I Quit my Shopify Job to Be an Artist

It was the scariest thing I did all year. Scarier than the major surgery I got in the summer, scarier than correcting people about my pronouns for the first time, scarier than getting COVID-19 while traveling for a funeral.

The thought of leaving behind a top-rated company, the amazing people that I'd gotten to know so well, the guaranteed lightning-speed personal and professional growth, and the comfort of a salary and benefits made anxiety shiver through me like an earthquake. It also sparked excitement through every cell in my body.

Interestingly, anxiety and excitement both lead to similar physiological responses. It makes sense when you think about it. What is worth getting really excited over that isn't also scary and unknown to some degree? What is more scary than the unknown? That's exactly what I was doing: leaving comfort for the unknown.

So what made me do it? I think back at my responsibilities in the different roles I had at Shopify, and I find that at the centre of it all was always our merchants. I had the pleasure of interacting with so many unique talented individuals with big dreams. They were doing the thing, leaving their jobs to follow that excitement. When I talked with them about their businesses, I could hear the excitement seeping through their words, even when those words were in an email. I wanted that.

I was keeping it a secret. I was playing it safe.

I've dreamed of living a life where creativity is at the forefront, forging the path. I've been thinking about launching a print store for years now. I've had the motivation to get started more times than I can count. One day, one week, or one month later, that motivation always expired. What was I missing? I was keeping it a secret. I was playing it safe.

I wasn't sharing my dream with anyone in any serious capacity when I should have been shouting it through a megaphone. I needed to own it. This time, I'm not going to hold back. I've been talking about the shop to all my friends. I've been sending text updates to family. I've been sharing it on social media since even before the store launched. And with every conversation, the anxiety is melting and the excitement is growing. This time, it's real.

Bertie is sitting in a loft on the floor with legs folded to the left and one arm resting on a wooden chair. Bertie is wearing a bright green button-up shirt and there is a bright window and red brick behind them.

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