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I recently passed an anniversary of sorts.
It’s been six years since I quit my first job (not to be confused with the second or third jobs I also quit, which happened shortly thereafter). It’s also been six years since Kristen and I decided to start a business and six years since I enrolled in a certified coach training program.
I know anniversaries are supposed to be celebrated, or at least fondly acknowledged, but all I’m thinking about right now is the two weeks I spent in between quitting my first job and starting the next gig (as a part-time nanny to two-year-old twins).
Up until the day I walked out (of that unfulfilling, mind-numbing corporate existence), I was so excited for everything I was going to do before my new job started. I was going to go to yoga, bike around town, cook really healthy meals, meditate every night, and basically live the life I’d always imagined.
AND THEN I SPENT TWO WEEKS ON THE COUCH
All of the energy I thought I’d have when I quit completely evaded me.
I did a lot of things I’m not exactly proud of. Like binge-watching The Vampire Diaries all day on Netflix and never changing out of my pajamas.
I never biked. Not once. I never went to yoga. I may have meditated one time.
For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out why I felt so lethargic. This time and freedom to just live my life outside of the unfulfilling corporate grind is what I’d wanted, what I’d been desperate for.
Until I realized … this isn’t real.
I quit because I was miserable, but I had no real plan or direction. All I knew was that I was eventually going to become a certified coach, eventually have a real-life business, and eventually have the freedom I craved.
But that two-week stretch? That wasn’t freedom. That was an escape. And I knew it … knew it so deep down that I sat on my couch, thoroughly depressed, because no amount of quitting had changed the fact that I still had so much further to go.
That two-week period stands out, in hindsight, because it was the first time I consciously realized how very little I knew about getting where I wanted to go. It was the first time I acknowledged that I had no idea what I was doing and that I had no idea when I might actually find my way.
I WAS IN THE “QUAGMIRE OF SUCKAGE.”
There’s no doubt I was in (what I fondly refer to now as) “The Quagmire of Suckage.”
It’s that place where you know how much life sucks. You’re frustrated, you’re overwhelmed, you’re confused, and you’re stuck. So stuck, in fact, that the more you move, the more mired you become.
And all I wanted, rooted there in the nasty, muddy bog of the Suckage, was a route to bypass it. I was so tired of everything feeling impossible. And the fact that I had no idea where the Suckage ended was enough to put me into permanent panic.
So, I tried to find a way around it. I listened to countless audios and videos from business experts, trying to find that one secret to building a successful business and fast. I tuned in to as many spiritual leaders as I could, looking for tricks to immediately manifest all of the money I needed right now. (I’d read The Secret, people. I knew you could do that.)
I did visualizations where I imagined myself “ascending to the high-flying disk” (ugh, don’t ask) and I read book after book and article after article, without questioning their authors’ credibility, trying to find my way around the Suckage.
BUT THERE WAS NO RELIEF IN SIGHT
Slowly, but inevitably, the real Truth about The Quagmire of Suckage started to sink into my bones. And it terrified me.
It’s probably going to scare you, too, but stick with me here:
There is no way around the Suckage. You cannot go under it. You can’t stand still, hoping it will disappear. You can’t ascend to your high-flying disk or magic carpet and sail over it.
The only way out is through it.
I now have the benefit of looking down at the foggy, fetid landscape of the Suckage from a comfortable distance away (six years, to be exact), and here’s what I know:
The Suckage transformed me.
Having to struggle to make money made me financially wise. Knowing nothing about business made me get educated. Being unable to see when or even if I’d ever make it made me more patient and trusting. Being burdened with all sorts of conflicting information about how to move forward made me sharp and discerning.
The Suckage fortified me and strengthened me. I grew the proverbial callouses and muscles I needed to keep myself upright and moving forward.
Navigating around it would never have served me.
You’re not going to be able to avoid the Quagmire of Suckage, either. You’re going to have to go through it, too, to get to the other side. And it will ultimately fortify you; you’ll eventually be able to appreciate what it took away and what it gave you in return.
But here’s one last Truth:
THERE’S NO RULE THAT SAYS YOU HAVE TO WALK THROUGH THE SUCKAGE ALONE
I trod through the Suckage in the dead of night, blindfolded. I was at such a know-nothing disadvantage that it took years to get to the other side.
And while I was mostly alone during that time, every once in a long while I’d stumble upon a guide. Someone with the proverbial lantern and a hand to hold, who’d help me navigate a particularly difficult stretch.
I am so grateful for the various guides during that time, who were usually people but sometimes well-timed books or courses. They sped up what was left of my journey and made it that much easier to keep going.
Looking back on the last six years, I realize that one of my biggest motivations in life has been to help other people through the Suckage.
Wanting to be a guide for others has influenced everything that Kristen and I have done. Every blog post, every article, every course, and every coaching session has been motivated by this desire.
In my estimation, when you’ve been through it yourself and know how to navigate it well, you owe it to the people behind you to show them the way.
Yes, life is going to suck sometimes … but having someone you trust to lead you through it can make all the difference.
Are you in the Quagmire of Suckage, too? How can you relate to this? Let us know in the comments!
Rachel (& Kristen)
I swear it’s like you’re filming me or something.
I am totally in the quagmire of suckage right now. I hate my job and can’t leave because of my loans and other finances. I’ve been working on getting another job by signing up for career events but everytime I do one, I feel like I’m further behind. I started taking some classes in a field I’m interested in but am unsure if finishing the certificate program will even help me in the future.
But I appreciate this blog post. It’s nice to find bloggers who seem to completely understand what’s going on in my life.
What a fabulous term! I am going through my own “quagmire of suckage.” Mine isn’t work-related: it’s my life in general right now. I subscribed to your blog after reading one post elsewhere and I am glad I did. I lost my husband almost 6 months ago after just 14 months of marriage (and my first time getting married at 49!) and less than 4 years together. Not only did I lose the only man I felt I could marry, I’m dealing with his stepkids and his youngest son’s money-grabbing issues (2nd wife took out accidental death policies without him knowing–karma happened and she died of an accident(!) while he died of congestive heart failure–so the policies are worthless and they’re well, pissed); as well as moving out of the house I had just moved into with him because I’m not on the mortgage (he died before we could do it–probably a good thing) and I refuse to go through probate for a house that’s not paid for and in need of repairs (hate the area anyway); and the icing on the cake is dealing with another relative who is dying as well. All within the last 18 MONTHS people!!! I struggle every day to go to work and even though I am blessed with a lot of loving people around me…it still sucks. So thank you guys, I have a perfect way to describe this period of life.
For quite some time, I had been in this suckage. I was able to meet someone else who was in a similar situation and we both guided each other through it – I’m not sure what I would have done without her! I’m happy to say that I see us almost on the other side. We definitely have increased our energy levels and feel like there are boundless opportunities. You are so right – there is no easy fix and the only way to get on with it is to go through it!
I can totally relate to this post. My quagmire of suckage has lasted about two years (so far). Initially I was inspired and motivated by my realisation that there was another way and signed up to do a coaching course with the aim of helping other people escape from corporate grey boxes. Then the reality hit that I was slowly but surely unpicking my entire life (because I had ignored some really important stuff for a long time and my new found awareness meant I couldn’t keep my head in the sand) and I started doing things that made me feel worse not better (letting my health and fitness slide to the worst place it’s ever been and stopping doing all of the things that fed my soul). It was a coping strategy of sorts, I had no clue who I was and the reality I had always believed in was shifting under my feet. Thankfully there is now some light at the end of the suckage and I know this year will be the year when everything starts to come together. You’re right though, there was no avoiding going through the suckage and thankfully I found some great coaches and friends to help me. The benefit of my period of suckage is that I know how it feels and will be able to help my clients from a place of greater empathy. Thanks for the post, it’ always great to know that you are not alone. Xx
I feel like this at the moment. I have so many ideas going round in my head yet I am stagnant. I would rather stay in bed or sit on the sofa. It is like I am paralysed. I have a good job, but it doesn’t inspire me and I just feel like my life has no purpose. I’m 35, single, fed up and not quite sure what to tackle first.
I’m almost a year into my quagmire of suckish. I left my soul crushing job after 8 years. I too expected to do all sorts of amazing things: learn a new language, drop 20 lbs, get back to Zumba, yada, yada. Nearly 1 year later, an additional 20 lbs, and not one step closer to “living the dream”. I find ways to sabatoge myself, like focusing on housework or other chores instead of actually putting effort into writing or being creative. At least now I have a name for it and I’m not alone. Can’t wait for 3/24! I think I’ve learned a great deal from this depressive period and am ready for it to end 🙂
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