Cover photo for Time to pivot? by Grow & Redefine. Photo of Julia holding a sign of a fist

Is it Time to Pivot? The Story of When I Quit My Job

By Julia Wiklander

I’ve always been a dreamer. I’ve had big ambitions to create change in the world. Yet, a few years into my first job, I realized that the dream I had planned for wasn’t what I had hoped. It was time for me to pivot my life. Despite landing a full-time employment at my dream employer, I made the decision: I was leaving my 9-to-5.

The symptoms that tell you it’s time to pivot.

I was miserable. It felt like something was pressing the brakes on my dreams. Bureaucracy and hierarchy weighed heavy. The time spent at work and commuting was tiresome. I wanted to make a difference, but I was in the wrong place. And I felt it in my whole body.

Those years, at a job that wasn’t for me, gave me some strong symptoms. My body and mind told me it was time to pivot. Here are a few examples:

  • I was irritable, frustrated and tired.
  • Too often I found myself complaining. It made me feel so incongruent with who I am as a person – I’m usually very optimistic and cheerful.
  • I had to see a doctor for stress-related symptoms like irregular heart beats.
  • Once, my boss found me crying in the stairwell. She was wonderful, though! This was one of the first experiences that made me understand that my sensitivity is one of my biggest strengths.

So, I knew something had to happen. There I was, landing a dream job and realizing it wasn’t for me. Now what?

Jumping into uncertainty

Without knowing how it would be possible, I made the decision to quit my job a year prior to doing it. I wanted to do something more creative with my time and feel like I was really making a difference for people. There were so many other things in life that I wanted to prioritize – like my husband, friends, family, traveling and hobbies.

I started blogging as an outlet for my passions. I’d meet with friends once a week to have dinner and develop our blogs. They wrote about traveling, hospitality and fashion. I created the framework for Girls’ Globe – writing about the intersections between gender and development.

I spent a year, writing and sharing value, communicating and connecting with a global community. My commute was now side-hustle time, writing new blog posts or making new connections around the world. New bloggers joined the platform, and a year later, I could see a future with something that I had created from scratch.

Leaving my full-time employment was scary. Telling my parents was daunting. The doubts and the emotional turmoil was not to mess with. It was all very real.

When pivoting pays off

The year following my decision to quit my job was quite the adventure. I received a few small first grants to work with building my new organization. Girls’ Globe was invited to attend events in Malaysia, New York and Ethiopia. Melinda Gates even started following Girls’ Globe on Twitter.

Markus and I spent time in Malaysia and New York, making some amazing new connections for our entrepreneurial quests.

A year into being an entrepreneur, I had secured a full-time salary and built my very first team.

I have now been a full-time entrepreneur for more than 8 years.

This is mind-blowing to me, and has challenged me in ways I could never have imagined (something that we cover in other posts!). But following my heart and jumping into uncertainty has definitely paid off.

Markus and I have had some amazing years together, traveling and working with things that bring us joy and value to others. We’ve had the opportunity to be home with our children, when we became parents. We’ve worked flexibly to create a lifestyle that works for our growing little family.

Cover Photo for Is It Time to Pivot? Photo ofJulia and her child in New York City.
My daughter and I during a work trip to New York City when she was 10 months old.

Girls’ Globe now has a truly global audience from every country in the world and I’ve mentored changemakers from every continent. I’ve spoken at schools and global events. We’ve had fun.

Perhaps most importantly, I’ve had the opportunity to make a living while working creatively to help make this world a better place.

Is it time for you to pivot?

If you’re here, I’m sure you have some kind of entrepreneurial dream. Whether it is to start a small service based business in your community or a global online enterprise, the question is – are you listening to your dreams?

I’d like to encourage you to think and journal about the following questions:

  • What are the signs that it’s time for you to pivot?
  • What’s holding you back from following your dreams?
  • What actions can you take to minimize fear or reduce the obstacles you face?

This is the very first step towards creating the life that you’re dreaming about. The road ahead will be full of personal growth to choose courage and intentionality every day. But why not start right here, by listening to your innermost desires.

Please share your thoughts about daring to follow your dreams in the comments section below!

Cover photo credit: Marta Miklinska.

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Julia Wiklander

Julia Wiklander

I’m the co-founder of Grow & Redefine and founder of Girls’ Globe, a social entrepreneur and risk-taker open to growing and redefining what our lives can be.
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