It's never enough
Do you ever feel like you simply cannot give enough, no matter how hard you try? Do you constantly feel guilty, burnt-out, and tired? This week, our guest tells us what she did after working four years at a job where she felt like she never gave enough: She stopped giving completely and quit her job.
Hannah Hassler always loved the idea of education. When the opportunity arose for her to get her teaching certificate, she took it. Soon enough, she taught English at the middle school level at a public school in Texas. She loved a lot about teaching. She loved the connections, the kids, and the content itself.
But teaching took its toll on her emotional health. Every day brought forth a deluge of paperwork, meetings, parental concerns, student issues, and administrative pressure. What’s more, Hannah felt tremendous pressure from herself to be a “good teacher.” To her, being a “good teacher” meant going to student events, waking up early for before-school tutoring, staying late to run clubs, and buying school supplies with her own money. After years of struggling to keep up, she found herself one day sitting alone in her classroom struggling to breathe. She quickly recognized the sensation as a panic attack. It would the first of many she’d have in her classroom.
At first, she felt grateful that these panic attacks only happened when alone, rather than in front of students. She came to realize, however, that the panic attacks only happened when she was alone in a silent space—In other words, it only happened when she had to sit with herself. She also struggled with digestive health at the same time. The doctors told her she had stress-induced IBS, and that she would ruin her stomach if she didn’t make a major lifestyle change. By her fourth year of teaching, she found a clause in her contract that allowed her to terminate the agreement. She left and enrolled in a virtual assistant’s program.
Showing up for yourself
Changing careers brought her both immediate relief and immediate fear. While she no longer dealt with a high level of day-to-day anxiety, her teaching job gave her benefits that she wouldn’t have as a virtual assistant. Despite these uncertainties, she finished her program with the encouragement of her husband. While Hannah’s fellow students felt the need to justify their training program’s cost to others, Hannah’s husband believed in her. She also found support from a couple of books and practices: “The Work” by Byron Katie and The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.
After she finished the program, Hannah began to get her business off the ground. As she found her footing, she had to consciously and explicitly give herself permission—Permission to take a chance on herself, to pursue her dreams, to hope. She struggled with showing up for herself consistently. “You can get into a practice that you know has a positive impact, and it’s really easy to do them for the first three days or the first seven days,” she explains. “But one day you feel tired or you don’t feel in the mood. We reach this point with things we know are good for us where we just kind of feel over it. But choosing to continue anyway, showing up, that’s what makes a difference.”
Through this journey, Hannah learned to distinguish the difference between hard work and work that crushes her. Her business is hard work, but it doesn’t give her stress-induced IBS as teaching did. She recalls one day when she picked her head up from all the work she’s been doing to get her business off the ground. She looked around and realized that she’s happy. She’s taken so much stress off her body and her mind, and she’s happy. This is what happens when you, truly, show up for yourself.
Get to know Hannah
Hannah Hassler is the founder of Rorschach Your Reality, a mindset coaching service that offers both one-on-one sessions and broader motivational content, including a blog and a podcast. Hannah believes that everyone is capable of self-actualization and wants to help you embrace your fullest self through her service. You can follow her on Instagram and Facebook.