Jumping in with Both Feet
Jumping in with Both Feet
In July of 2016, I tried to quit my job. Writing that sounds so dumb. Most people just quit and move on, but not me. I’ve been dragging my feet for the last three years.
Let me backup. I first started this job in the summer of 2012. I had worked in the biotech industry for almost 6 years and knew that if I wanted to advance in my career, I wasn’t going to be able to at my current job. I also didn’t respect my boss, I thought he was lazy, so it made the decision to move on that much easier. I was semi-recruited for a start-up company that was currently building a laboratory and I would be the first employee to work in the US. The corporate and sales teams were based in Toronto. The timing was perfect and I was really excited about the opportunity.
The first year was hard and messy but also exciting and empowering, like most new adventures. For the majority of the next 4 years, I continued to feel valued, respected and challenged which is the recipe for contentment for me. Then one day I woke up and realized I had everything I thought I had wanted but none of it was making me happy (professionally speaking, not personally). It wasn’t that I was depressed, it was that I was bored and wanted more. I talked to my husband about it a lot and I’m so grateful with how supportive and patient he was with me despite my certainty that he thought I was having a nervous breakdown. I started to look for new jobs in the same industry. I thought I needed a change and a new challenge. I was somewhat correct in this line of thinking, but what I hadn’t realized yet was that I needed a complete change. I’m not sure if it was intentional or unintentional but I wasn’t yet aware that I wanted to leave the industry that I had spent the last 10-15 years pursuing.
I half-heartedly applied for jobs and got several interviews and one very solid offer. I decided to accept it. Looking back, I totally ignored my intuition because I remember having a gut feeling that this wasn’t actually what I wanted. But I told myself that it was an amazing opportunity. It was a new, challenging role, the pay and benefits were insanely good, and I loved all of the people I interviewed with that I would be working closely with. I called my boss to give him the news that I was moving on and he begged me to stay, drove through the night to be able to talk face-to-face the next morning and offered me a raise that was more than my annual salary at my first real job out of college. I spent the next week negotiating with both companies and it was one of the most stressful weeks of my life. I don’t remember feeling grateful or flattered, just anxious that I was going to make the wrong decision.
I ended up staying and the raise only made me happier for about a month. I began an active campaign to get my husband to go on his own in landscaping. He had worked for the same company for the last 13 years and I believed if he was going to continue to work that many hours every day, he might as well work for himself. He was less convinced than I was, but I believed in him and I’m really stubborn. Once I finally shut up and let him come to terms on his own, we started Red Cedar Landscapes in March of 2017. It was exciting and fun and terrifying and it fed my soul for awhile, but I’m mostly a behind the scenes owner that doesn’t need to invest as much energy into the business as my husband. Even though we are 50/50 owners, it has always felt more like his company and I didn’t want my ego to overshadow any of his joy and success. So again I actively started looking for something else.
This time around I had been practicing yoga a lot, which makes life a lot more clear. I know that normally when fear shows up, I make excuses and/or lie to myself about why I can’t have what I actually want. It’s a coping mechanism and a safe place to live but also not how I want to live my life. Yoga makes me see through my own bullshit quicker. I enrolled in yoga teacher training and about a month after I was certified as a RYT 200 hour yoga teacher, I started Wandering Roots in April 2018. What a clueless mess I was in the beginning (and maybe even still.)
Thank God for Elise of Mod Bettie Portraits. I remember her building my website and giving me all sorts of valuable advice and me thinking I’m not really clear on what I actually want to do or how I want to do it. I also remember thinking the website was going to be the hardest part and once it was launched just sitting there wondering now what, will people actually see this and if so, what will they do.
I FINALLY quit a month ago, today is my last day in that chapter of my life. I feel free and more alive. If I’m being honest, I’m still terrified but I am equal parts excited. I also don’t have many regrets for dragging my feet for so long. It did afford me the luxury to take bigger financial risks and to grow more quickly as a result of it. But I do regret not believing in myself more. The last year and a half I’ve been so incredibly frustrated that I could only have one foot in in my business. I kept telling myself I could actually push it further and faster if I was able to leave my job and have both feet in on my real passion. Instead of dwelling on that mistake, I’m going to hold onto this life lesson and try to be more effective and confident in future endeavors.
Being a clueless mess is probably still an accurate description of me today too, but I’m a little more confident and a lot more driven. I have a better understanding that I can’t do everything and I will always learn new things, but I wanted a challenge and I got what I asked for.
I’m excited to see what the future holds for me and this little company of mine!
My name is Anna VanAgtmael, and I am a certified yoga instructor with a passion for yoga, travel, and connecting with others.
I believe in trying everything once. My values lie in collecting memories over things. Though we desire adventure and authentic experiences, naturally our fear holds us back.
My ambition is to inspire and encourage you to unmask your fears and jump into the unknown.
Anna VanAgtmael | Yoga Enthusiast | Travel Designer