You’re in search of more work/life balance but the career – or the job – does not offer the flexibility you need. The need for more personal freedom tops your list of “wish-I-hads” because, with it, you could make a difference in some important areas of your life to include family or your community. You know that somehow, you can become more than you are, help more, and do more. Well, you’re not alone, but, as you say, “this is my life!”
My question is, are you willing to take a chance on yourself? Do you believe enough in yourself to follow your dream of perhaps one day working for yourself? How often did you feel you had the ability to create something of your own? Yet, you were unable to move beyond the monologue you have with yourself on a more frequent basis than ever before.
You could probably tell me in 15 minutes, or an hour, what you find most objectionable, or unsatisfying about your current job. Moreover, you could even explain why you have not acted upon your concerns. Consider that perhaps YOU are your best opportunity but, between self-doubt and old habits, you fail to knock on your own door.
My guess is, your real fear is in taking a chance on yourself; believing that you could develop a working plan after deciding what you wanted to do. For example, you have never put together a business plan before. You ask, where would I begin? It takes capital to launch a business; banks are reluctant to make small business loans, you point out. What are the alternatives? I like my ideas, you insist, but how do I determine if there is a demand? Who are my competitors? What if I fail? Is there someone I can talk to – to help me find the answers? Maybe the real question is, should you start a business or look at other options? The questions play like a short horror film, one you have seen far too often and you become even more anxious.
Each of us has grappled with unmet needs, but not all of us have the courage to take the next step to bring about more alignment in our lives. Who do you know that you trust? A valued friend; a close colleague; or, the savvy uncle who prospered. He, or she, can help you gain greater clarity by starting at the beginning – with yourself. This individual might know you but wants to dig deeper into your thought process to learn more about what it is you think you want to do. You see, everything begins with you – the most important asset you have. You would begin with the image in the mirror and what you feel you bring to fulfilling a dream. This individual, let’s call them an advisor, would help minimize the consequences of early mistakes. You do need to know if you are capable of self direction.
The trust you build into this relationship may unlock secrets to setting and achieving your goals. Ultimately, the idea is that you learn to perform well enough that your performance becomes second nature to you. Through this bond of trust, you explore what in your life is working for you. A key question early in the process of building trust is, are your goals your own, or are you attempting to advance in a direction set by someone else? Put another way, did you lean your career ladder against a wall chosen by someone else? A parent, a coach, a mentor? You need to own your life, your goals, and what it takes to succeed. When you do, setbacks become a bend in the road, not the end of the road.
I do believe the average wage earner has entertained the idea of “firing the boss,” walking away from a job we really do not like. I had a storied career but, yet, more than once I seriously considered quitting. Well, doing it is more than a notion. For example, do you know what it takes to work for yourself? You know you are a good employee because, last year, you were “Employee of The Year.” However, can you bring the same qualities of character and personality, and your skill set from your structured work environment to build an enterprise where you are the beneficiary: the focus, the discipline to manage yourself while maximizing your performance; the ability to set goals and the desire to succeed? Can you handle risk and uncertainty? Those frequent what-if-I-fail-moments. Are you willing to learn new skills at this stage of life? Some do; some can’t, and some among us will not.
Another important question, perhaps the determining question, is, is your financial future important enough to take control of it? If the idea still excites you, move into it at a pace that works for you. Do not give up your day job; bills still arrive on a regular basis.
So, get the ball rolling with someone with whom you can clarify your ideas, get answers to questions; someone who can work with you to craft a plan of action, and develop a flexible strategy to get started. With this person, you are not alone.
If you are undeterred at this point, here is what a growing number of others have experienced by taking a chance on themselves: success momentum, a term coined by best-selling author and leadership expert John Maxwell.
- Your time is your own.
- You bring your creative energy, your talents to bear to achieve results for yourself, for your clients, and not for a boss.
- You establish the structure of your business and your working environment.
- You spend your days pitching ideas, creating marketing campaigns and focusing on ways to expand your business.
- You experience the thrill of building something that offers value to others.
- You experience the emotional highs and lows that accompany the drive to succeed, and you accept that stress can be a frequent companion. The fact that you are fulfilling a dream gives meaning to tasks you find uninspiring – especially on the job you once had.
- Work is no longer what it once was; it is rewarding, it excites you, and no one can establish limits on the success you can achieve.
- You have acquired skills that enhance your ability to succeed.
This is what can be achieved by taking a chance on yourself to create a more meaningful life.
Are you up to it?