Discovering what I lost £10000 and a girl for
When Adrian was stuck in his tiresome, repetitive and deeply unfulfilling consulting job, he couldn’t believe that an alternative was possible – who would? No two Escapes are the same, but their essence of braving the uncertain and being ready to experiment is what makes the reality of creating a better life, within reach.
Before I escaped I was existing more than living.
I felt like I had failed; like I’d blown my shot at a dream life, and was stuck in a bum job that while outwardly looked successful and impressive drove me insane. My job was dull, without progression and without anything I wanted to aim for, but I was stiff with fear. I’d experienced failure before when I’d taken risks: lost about £10 000 on a business, lost friends, a lifestyle, and a girl I wanted to marry. The idea of quitting my job felt like too big a risk that I was too afraid to take.
One evening I was drinking too much, and feeling miserable – I was reflecting on my life, noticing how much I was spiralling into bad habits – and I remembered my friend telling me to have a look at Escape the City. Drunkenly, I decided to check it out. When I saw the Tribes programmes I knew immediately it was what I needed. I had no idea what I was letting myself in for, nor how I would pay for it, but I knew it was a chance to make a change.
The Tribe meant everything to me: it meant 40 new incredibly close friends; it meant a safe space and an opportunity to express myself without fear or judgement (something I felt I was lacking); it meant learning to look at my emotions, feelings and blockers, as valid opinions, but not truths; it meant building the psychological resilience to leave things in the past, and focus on really understanding my values to help guide the direction I needed to be going in.
Eight Months On…
Eight months on from the Tribe and I’m writing this from a beach house on Lake Malawi. I left my soul-destroying job (and it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be!) shortly after the Tribe finished, and joined a not-for-profit called One Acre Fund (an organisation that helps farmers in East Africa with financing and training to reduce hunger and poverty).
This evening I’ll be participating in a leadership vision and goals-setting retreat for my new organisation. I’ll be setting the targets, the broader direction for the organisation, and the metrics by which to measure our success. One of my key aims post-Tribe was to work in an impactful role for an organisation I was proud to be a part of, and here I am.
I’m proud of myself again. I’ve taken a massive gamble, but I’m making it work and I’m living much closer to my values than I was before the Tribe.
I still have ups and downs. The first days in my new role in Malawi I see-sawed between elation and excitement, and blind fear, sadness and regret. This is where the Tribe teaching about looking at your feelings, rather than from your feelings is so important.
I also know that this new role isn’t a role for me forever. I know I have other ambitions, other targets and things I would like to achieve, and that’s okay. This is a step in the right direction, a positive part of my story, and reminding myself of that is important too.
Adrian escaped over 4 years as a tech consultant to a non-for-profit organisation called One Acre Fund, in Malawi. He is continuing to chase his curiosities and experiment with projects he cares deeply about.
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