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January 13, 2020

Living in a Remote Filipino Village helped me ditch my Soul-Sucking Career.

Forging your own path is a risk worth taking if you want to experience real freedom and happiness.

In 2014, I traveled to a remote village in the Philippines as part of my master’s research. I embarked on this journey to learn about the Agta people living near the Blos River in Northeastern Luzon.

This indigenous community has experienced decades of marginalization, segregation, and poverty. The area in which they lived was evolving and I wanted to give them a voice through my research.

I remember it like it was yesterday. Landing on this half grass, half paved runaway narrowly set between the ocean and the rainforest. Stepping out of the plane for the first time, my feet connected with the lush green grass, the moisture from the sea and rainforest causing them to sink gently into the earth. For the first time in a really long time, I felt grounded.

What I wasn’t expecting from this experience was the inner pull to reevaluate my life’s purpose. You see, I was pursuing my master’s degree in communications to further my corporate career.

I’d spent the previous 12 years climbing the corporate ladder, and this was just another stepping stone to achieving greater success. It was also what I believed was expected of me.

You know: Get a degree. Get a good paying job. Buy a house. Get married. Have kids. Collect a pension for retirement.

Sound familiar?

It’s funny how we’ve been conditioned to fit within a mold, and do what society deems is right. It’s also not a shocker why we get so fixated on trying to get things right, or wanting to be shown the right way to do things.

If only it was that easy.

The truth is there is no one size fits all approach for living your life. In fact, embracing the one size doesn’t fit all is what will ultimately set you free.

Living near the Blos River helped me realize that. There was no running water or electricity, and there was no cellular reception or internet connection. It helped me appreciate and reconnect with the beauties of the natural world—like the lush green rainforest, crystal blue river streams, and the slow way of living. I was forced to feel the real human connection I didn’t even realize I was missing in my life.

It taught me what true belonging and community looked like; and that time is all we really have, so it’s important to spend it doing something we enjoy. During my time there, I realized that my heart was yearning for creativity, vibrancy, and a purpose—something I wasn’t receiving from my corporate career.

After coming home, I kept wondering if we’re supposed to work, come home, go to sleep, wake up, repeat. Spending the majority of our days chained to a desk, working in a job we don’t really like, with people we don’t really care about, longing for our measly 15 days of vacation, just so we can earn a paycheck and hopefully retire someday.

When I put it that way it sounds crazy, right?

It’s why I couldn’t quite imagine living the next 30 years this way. But as life would have it, I slipped back into the mold for a few more years before walking away from my high-paying career to pursue full-time entrepreneurship.

When I finally made the leap, I think most people thought I was nuts for giving up a career I worked so hard to establish. But what I don’t think they fully understood was that I’d rather take the risk to do something I loved than spend one more day doing something I hated.

It wasn’t easy forging my own path. It took a lot of courage. And after news broke this week that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle decided to step back from royal duties, I felt compelled to share my story.

This is why forging your own path is a risk worth taking:

It’s Contagious

The world is sick. I mean, we are mistakenly shooting down passenger planes in fear of being attacked. Australia is burning and we have leaders of countries projecting fear and hatred in the majority of their communications.

“We’re scared of drowning, flying and shooters, but we’re all slowly dying in front of fucking computers.” ~ Michael David Rosenberg

But when people see other people happy, joyful, and uplifted, it gives them inspiration to pursue their dreams. It’s what we call the good old ripple effect. I can’t think of anything better than more people living a fulfilled, passionate, and authentic life! Let’s spread the love, and inspire more people to chart their own path.

It Lights Your Soul On Fire

“If it doesn’t set your soul on fire, it’s not worth the burn.” ~ C. Churchill

I am a strong believer that doing something you love for a living leads to a more fulfilled life. While there is nothing easy about venturing out on your own, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I am not wishing my weekdays away and living for the weekends. I often get asked if I miss my old career, and I can say without a doubt no. Launching my businesses has ignited a fire in my soul that had been dimly burning for years.

It Fuels Us

Passion is the driving force behind what fuels us. It’s what lights us up! Without it, we lose a sense of purpose, excitement, and happiness. For years, I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t happy, why I yearned for something different. On paper, I had it all. A good paying job, nice house, good car, great spouse, loving family, and amazing friends, but I hated my job. I actually forgot what it felt like to be passionate, and now my passion radiates. People often say to me they can tell I love what I am doing. Do something for a living that lights you up!

“If you organize your life around your passion, you can turn your passion into your story and then turn your story into something bigger, something that matters.” ~ Blake Mycoskie

I traveled to the Philippines to give this community a voice, but what I really found was my own. And I hope this article inspires you to tap into that inner voice eager to pursue your soul’s work so that you can forge your own path that is free of expectations.

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Kathryn Thompson  |  0 Followers

author: Kathryn Thompson

Image: Author's Own

Editor: Catherine Monkman