Quitting Without a Plan

This week I’m sharing my personal story about how I quit my job without another job lined up. Even though it was scary to not know what was next, it was by design. I wanted to free up mental space and energy to explore what I wanted to do with my life without immediately jumping into the next thing. I ultimately started my own coaching practice, but I wasn’t sure that’s where I was headed at the time. 

In this episode, I’m also sharing some audio journals from the week before I quit, so you can hear what was actually going through my mind as I made my final decisions.

If you’ve ever considered quitting your job without another job lined up, this podcast is for you!

You’ll also hear me talk about…

  • Keeping the big picture in mind, especially when you’re distracted by the day-to-day drama
  • How there’s no “right” or “wrong” decision. Just the decision you make, and what you make of it
  • How to stay open to your hopes and dreams instead of shutting them down
  • Why we as humans fear making changes without a solid plan for what’s next
  • Overcoming fear and second guessing yourself (Hint: you’ll likely be relying on courage, NOT confidence to move forward)
  • How going toward what you want is a part of living a regret-free life

Listen to the Full Episode:

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Full Episode Transcript


Lynn Grogan [00:00:02]:

Alright. Welcome back to the Courageously Unconventional podcast. I’m your host, Lynn Grogan, and this show is all about having the courage to live a life true to yourself and not the life others expect of you. So a few weeks ago, I published a podcast episode called how to stop killing your dreams, and today I wanna share one of my own stories about not killing my dreams. So there are a lot of stories I could tell, but the one I’m gonna be talking about is from 2022 when I took a leap of faith and quit my job in a leadership role at a coaching organization without another job lined up. So, like, even though that was scary to not know what was next, it was actually also by design. I wanted to free up some mental space and energy to explore what I wanted to do next with my life. So I ultimately started my own coaching practice, but I wasn’t sure that’s where I was headed at the time.

Lynn Grogan [00:00:51]:

So one of the reasons that I wanted to quit my job was that I was starting to feel the itch to do something else with my career. When I first started with the company, my job included a lot of coaching, which was exactly what I needed at the time to hone my expertise as a coach. I love the clientele, and I felt like my work was impactful. So I was coaching physicians and helping them learn to manage their mind, which was definitely interesting during the pandemic. But, you know, as time went on, the needs of the company changed, and I was asked to move into a role where I was hiring and managing other coaches, plus writing a lot of content. So essentially, what that ended up being is I was surrounded by the thing I loved, coaching, but I really wasn’t doing that much of it. Another reason I wanted to quit quit was the company was making major changes that I wasn’t really on board with and didn’t align with my values. So for a few months, it felt like there was just lots of drama about what was happening, and I felt really stressed, I was losing sleep, and I was regularly distracted outside of work.

Lynn Grogan [00:01:48]:

Okay. So I know it’s normal for companies to go through growing pains, but I had to get honest with myself about whether or not I wanted to go through those growing pains, and it turns out that I didn’t. So with those two reasons combined, feeling an itch to do something else and major daily drama, I felt motivated to make some changes with my life, but it wasn’t, like, an easy decision for me. I had a lot of people counting on me, and there were still a lot of aspects I loved, like working with my colleagues and with the clientele. So if you’re in the same boat as I was, like if you’re making a major life decision or maybe somebody else in your life is, this podcast is for you. I also thought it would be interesting to take you into my brain in the week before I quit. So I actually have some audio journals I’ll be sharing from the week before I put in my resignation, and it was kind of surprising to revisit those and hear what I was grappling with behind the scenes. Like, a year and a half later, it’s easy to forget what the experience is like, and maybe you’ve experienced that too, where you’re like, oh, man.

Lynn Grogan [00:02:47]:

I should have made that decision years ago.

Lynn Grogan [00:02:47]:

But, you know,

Lynn Grogan [00:02:48]:

in the time, it feels just, like it’s so hard to do it, and, these clips were a very good reminder. So before we jump in, I wanna apologize for some of the audio quality on these clips and my hairy morning voice. Alright. Here we go. So for this first clip, I wanna give a little bit of context. I have just arrived in Houston, Texas, where my company was hosting an event for the employees and for the clients. So this is the first time I’m meeting with most of my colleagues in person since the company is virtual, and everyone actually lives, like, all over the world, which is a very different experience if you’ve never had that before of mostly seeing people on Zoom and then seeing them and having the energy of being in person. I had decided before going to this event that I would be quitting, but I haven’t put in my notice yet.

Lynn Grogan [00:03:38]:

So that’s weighing in my mind for sure as I participate in the event. So here we go.

Lynn Grogan [00:03:43]:

It is October no. November November 3, 2022. I am in a hotel room in Houston, Texas, the C Baldwin Hotel on a work trip. And just before I came here, I decided that after this trip, I would be putting in my resignation, at the company. I’ve been here since 2018. Yesterday was a really confusing day. Everybody got in, and, you know, I just had a lovely day with all of my colleague. We had these conversations where, you know, when you work remotely, you don’t get to connect in this very freeing way where you just have conversations.

Lynn Grogan [00:04:28]:

You know, it flows in and out of talking about work versus personal life, you know, and getting each other’s back stories in this way that we just haven’t haven’t in the remote structure. And, you know, all the while throughout the day, I kept reflecting back on, am I really doing this? Like, am I really leaving these people that I love so much? And so it was interesting to come back to my room last night and just be so wildly confused. Like, am I really doing this?

Lynn Grogan [00:05:01]:

Alright. So you don’t hear it in the clip because we edited some things out. But after this, I go on to talk about how I’m really worried about letting people down and having them be mad at me for quitting at such a challenging time. I also talk about being afraid that I won’t find something better and that I’ll make a huge mistake. And I’m worried about not having a regular paycheck. I mean, I’m the sole income earner for my family, so this is definitely weighing on my mind as I make the decision. And there’s also, like, a part of me that’s wondering, like, should I just try a little bit harder to like things and get on board with what’s happening? I think it’s completely normal to kinda turn it back on ourselves and just be like, well, wait. Like, am I the problem? What’s going on here? What surprised me about this first audio journal was how quickly I started second guessing a decision that felt super firm before I got on the plane to Houston.

Lynn Grogan [00:05:50]:

And this is common, like, I don’t know about you, but sometimes you make a decision and it seems like a done deal, and then something happens and you start to question yourself. For me, I had forgotten, like, how fun it was working with my colleagues, and it felt so hard for so long, which makes it kinda easy to decide to quit when you have all those bad days, but makes in some really good days, and suddenly everything seems different. And that’s why decision making is so hard because often there’s no clear right or wrong answer. There’s just the decision you make and then what you make of it. So for me, I could see reasons to stay, and I could see reasons to go. And maybe this is something that you’ve dealt with too when there’s no clear cut answer. This is often when we delay our decision, because we keep thinking that the quote unquote right answer will emerge, but it never does. This is also sometimes where we might start hoping that someone or something will make the decision for us so that you don’t have to make the decision.

Lynn Grogan [00:06:46]:

But if you want your life to change, eventually you have to decide. For me, it was really helpful to keep the big picture in mind. So I was asking questions like, okay, like, if I stay, why would I stay? And if I was honest, the answer wasn’t because I could see a future there and I would have been excited about where my career was gonna go, it would be because I was scared to take the leap. So you’re gonna hear more about taking the leap in the next clip.

Lynn Grogan [00:07:13]:

6:40 AM, day after team day. You can probably hear from my voice, a little bit froggy. We ended the day with private karaoke, and, you know, as things happen, you kinda scream sing the whole time. So, yeah, my voice is gone. So it’s been an interesting evaluation over the last several months of, my gosh. I don’t know that I know what I want when it comes to, like, career or maybe it’s actually I do know what I want. We were driving to karaoke last night in the Uber, and we were as coaches will do, we were talking about our favorite questions to ask or fun one. You know, the question was, what are you pretending not to know? And I think for me, I’m pretending not to know that at some point, maybe sooner than later, I would like to pursue having my own business.

Lynn Grogan [00:08:18]:

When I briefly let myself go there about a month or 2 ago, I just felt so lit up. And it was easy to just for me to just disregard that as being like, oh, not that. Not that. And it was surprising of feeling so alive and shutting that down. It’s like, why wouldn’t you want that life giving energy? I think it’s just immediate fear. Like, oh, that won’t make money. Oh, I can’t do that. Always stay here.

Lynn Grogan [00:08:49]:

This is safe. And, I think that’s what it is. I think the pretending not to know is part of is part of that. Not you know? And especially too, I think, Everybody that knows me well, it’s like, why aren’t you doing this? My coach, my sister, my husband, why aren’t you just doing your own thing? Like, maybe it’s time to do your own thing. So, oh, scary, but also, also we can’t ignore the things that light us up. We can. We can shove it down, but I think just the after a while, the familiar oh, gosh. It’s such a that’s such a drug.

Lynn Grogan [00:09:38]:

It’s the most familiar feelings and the familiar work. It’s so easy to just stick with it versus something brand new, and I coach on this all the time. I think that’s the thing, but it doesn’t become any less scary for anyone. Anyone. So, yeah, I think that’s probably the direction I’m going, but I don’t know. I’m I’m curious to take a break and see where it lands me, like, an official break. Alright. I’m gonna give this voice a rest.

Lynn Grogan [00:10:13]:

Harry, dear.

Lynn Grogan [00:10:15]:

One thing that you may have picked up on in that last clip was how I was trying to squash my future plans. Like, I was really surprised by how scared I got to be excited for my future. If you listen to that podcast from a few weeks ago called how to stop killing your dreams, I talk about the very reasonable reasons that people give themselves to talk themselves out of their dreams. That’s definitely what was going on here. I started imagining an exciting future for myself, and it was almost like I didn’t want to go there out of fear that I couldn’t create it for myself. Sometimes consciously or subconsciously, it can seem like it’s the best plan to keep things as a fantasy rather than risk trying and failing at it. So how do we stay open to our dreams? I think it’s helpful to remember that one of the reasons we shut things down is that we humans generally fear the unknown, and we do not like uncertainty. We want to know what’s next for us because it seems like if we know what’s next, then we have some control and that seems safer to us, but what keeps us safe can also keep us stuck and stagnant.

Lynn Grogan [00:11:14]:

I knew deep down I would regret never giving myself a chance to explore other options with my career and with coaching. So, like, I actually tried having my own coaching practice 2 other times back in 2018 and 2019, and I got scared and went to work for someone else. Even though I didn’t know that I was gonna try with a coaching practice again, I knew I wanted to stop quitting on myself and taking the safe route, Which leads us to our final clip. It’s the morning where I’m planning to quit my job. I remember that we were in the town of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, which seems like an appropriately named place for anyone to quit their job. And it also seems like maybe I made it up, but, like, look it up. It is a real place, and it’s a very charming town. You’ll hear in that clip that I am still uncertain and I’m still justifying why I’m quitting.

Lynn Grogan [00:12:03]:

I think I’m justifying it to myself to bolster confidence and stay convicted, but I’ll be honest, I was not confident going into that meeting. I didn’t realize how uncertain I was feeling until I listened back to this. Like, I think there’s this idea that if we’re making a major life decision, we should feel confident and strong and very convicted, but, like, I was scared how it would go, and I had to do it scared and drum up as much courage as I could.

Lynn Grogan [00:12:30]:

It is November 8th. All goes as planned. Today is the day. I’m still feeling kind of unsettled. Not like I’m not sure about the decision. It’s just, like, I still like this. I’m not really doing this kind of thing. It’s funny how this last weekend was able to erase the last 3 months of my experience.

Lynn Grogan [00:12:58]:

I was just looking at my journal from mid October and just seeing, like, kind of what what I was going through at the time and some of the thoughts were this isn’t a good fit for me anymore. It doesn’t light me up. I have to do this for the money I want out, thinking that out is better. I don’t like where this is going. My time isn’t my own. I’m not excited about this new role. They want me out. I’m stuck here for now.

Lynn Grogan [00:13:27]:

Feeling frustrated, resentful, anxious, mad, sad, irritated, defeated, stressed. And it’s interesting how this past weekend yeah. Like, I was just forgetting, like, all of that. And, you know, I was just like, oh, this is fun. I could do it. It’s so good. You know? But the like, running an event and being in person is not my real experience of my job. And my real experience of my job, you know, primarily is much different than that.

Lynn Grogan [00:13:58]:

Like, I can’t really dismiss the that I haven’t slept a full night, and I’ve woken up at 2 AM every single night, almost every single night in the last several months. Like, I it’s very rare for me to feel fully rested. Like, my body is trying to tell me something. I don’t wanna just, like, struggle to be okay. Like, you know, to white knuckle to just be like, okay. Like, you’ve given me this box to play in, and I’m gonna feel good about playing in this box. Like, that’s almost what I’m saying when I say, like, oh, I could stay here and be happy. Nothing against them.

Lynn Grogan [00:14:39]:

It’s just what do I want, and I just don’t see it here. It’s hard to make this decision without knowing what’s next. I think that’s part of it. The uncertainty is hard, and that’s not hard. Last couple of days, my thoughts have been preoccupied. Oh my god. What do I say? So I was just, like, preparing my speech, what I’m gonna say. Like, I don’t wanna spend my life preparing speeches and trying to, like I don’t know.

Lynn Grogan [00:15:05]:

I don’t know anymore. It’s helpful to look back through my old journals because this weekend, I was like, Emmy Night’s gay, and I’m like, wait. That’s not real life. So, anyway, signing out Tuesday morning.

Lynn Grogan [00:15:18]:

So I did end up quitting, not that day, but a few days later. And, well, it was scary for me. I didn’t die. That’s good. Right? And now that it’s a year and a half later, I would make the same decision again in a heartbeat, But at the time, it felt like such a monumental thing that had the potential to lead to ruin and failure, like, so dramatic. For most of my adult life, I’ve worked for someone else, and the idea of quitting to go toward what I want was thrilling, but also terrifying. Like, this was definitely a direction without a road map that I am still figuring out to this day, and I’m sure I’m sure it’ll come up a lot as we go forward with this podcast. But as we wrap up for today, if you are thinking about quitting your job or making some other major lifestyle change, like, my heart goes out to you.

Lynn Grogan [00:16:05]:

At times, it can feel like you’re losing your mind or you’re going crazy, and you can’t focus on anything else. Like, I know I felt that way at least. But the one thing I know for sure is that part of living a regret free life is having the courage to live true to yourself, whatever that means to you. So thank you for listening today, and I hope this podcast was helpful for thinking through some of your own decisions or at least not feeling alone in them. And as always, if you want somebody to talk to about this, you can email me lynn@lynngrogan.com, or find me on Instagram at lynngrogan. If you found this podcast helpful, share it with a friend. See you next time.

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Lynn Grogan host of the Reality Show Life Coach podcast

Meet your host

Hi! I’m Lynn Grogan. It’s my passion as a life coach to help you escape the status quo and live a fulfilling life on your own terms!

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