I was sitting in my dentist’s office getting my blood pressure taken and the assistant said it was 153 over 95.  What!?  I am not known to have high blood pressure so this was a shock.  But was it? I had just spent almost four months in a toxic and stressful new job that I knew was doing really destructive things to my body, mind and relationships.  So why was I surprised when my dentist, for over 30 years, said he has never seen me like this and I need to quit my job – like immediately. 

That was the moment that I realized reinvention can be a necessity when your life depends on it.  I also begin to realize that my entire life was doing what I was “supposed” to do and not what I was “meant” to do.

So, how do you get the courage to follow a different path without breaking the bank and losing everything you had gained? I have gathered up five helpful steps that can give you, not only the courage to leave your toxic job, but some concrete actions to make sure you are heading in the best direction.

Devise an exit plan to execute as quickly as possible 

Before you can do the unthinkable, quitting a job when you don’t have a job, you need to review your finances or consult with your financial advisor.  Have you been putting money away in savings, have some 401K money you can tap into without penalties, or have retirement money that is OK to withdraw from without losing a financially secure future?  Is there some stock that you can sell now and use to live off of for a period of time?  Can you downsize and live with a friend or relative without damaging the relationship? Are you in a supportive relationship where your partner can take care of your basic living expenses?

Take time to review your financial situation and consult with your advisor so you can devise a plan, including the amount of time you can allow yourself to make this change.

Take a month to reflect, relax and recover

When your life had been full of stress and all relationships, both family and friends, had been so negatively affected, you have to take time to just sit on the couch and vegetate for some time.  Many people think you need to jump and react quickly to find your next career but this much needed “rest” time is essential to refuel and reflect on your life.  Start journaling and write about what you have done or enjoy doing that could possibly translate to a new business or new job.  Really look at what interests you have and how your inherent personality could fit into another way to make money.  Think about what you loved to do or dreamed of doing as a child or teenager because that can be an indicator of what you were meant to do. 

Take this time to delve into your inner voice to figure out what the universe truly meant for you to do in life.

Seek help from trusted colleagues, friends, or a coach 

No one can take this step without help and don’t think that you can. Everyone, when taking this step in their life, needs the support of friends that have no ulterior motive.  Most of us don’t feel we have any talent or skill outside our professional comfort zone. But, you do! Everything you have done, every accomplishment you have experienced, and every job you have had, brings knowledge and wisdom that can translate to another career.  And, even though you may not see these positive traits or skills, your friends and trusted colleagues, can probably identify them immediately and may have even wished they had that inherent skill as their own.  Take the selfish act of asking them about your skills and what they see are your strengths and don’t be against hearing what your weaknesses are.

The more support that you get in this step, the better your chances of finding your true calling.

Write down a list of what you enjoyed in your current job and what you hated

Take an inventory of what you actually liked about your current career/job and what made you super stressed.  It is always good to figure out if it was the boss or the company culture that caused your stress or truly the missing value of what the job brought to you and your life.  Was there anything you could bring to another career that you would like to continue doing? For example, can you take on a customer support role or project management role instead of sales to lower your stress level as you figure out a totally new direction in life?

Taking this step allows you to figure out if a short term solution is finding the same job at a different company or a slightly different role in the same industry.

Review four basic elements to figure out what you really want to do

Everyone has four basic human elements that you need to reflect on to figure out what you were meant to do. They are your interests, skills, values, and personality.  Take each element and write down what you have either, discovered about yourself thru this time of reflection, or know to be true. Once you have figured out these elements you can get an idea or some sense of direction in where you want to go.  And it is at this point when you start the job of finding a new job.

This is the moment where finding a job or starting a new business is now your sole purpose in life.  While this is the most difficult part of the process, and needs complete faith in yourself and the universe’s plan for you, it is also where you get out of the comfort zone “box” and have the most growth. Embrace this part of the journey, do daily affirmations in the present tense that state your objectives, and research your ideas so you can understand the possibilities of success. Use the power of attraction to state what you want and what you intend to get and you will be surprised at how positive thoughts turn to opportunities that you could never imagine happening. 

Just having the courage to take the step in the first place means you are moving along a different trajectory, one that is meant for you, and only you, and one where you will be more successful than you could ever imagine.