About a year ago, I going through a particularly challenging time, working unhappily as a planner at an advertising agency that was having challenges (to say the least) of its own. Pretty much every day felt like it could be my last day there, and to be honest I just gave in to the hamster wheel of day-to-day, as most of us there did. It made for a pretty unhealthy environment to say the least. We all pretended not to be looking for new jobs, and we all took long lunches. The problem for me…I had no desire to go to another agency. I was done. I had a journal entry, titled Operation Exit Advertising, where I had a detailed list of all the reasons why I needed a change. Why a breakup with the industry was necessary. Anyone who knew me, knew this was my plan. But I had no idea what to do once I made the break. Who was I beyond an Account Planner? Sadly, I had no idea. I was a strategist and I needed a strategy.
Around that time, I read a blog post of a woman who I met on a plane once (another story, another post), who I had since been following and admiring from afar. Titled Uncertainty, it was everything I needed to hear to remind myself that uncertainty is actually something I needed to lean into at this point in my life. The anxiety I was feeling about the potential anxiety of not having a specific plan was worse than the reality of facing the unknown of what is or could be next.
The unknown is necessary for real change. It is what shifts us into new versions of ourselves, better (hopefully) versions. As Amy so eloquently put it, “maybe the real measure of our success is our ability to expand our capacity for uncertainty, and through that exercise, be more comfortable in the unknowable.”
This became, and still is my guiding mantra. I left that job. I have joined a team of amazing individuals at OOTify, working together to make real change in the mental health space, and while I still dabble in the advertising industry as a freelancer, I have regained the joy and fulfillment of doing something I actually do love. I’m still very unsure of what’s next but I can say that I am very comfortable in that uncertainty. On most days.