3 Superpowers I Earned After Turning Down 350K After Prison

After prison, I landed a job working the front desk at a gym in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

It was a great job to land after prison; I was still getting my legs underneath me after falling to rock bottom and slowly climbing out.

I met many of my closest friends to this day, and I found my voice behind that desk.

One of the members offered me a job back in the corporate world; the combined pay (salary & commission) was around 350K.

Here I am, making twelve an hour plus a small commission, struggling to keep my head above water in NYC, with 350K dangling in front of me.

I thought about all the meals I had to skip because I couldn’t afford them.

I thought about the ever-present fear that this might be the month I didn’t have enough.

I was working on Blank Canvas then, attending Toastmasters meetings and competing in speech content to navigate my once-crushing fear of public speaking.

I was working on creating the life I said I had always wanted but previously had lacked the courage to pursue.

It was hard; every day was filled with fear, shame, self-doubt, and feeling like an impostor. And it was even more complicated because there was no clear payout; all of it was a risk.

I was creating something, but I didn’t know how it would be created, which was terrifying.

Employment after prison is challenging; finding one that pays 350K is a one-in-a-million chance.

I turned the job down.

As soon as the words left my mouth, I knew I made the right choice.

I’d burned the boats.

Here are the 3 lessons I learned:

Clarity is a superpower.

Pre-prison, I said I wanted freedom but was living the antithesis of it.

I thought once I bought myself a certain level of lifestyle, then I’d be free. I had no clarity on what I truly wanted or the actions required to get there.

That 350K was like cholesterol medication. It may make my numbers okay, but it would never solve the root cause of my deepest desire to create.

That job would provide financial freedom, but it would never provide emotional and creative freedom.

Post-prison, I know what freedom matters most to me.

Self-trust is a superpower.

Many people talk about confidence; while confidence is essential, it’s a by-product of self-trust.

Confidence occurs after I leap into the unknown abyss; I need something that allows me to leap in the first place.

I needed self-trust, and here’s why.

Self-trust isn’t the belief that everything will work out okay; I can’t know that.

Self-trust is the deep inherent wisdom that regardless of how everything works out, I know, deep down, that I will be okay — no matter what.

I trusted myself and my creative journey and leaped into the unknown — because I knew I’d be okay.

Burning the boats is a superpower.

Before the 350K offer, I was going on interviews to get back into the corporate world. I was chasing the security that higher pay would afford me. I was also chasing the security of a known entity — the corporate world.

By chasing, I was also running away from myself and my dreams. I was given the gift of a second chance at life, and there was a massive part of me that was terrified by it.

I walked in the perpetual shadow of fear, self-doubt, unworthiness, and raging inadequacy.

When I turned the job down, I was making a decision that aligned with my values and vision for life.

The moment I made the decision, I felt the sun’s warmth on my face and understood one of the most critical lessons on my journey.

I’m the only one blocking the sun, the only person or thing that gets in my way.