Today I woke up at 6 am. Like every other Monday, I hurried out of the house by 6:30 am to begin my two-hour journey from Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania, to New York. I grabbed a large cup of coffee and jumped on the NJ Transit. As the caffeine washed away the remnants of morning sleepiness, my heart raced with anticipation. This Monday was unlike any other Monday. Today was the day I’ve been thinking about for three years – the day I quit my office job to pursue my entrepreneurial dreams.
For two years, I hurried to build a solid foundation for my startup while maintaining a full-time position as an operations analyst at a hedge fund. I carefully crafted a respectable exit strategy and even found a pleasant part-time job at a local winery to ease the financial burden of leaving. However, the thought of walking into my boss’s office today and filing my resignation turned me inside out.
Most entrepreneurs succeed, and despite our irresistible desire to take action on our own, the idea of quitting smoking goes against our single-minded heart. Not to mention the “little” issues that pop up in our heads, like paying bills, getting health insurance, and financing a business. We’ve spent months dismissing negative, often behind-the-scenes comments from friends and family who think our entrepreneurial dreams are stupid. We are confident, creative and ready to take life by storm. And yet I was there with sweaty palms and a pounding heart.
It was 3 p.m. when I sat in my cubicle, gathering my courage to take the plunge. For four years, I worked hard for this company to be recognized as a valuable asset. Despite the long hours of monotonous work, I was richly rewarded. Now, at 25, I was going to get away from it all to start over. It was easy to come up with excuses to delay the task at hand. I kept my eyes on the computer monitor so as not to look at my colleagues with guilt. After countless hours of working side by side, I considered them close friends, and the thought that I had deceived them made me uncomfortable.
4pm; time was running out and I was glued to my chair. It was then that I clearly pictured myself returning home on a Monday night, disappointed and ashamed that I had allowed fear to keep me from pursuing my dream for one more day. This image took my trembling legs straight to my boss’s office, where I firmly announced that I was leaving the company.
Once I got past the barrier of telling my boss and colleagues, I felt rejuvenated and ready to move forward with my big plans. However, despite being happy and relieved, I couldn’t help but feel a little embarrassed for allowing myself to be so distracted. Guessing was not in my personality as a confident and fearless entrepreneur. But today I realized that this is normal. It’s okay to be afraid; you can even temporarily lose focus. The difference is that we, as young entrepreneurs, don’t let that stop us. We get up, dream in our arms, go to the office and leave.