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The Big Leap: Finding the Confidence to Make a Big Change

Two years ago, I made the biggest decision of my adult life when I chose to leave my job and pursue grad school. I didn’t have another job lined up, and I wasn’t accepted into a school. In fact, I hadn’t even applied to anything yet. I just knew I needed to make a change and in order to do that I had to take a big leap of faith. Finding the confidence to make a big change wasn’t easy, but trusting the process was worth it.

That December, I left my job without another job or grad school lined up; I planned to live off of my savings. I freelanced when I could and walked a friend’s friend’s dog, but I wanted the time to work on myself and my dreams. I worked hard on graduate school applications and was thrilled, ecstatic, and relieved when I got into not one but two out of the eight schools I had applied to. I had a choice! I had made choices for myself! It was rewarding.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Trust your process.” quote=”Trust your process.”]

In July, I moved from NYC to my father’s house in Pennsylvania for the rest of the summer, and then at the end of August after a family vacation, I moved to California for school. I started all over. I had to build a new routine, make new friends, find a job, figure out school. I was terrified that I would fail. I think I lived in a constant state of anxiety or near-panic attack for the first few months. Gradually, I found my way and began to relax.

With the new year, I’ve been thinking about the changes that will come at the end of my schooling and the changes I’ve made in the last two years. Now, over a year after I started graduate school, I feel happy. I am confident in my decision and for the first time, my future career. I know I will have more leaps of faith to take and I will continue to grow and have challenges. I will probably continue to worry about finding the right job, but at least now I feel like there is a job out there for me.

I feel hopeful and excited. I learned to have faith in the unknown future, and I learned to have faith in myself.

I’ve often struggled with a lack of confidence and it has been hard to trust my decisions. What if I made the wrong choice? What if it all backfires? What if, what if, what if? I have learned to stop worrying about the “What ifs” because a what if can be as positive as it is negative, it’s just about the perspective you take. So, I tried to counter the “What if it doesn’t work out?” with “What if this is the move I needed to get me to my dream job?”

I still worry about the future — will I find a job that pays enough so I can move into my own apartment? Will I be fulfilled, find happiness, find love? But I am happier knowing that I’ve grown in the last two years. I’m happier knowing that I’m following my passions, and I’m happy exploring this part of my love. I’m happier knowing that I can take a leap of faith, and survive.

Even if I had failed, I tried. I made choices and made moves.

I think I would have only really “failed” if I stayed where I was in the job that made me miserable in the city that drowned me out. I failed if I didn’t make a change. I love this quote by J.K. Rowling, and I made it my mantra when I was getting ready to take that leap of faith two years ago:

“You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”

So while you may be writing up resolutions for the new year, remember that any time is the perfect time to start. Don’t wait for a date, or a sign, or something to land in your lap to work things out perfectly. You have to be the one to make your dreams happen, and you can. Just start.

And if you really need your sign, this is it. There is no dress rehearsal in life, and the show must go on. So get to it.

About the Author

Marina Crouse

Marina is the Managing Editor here at GenTwenty. With a B.A. in French and an MFA in Creative Writing, she is a Writing Coach helping creatives bring their ideas to the page. Learn more about how to work with her at In her free time, you'll find her reading, cooking, traveling, or binge-watching sitcoms on Netflix.


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