid time off. I was on the life track expected of me.

In this time I got engaged, moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn and back to Manhattan, got married, adopted Sadie, took vacation time with my husband, and did everything I thought I was supposed to do in order to live a happy life.

Soon, I started to panic. I was seeing my life and realizing that I was still so young and I wasn’t happy. I realized that the path I was on was not sustainable for me because it wasn’t bringing me joy. And we all know, if it doesn’t bring you joy, let it go. So at the beginning of 2016, I decided to make a change. I enrolled at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and began my journey to become an Integrative Holistic Health Coach. Since taking that leap, I have made so many other leaps, jumping off the path, creating my own course, creating my own happiness, and building a life that I am proud of. I stepped outside of the boundaries created for me by society.

After enrolling at IIN, I met my business partner, Kayla, and a few months later we started a business together. Holistic Happening became the business that I always wanted — events within the wellness community bringing together people who love to be well, happy and healthy. My personal wellness journey had brought me here and now it was time for me to give back to the community that helped me find my way. Since our first Holistic Happening Downward Dog & Dine event in July, we have hosted 8 other events including our most recent one at Thrive Global — Arianna Huffington’s Pop-Up Shop in NYC focused on the benefits of sleep and self-care to be the best version of ourselves.

I have become Reiki One certified, found a love for the power of crystals and chakra healing, met amazing people within the wellness industry, cried when it got hard, laughed when it was fun, and overall felt happier.

The next leap came when I quit my corporate job to pursue a career in the wellness industry full-time. This leap did not come easy, but I knew it was the right decision for me. I felt that I was being held back by a 9a-5p job that did not align with my new beliefs. The desk job, set hours, vacation time and bi-weekly paycheck that I thought would bring structure to me life, was making me fall apart. I was trying to break free from the mold and start something new, and I was being bound by the restraints that not so long ago I felt that I needed to bring control to my life.

Everything I have learned in the 5 years at my job I am grateful for and they are skills that I am bringing with me to build my own business. But they no longer serve me in this period of my life. I needed to find myself and become my own person and find what truly makes me happy in life.

I know it sounds cliche, but life is too short to be doing something that does not bring you joy. So I let go.

I have been told that taking that leap makes me brave. It was easy to leave my corporate job; what is hard is hustling to make everything work now that I don’t have the security and stability of that job. I am working harder than I ever have before to build a business, make a name for myself, make money and balance work and life now that I work for myself. I am building my network, extending my community and living a life that I have created for myself. And honestly, that is all I could ever want in life. I left my corporate job to make myself happy, not anyone else. I finally did something for me, something that would bring joy to my life, and now that I have it, I am not letting go.

So how did I know that it was time to take that leap? Below are the 4 signs that I needed a career change!

Lack of Excitement

I felt frustrated and lost by my current career and life path. There was a lack of growth within my current position and being in my 20’s, I was fearful of being stuck. I began to examine what made me happy in life and where that happiness was coming from. Most of the items on my list came from the people I was meeting at wellness events, working out, cooking, eating, my schoolwork and the friends I was making in my new community. It was then that I realized I was not excited about the life I was living for the majority of the day and I needed a change!

Living For The Weekends

I was working 40 hours a week and counting down the minutes to 5pm everyday, especially on Fridays. It was at this time that I was able to do things that really excited me such as working out, networking, cooking, spending time with Ryan and Sadie, building Holistic Happening, shopping for crystals, and meditating. I was living for a few hours every night during the week and only 2 days during the week when I could be the real me. I had to evaluate why I was only happy 48 hours a week and working 40 hours a week doing something that did not bring me joy. That was when I realized I needed a change.

I Felt Safe

I had a desk, a paycheck, paid vacation time, paid sick days, and structure to my day. Every 2 weeks I would be paid for my time that I worked and I could take time off and still be paid for it and it made me feel safe. But being safe was not making me happy. I was going through the motions of the job mentally and physically because I wasn’t feeling challenged or excited. I was living for the moments when I would step out of my comfort zone and go to events to meet new people, or host Holistic Happening events — I was doing things for the first time all over again and I was taking risks.

Slowly, I was pulling back that safety net because I was no longer feeling successful where I was. I was working harder on my own business and wanted to see it grow. Even though those guarantees of an office job are gone and I work non-traditional hours and don’t have an office, or co-workers, I am creating my own life. I am choosing to look at the positives such as being able to work anywhere, waking up and not feeling pressure of the 9a-5p work day structure so I can workout, meditate, eat breakfast with Ryan every morning and start and end my day when I am ready. I feel safe in my new adventure because I am trusting myself to make it work!

Trust Your Gut

You know when you need to make a change and you have to trust your gut. Every Sunday night I would get depressed about starting a new work week, or I would wake up every morning already counting down the hours until 5pm and the days until the weekend. This is not living. I started to listen to the voices in my head telling me to jump and I just had to trust that everything I was doing to grow Holistic Happening, every person I was meeting, every blog post I was publishing and every connection I was making was for a reason and that was to make me happy.

I am learning to trust those butterflies in my chest when I try something new rather than push them aside and tell myself it’s not worth it because I have a job that I am good at and safe at. Those voices and feelings could no longer be ignored, and I trusted my gut when I made the decision to make a change!

Live Your Happiest Life

All of my feelings and emotions were supported by friends and family. I am so lucky to have supportive parents, a loving husband and friends I can count on when I need them the most! I have met some incredible people this past year, I have worked harder than I ever have before and I am feeling more confident in my life and the trajectory of my life path. Every day is the unknown and it excites me. There is no longer a set routine and even though that leaves me feeling vulnerable, it is thrilling. I am learning to trust myself and others and live a life for me and not because someone else wants me to. Finally, I am doing work that excites me and pushes me forward and I am defining success by my own rules.

I’m still working on building Holistic Happening and growing my community. I am also finding stability in my new life, my new venture and still being a responsible human being. Nothing ever comes easy, but the first step is being happy with what you do for a living so you can just live!

I hope that you are all living the best version of your life. I invite you to take some time to write what about your life excites you and to see if that aligns with everything you are doing to build your future. It is never too late to make a change, so trust your instincts, seek support, and live your happiest and healthiest life!

Originally published at www.balancedlife-leslie.com on January 8, 2017.

Originally published at medium.com