The 31st May is a date that practically every teacher has burned into their psyche. It’s the ‘last chance saloon, after which, if a teacher doesn’t hand in their notice, they are essentially deciding to stay in their role for at least another 6 months.
Decide to stay, or decide to go? The latter without a plan is too risky, surely?
The truth is, everyone has the ability to quit a job or career that is making them miserable, even if they think they don’t.
I quit my teaching career 10 years ago this month, and started a business with no help, no money, a baby in tow and no promise of a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Many people told me I was taking a big risk.
The truth is – I’m in my best place ever financially. More importantly, I’m happier and healthier than I ever was as a school teacher. I feel better today at 42 than I did at 32, or even 22.
What’s my secret?
I just decided to quit.
No biggie. I didn’t wait around for the right time, to have had another baby, or whatever other crap excuse I could come up with.
Was it complicated?
Was it a hard decision?
Yes – of course.
It was a bloody hard decision to go against the grain and quit, in a world where peer pressure & systemic conditioning promoted a self-sacrificial pathway, mindlessly progressing through TLRs as though it was the holy fricking grail.
It would have been the obvious choice to follow this trajectory, taking all the actual thinking out of it and letting the decision be made for me.
It would have been easier to have avoided making any decision at all – just stay in my job, and complain for the rest of my working life about it.
Easier in the short term, but soul-crushing in the longer term.
Life is full of hard decisions.
Like the hard decision to leave my family, mates and boyfriend in the UK for my year abroad, with no friends and no money so I could become fluent in French & Spanish. Having to learn to function and navigate stuff like opening a bank account, working in a job, renting a flat in another culture and in a language I’d only started learning 2 years beforehand.
The easy route would have been to stay in my comfort zone and duck out of that one altogether.
But the easy path would have eroded my happiness, motivation, and lust for life in the longer term.
Like the hard decision to change my diet. After watching so many friends and family members suffer chronic health issues in their 30s and early 40s, I made the hard decision to change what food and drink I put into my body, which requires daily discipline (something which does not come naturally to me)!.
The easy path would be to succumb to my moods, stressors, bad days and so on – and let them dictate what I put in my mouth, sabotaging my health in the longer term.
Like the hard decision to make exercise a priority – and not making the easy decision to skip the gym if I don’t feel like going (which I feel most days)!
Every day, we have to make gazillions of micro-decisions, and sometimes a few major ones that take more courage and commitment.
Ultimately, what I’ve learnt in my 10 years as a business owner is that the hardest decisions are the ones we still haven’t made.
The ones that we have been ‘thinking about’ for months or even years, but have avoided because they are ‘too risky,’ ‘too ‘big.’
The ones that feel like a massive weight on our shoulders, or a nagging feeling that we know we need to act upon. But it just feels TOO HARD.
Like leaving a job or career, or like switching away from 1:1 tuition to go all on on a group programme.
Ultimately these decisions are the ones that pave the way for a more prosperous and abundant life, with greater chances of long term health, wealth and freedom.
This may seem ‘hard’ in the moment, but by embracing the tough choices we choose personal growth over stagnation as we are forced to confront our fears, take responsibility for our future and actually decide what we truly want to do with this short and precious life we have been gifted.
Choosing to end a toxic relationship with our job (or a partner), taking the leap to start a new business, pivot away from 1:1-heavy tuition biz towards a group one, or moving countries for a better climate are all examples of hard decisions that will feel uncomfortable in the short term, but pay off in the long term.
Hard decisions require courage, but making them is transformational; which breeds more courage, and the upwards cycle continues.
This doesn’t mean the path after the hard decision will be easy, but it ensures that you move forward instead of staying stuck in a rut.
Risk is necessary if we are to learn, grow and make the most of our life.
Don’t let the easy decisions dictate your path.
Living in limbo-land is the antithesis of a happy & free life. Your ability to make the tough call, to choose for yourself what risks are worth taking, is where the gold is.
If you can teach, you have a superpower that should not be underestimated. Whether others believe in you or not, I certainly do.
What tough decision are you going to finally make after reading this?
I’d love to know!
- Have already quit / decided to quit teaching
- Are serious about creating a tuition biz that replaces or exceeds your teaching income
- Are already running a 1:1 tuition biz but would like to pivot towards a 2 hour-a-week group programme