Becoming Your Own Safety Net
Togzhan K., 30, Kazakh
By Leona Françoise Caanen
Change is scary, no matter in what area of our lives. We don't know what it will bring nor how it will affect us as individuals or the environment we have established ourselves in. We try to build a safety net in one way or another so that when we do eventually fall or trip, we have something or someone to catch us. Yet what about the moments we decide to try something new and, in the process, dissolves our safety net? For Togzhan this happened when she decided to quit her job and become an entrepreneur instead.

Having worked the same job in academia for about six years and with the seventh year about to commence, Togzhan knew it was now or never. While work had previously provided Togzhan with a lot of growth, friends, and joy, knowing that, throughout the next year, her work would consist of the same things she'd been doing – another work trip, another event to organise, another year spend at the exact same desk in the exact same office as the past few years no longer sparked the same joy as before. Where Togzhan had previously adored her work, it had now started to feel redundant – as if she'd done all the possible growing and gained all the possible joy that her job could ever offer her. Almost as if Togzhan's feet were stuck in quicksand, the more she tried to
slightly adjust, to change little things here and there, the more she felt stuck in her job and where she was at. The only logical decision seemed to be a drastic change: to quit her job and embark on a new adventure.

Responding to that inner yearning for change can be immensely scary; there are so many unknowns and uncertainties in the realisation that we are stuck in who and where we are. Togzhan decided to stand still, to go inwards and from there observe her options, see what the next possible steps were and how to go about them. Taking a moment to breathe, it became clear as to what direction would bring opportunities, the one that would allow her to venture towards a path that will remove the sense of being stuck in a place that no longer represents who she is. There were other tools that Togzhan utilised too, besides introspection, a big one being the conversations she shared with her partner. Being able to share your worries, fears, and enthusiasm with someone can make it all feel a little bit lighter and less intimidating. Additionally, it brought the reassurance that if Togzhan were to remove her own safety net, he would be there to share his own with her.

With this newfound freedom in being able to explore what it was that she did want to work on, Togzhan was eager to discover what she was capable of, what it is that she really loves and what her life is all about. It felt as if all this potential that resided in her was suddenly unlocked. Not to say that there weren't a lot of unknowns and uncertainties – we don't always know where our journey will take us and what it will bring us. But somehow, besides all the discomfort, we do know that we want to go – that we must go – in order for us to grow on our personal journey.

During Togzhan's journey of embarking on a new career path and being her own boss, she encountered a big challenge, one we're all quite familiar with. Having just set up a travel business, she now found herself in the midst of a pandemic that prevented precisely that. No travel would mean no business. Once it became clear that the pandemic wasn't going anywhere, Togzhan understood that she'd have to shift her focus onto something else – something that was fulfilling to her but also sustainable. Knowing how deeply she valued her own well-being, happiness, and understanding her inner journey, Togzhan shifted her focus from travel to a business that focuses on helping people live with joy – she created Joy Bound.

Her new business aligns, too, with her biggest dream in life: to assists as many people as possible to create a life in which they are happy. Instead, Togzhan's biggest goal in life is to create a successful business – one that sustains her livelihood – something Togzhan claims differs from her dream. Yet with the work that Togzhan has been doing since she kickstarted her entrepreneurial journey, she seems to have made both a reality. Her workshops, coaching and guidance that are offered from a business perspective are all things that, when
people choose to share openly and honestly, embracing the content whole-heartedly, leads people to tune in with what they need to be happy and feel better in their own existence. Success comes in many shapes and forms and how we choose to view the experiences on our path, shape whether we consider our achievements as successes. While her entrepreneurial journey has taken some twists and turns since it started, it has given Togzhan the time and space to explore what it means to build something from the heart. Something that can been accompanied by the realisation that when we create things in our life based on love and passion, and together with hard work, that it will get us to where we desire. Not always via the smooth path we envisioned, but maybe that's a good thing. It's those unexpected turns in the road that teach us about who we are, what we love, and how we want to manifest our future and ourselves.

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