“So what are your plans?”
“What are you going to do next?”
“Are you going to get a job?”
“Are you going to do a Masters?”
I knew I didn’t want to do a Masters and I knew I didn’t want get a full-time job either. I was so sure that working full time was NOT for me. I couldn’t see myself working day in, day out, doing a 9-5 or a Monday-Friday stint. I knew what I wanted to do; I wanted to start my own business. I felt I had skills, gifts and abilities that could be used to ‘do my own thing’. My heart was set on starting my own clothing line, a dream that had been birthed during my undergraduate degree.
The plan was to get a part-time job (in something fashionny) and then work on my collection(s) on the side. That was the plan, and I did it. Although it was perfect at first, somewhere down the line I got dissatisfied, agitated, impatient, and most worryingly, envious. I didn’t like the questions concerning my decision to work part-time and the general consensus amongst those asking that having a degree meant that I shouldn’t have a part-time job. I hated people asking why I was working in a shop which didn’t require a degree. Money was also steadily becoming an issue: I hated not having as much money as my friends. I began to have second thoughts about my original decision; perhaps designing was the thing I was to do in the future once I was more experienced and equipped.
A few months later, I gave into the pressure (external and internal) and got a full-time job. To be honest, it was great at first. I was finally fitting in. When I was asked those dreaded questions about what I was ‘up to’, I could finally answer like everybody else and tell people that I was doing something of value. Unfortunately, the feeling of dissatisfaction returned; I was miserable, unhappy and I eventually became depressed. Working a job that I brought me no joy while waking up at ridiculous hours to get to work made me realise that something was missing; I began to think that the time I was spending at work could be used more effectively elsewhere.
After a year of feeling unhappy and unfulfilled, I decided to leave my job. Perhaps some would say that I cared too much about my happiness but my greatest concern was sanity. Although my mind was filled with various ‘what if’s’ – what if I ran out of money, what if I fell into a job that was even worse etc – I handed in my resignation. In amongst my doubts and fears, I knew I had to take a small step of faith.
Upon handing in my notice, I didn’t have any job prospects; I just trusted that God would provide for me. It was a scary time and I was full of questions. However, just 2 weeks later, I managed to get myself a part -time job at a place that stress-free- a nice environment to work in. I can honestly say that decision was, by far, the BEST decision I’ve ever made and I’m thankful that I followed through with it. I now have the time to focus on what I have a passion for and I’m currently in the process of putting the finishing touches to my own clothing line, Lara Peters.
I learnt a few things from this experience:
1. If you have the passion and the desire to do something, or be at a certain place in your life, do what you can do get there. Don’t worry about how, or what people will think or if things end up not working. If you don’t try, you will never know.
2. Money is usually the thing that prevents us from achieving our dreams but you can always start small. You might what to start a business or a project but don’t have the funds. Get creative! I’m sure there are ways around it. You can start off small: plant a seed it will grow!
3. If you don’t want to be in the same place for the rest of your life, you need to take risks. I’m not the biggest risk-taker. In fact, I’m such a perfectionist, it’s ridiculous. I like everything to go according to plan and everything has to run the way I want it to. During this time, I learnt that in order to get to the level you’re aiming for, risks must be taken.
No matter what it is, whether it is going into further education, or going for a position you don’t think you’ll get, or starting a business, chase after your dreams! I’m still in the process of getting to where I want to be but I’ve taken small steps of faith towards my dream. You should too- you don’t want to look back 10-15 years down the line full of regrets.
I launch my collection this autumn. Check out http://www.larapeters.co.uk. Coming Soon!!!