Be brave!
Don’t hold back when you know you were made for more.

When I graduated from college with a degree in accounting, I thought I had it made.  I had a job lined up at a Big Four public accounting firm.  To a 22-year-old fresh out of school, my salary felt like I had just won the lottery.  Anytime I told people about my career, they responded with compliments and congratulations, seeming to be very impressed that I worked at such a prestigious company. 

After a short while, I quickly realized that the public accounting life was not for me.  I transitioned over to a different company where I worked in accounting for the following 6 years.  Similar to my previous job, I enjoyed the financial stability it provided and the compliments and validation I received from others when I told them what I did.

While I knew that accounting was not my passion, I had convinced myself that my job was what I did, and it would never be who I was.  I would never wake up excited for what I did.  I would never feel fulfillment from my job.  I would never feel truly aligned with what I did.  It was simply a paycheck that allowed me to do what I wanted outside of work.  So, month by month, year by year, I continued to just suck it up.  I continued to tell myself to just be grateful that I had a job.  I continued do have pieces of me fade away into the monotony I had begrudgingly accepted as my long-term reality.

Pay attention to nagging in your heart

But there was a nagging in my heart telling me that I was made for more.  That I had been gifted unique strengths that were not being utilized – compassion, a desire to serve, building connection, helping spread love and kindness. And this nagging, this fire inside of me, continued to grow.  I looked around at so many people just going through the motions, hating their careers, dreading going into work, but waking up and doing it every day because they were scared to change.  They were scared to leave their comfort zones.  And I knew that I was being called away from this and to a path of bravery and trust instead.

While I didn’t know what exactly my new career path would look like, or how I would get there, I knew deep in my heart that the universe was orchestrating beautiful things on my behalf.  I knew that I was being led out of my soul-sucking job into a magical career that would light me up and allow me to shine. 

Don’t get me wrong, there were countless nights of me crying in bed, lots of venting to friends and family, and plenty of desperate prayers to God.  But throughout it all, I held onto hope – even if just the smallest piece – that I would someday be able to do something that ignited my spirit. 

Fast forward to today, nearly 6.5 years from when I accepted my first job out of college, and I have found the inner strength to do a complete 180 with my career, working at a non-profit that helps to save lives.  I get to provide comfort and connection to others on a daily basis.  And, I have also pursued my love of writing, pouring my heart and energy into publishing my first book.  I wake up and smile with immense gratitude, still in awe at the incredible life I’m living.

While the road to where I am was long, windy, and often exhausting, it has also allowed me to stand confidently in who I am, hugging myself in amazement and pride for never giving up – never giving up on following what I always knew deep down I was being called to do.

So when you’re feeling discouraged or uncertain, always take the time to listen to what your heart is telling you.  It will never lead you astray. I promise.  You, my friend, were made to do big, bold, and brilliant things. with your life.

Tess Hayes is the author of “May You Shine: Love Letters to the Hurting, Healing, and Growing Heart.” To find out more about Tess, visit her website at You can also follow her on Instagram (@tess_hayes). 


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