By: Pauline Calina

I bet you never thought you’d spend half a year at home – but you just did. 

2020 is proof that life is unpredictable. It is erratic, fragile, and it does not discriminate. Life gives when it does, and takes when it needs to. Life does not exempt anyone - from death, from fear, but even from hope.

It’s this dynamic that pushes us to hold on as tightly as we can to what we can control. We seek security and take comfort in knowing what comes next, even when we don’t. We create a bubble, a forcefield of sorts, to protect us from the uncertain. A shield we better know as our “comfort zone.”

Three years ago, I lived through a predictable 9 to 5 schedule, a familiar environment, a job that I actually loved. It was everything I thought I wanted. But like any good thing, my contract came to an end. I felt so lost. It felt as if there was a huge wall in front of me, with no way to get over it.

It was overwhelming and scary. But it was also an unrecognized opportunity to grow.

Life is funny like that. Just when we thought we knew the ways of the world, life steps in and proves to be another season we can’t decipher.

It’s undeniable this pandemic has held a lot of our dreams hostage. No matter how we slant our shared experiences, the “new normal” just doesn’t feel anywhere close to “normal.”Little do we know, it’s being in a crossroad that springs us to greater adventures.

It was a crossroad that pushed me to create a career I really loved, and one that would stay. In retrospect, I realized how demanding and time-consuming my previous jobs were. I thought I was fulfilled until I had an epiphany, one day.

I told myself I wanted to be in charge of my time. I wanted to travel and actually be able to live my life out in the world. I want to be financially secure and still have time for the things that matter - and that’s exactly what I did!

I wanted to be my own #BossLady so today, I’m now a freelance Project Manager for an international events company. And with all the extra time I get, I still get to continuously get to know myself and expand my passion through my entrepreneurship, podcasting, and content creating. This, to me, is a perfect mix of my passion, character, education and experience. 

If you’re unsure of where you see your career going, rest assured you will always have enough time to grow and rediscover yourself. But as you do so, here are 9 things I hope you learn.

Life gives when it does, and takes when it needs to. Life does not exempt anyone -from death, from fear, but even from hope.

Rejection is a redirection

Things won’t always go as planned. Life will always close some doors for you but always remember that they are closed because they are either not for you or you might not be ready just yet.

Every door has a special key for you to unlock it. And to get that key, life will require you to have certain traits and experiences that might just not have – yet. So when life says no, just ask what’s next because life is still leading you where you’re supposed to be.

Outside your comfort zone is where you grow


Security is just another term for one’s comfort zone. These are the familiar places, faces, day to day repetitive tasks, systems and schedules, we’re all so used to. Sure, doing the same thing for a long time can make you really good at it, but it doesn’t help you grow outside what you already know. How else will you discover new things and experiences if you don’t get out there and grow? New experiences help you expand your knowledge and teach of things you don’t and do want to keep doing.

You get to know yourself better

If you’re  someone who’s used to living in the nine to five life inside an office, going freelance may sound scary and it will be challenging at first. Only because you’ve gotten so used to  following someone else’s system. you’ve learned to abide by someone else’s rules, but being your own boss means having to wear your big girl pants very often. It means learning your priorities, making sacrifices, and meeting your own deadlines. You reap the fruits of your labor but you also suffer the consequences of half-baked work.

This will teach you how to manage your own time, and manage your expectations of yourself. It may sound a little daunting at first but just let everything take its own course. Sometimes things don’t work out but that’s how you learn what works and what doesn’t. But the best thing about it is you will learn how to say yes to the things that work for you and in the end you will know yourself a little more as you face opportunities and adversities along the way.

The world is your office

WFH or Work from home is just a term for working in the comforts of your home especially during this pandemic. But when it’s safe to travel again, anywhere can be your home.

If you’re choosing a path towards working online then all you need is your laptop, the internet, and you can work from wherever you want! Those famous vloggers you see on the internet aren’t automatically full-time vloggers. They, too, start those with online jobs that empower them to keep doing what they love! If they can make the world their office, you can, too!

Connection is an investment

“It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know?”

This statement has its share of truths. Of course, being good at what you do is a requirement, but having a broad network helps, too. If you’re planning to work full time in freelance, I suggest you invest in building your network. You can do this by connecting with people online through freelance platforms or by asking your friends to share your work through social media. Having a wide network means you have more people who can turn into clients one day.

You are a walking resume

Freelancing is not a job, it’s a business and you are the product and the brand. For people to start investing into you and your services, they should be able to vouch for what they’re investing in. They should be able to trust you and know that they are going to get their money’s worth. So how do you do this? You can start by having previous clients write testimonials of you and your work on Linked In. You could repost feedback on your social media, create a portfolio of your work, and keep getting the word out there.

But before you people can believe in you enough to vouch for you, you must first believe in yourself.

The limit does not exist

This is more than just an iconic line from Mean Girls. 

When you’re starting over or venturing into this phase of discovery, do yourself a favor and stop creating self-made limitations. Stop telling yourself you can’t do it or you won’t succeed even before you try. Give yourself a chance to jump in and see what comes out of it. Drop your self-labels and shower yourself with a little self-compassion to try to become whatever you want to be.

Be open to learning

Every day is a chance to learn new things and some things are gonna be trickier than the others. But think of it this way, the trickier the task, the more you have to grow into. It will expand your knowledge and be another feather on your cap. The same goes for any product or service – it all has to start from the development stage. And since you are the brand and the product, allow yourself to grow through everything you go through. Face adversities with a smile on your face and know that it’s another lesson to be learned and another skill on your repertoire.

Hold fear in one hand and passion in the other

Starting over again might mean facing a lot of uncertainties and that can be scary. Fear can consume you but do you know what’s great about fear? It reminds you, you’re still alive. So instead of letting fear chase you away from your dreams, acknowledge it, get to know it and hold it by the hand as you trot down your path.

It somehow sparks that tiny fire in you. It’s okay to be scared and uncertain because when you add passion to that tiny fire in you, you will continue and keep on going. If you really want something and you are committed to it,  it’s better to take the risk and learn from your mistakes and the challenges you face than leave your future self wondering about all the “What ifs” in life.

Keep your fears close but your passions closer.

Freelance or not, you owe it to yourself to gamble on your greatest dreams. Buy that plane ticket (when it’s safe), write that book, start that vlog. Know what your heart yearns for, and by all means jump in. The clearer your dreams are the better you understand yourself.

You know what you’re willing to sacrifice, you know what your priorities are and how they’re ranked. You’ll find comfort in solitude; you’ll find comfort in silence.

There are probably more things to be added to this list, but always remember that if you wish to have this liberating feeling of living your life in your own terms and creating a future that works best for you, it will take a huge leap of faith and don’t forget to believe in yourself. All you need is to start and take a single step.

Pauline Calina
Pauline CalinaFreelance Project Manager
Pauline is currently a Freelance Project Manager for an international event production company and a freelance event singer and host.
She has a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and has always been drawn to
helping people cope with their personal and interpersonal struggles.
In her free time she’s a content creator, motivational writer
and speaker driven to inspire and touch the lives of people through her content.