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I know a lot of successful people who reach a certain age to realize that their career choices have been more about money and security and less about happiness and fulfillment, leaving them depressed.
If this sounds familiar, but you are feeling like you are stuck, don’t stop reading because what you are about to hear might change your life.
If you’re young and just starting out, you may be thinking “but I need the security of a full-time job,” or maybe you’re in mid-life crisis zone thinking, “It’s too late for me to start over.” Well read on Mama because you can begin right now, and I’m going to tell you how.
A bit of backstory: I’m sharing with you from the perspective of someone who quit her last 9-5 job when she was 26 years old. For 23 years, I’ve worked how I wanted. Sometimes it’s stressful and sometimes I’ve financially flopped, but sometimes I’ve sold businesses for millions of dollars. Whether the former or the latter, the constant is that I’ve always felt alive and excited about my work.
I’m sharing this with you to encourage you to start living an amazing life that fuels your creative soul. You can begin by questioning why you are doing things over and over again that make you feel stuck, and by replacing those actions with things that will get you excited again.
Here are 5 things I’ve done to always create, or find, work that I love.
ONE: ADMITTED WHEN I NEEDED TO MAKE A CHANGE. I have found that over and over, there comes a time when things just aren’t working. It’s that phase when I realize that I’ve been consistently complaining and that I’ve been trying to jam a square peg into a round hole for longer than is humanly comfortable. I take enough time to make sure that I’m just not going through growing pains of where I am, and when I feel that enough is enough, I admit that I need to make a change. If you are thinking, “but I’ve invested x amount of years or money into what I’m doing, I can’t stop now,” you are not alone. However, this is the fallacy of sunken cost and you must understand this so you can move on.
“The sunk cost effect is the general tendency for people to continue an endeavor, or continue consuming or pursuing an option, if they’ve invested time or money or some resource in it,” says Christopher Olivola, an assistant professor of marketing at Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business and the author of a new paper on the topic published in the journal Psychological Science. “That effect becomes a fallacy if it’s pushing you to do things that are making you unhappy or worse off.” Time Magazine
TWO: PLANNED. Whenever I knew that it was time for something else, whether it be a new venture or project, selling a current business or even calling it quits; I started to plan. First, it’s been about mental seeding and thinking. I am generally impulsive, which I believe makes it easier for me to start new ventures, but sometimes that makes me dive in head first without a good plan. Once that ended in bankruptcy. But, guess what? I would take one bankruptcy in a lifetime (knock on wood) over trading decades of my life to doing something that I don’t like. However, I have learned that it’s important to make a solid plan, even though the plan will probably change as I go.
THREE: EXECUTED ON THE PLAN. Don’t be that girl who goes around saying, “I thought about creating Spanx way before she did.” There is a reason why Sara Blakely has a net worth of over $1 billion and you are pushing paper for someone else. A good plan is one thing, but until you execute on the plan it is just a dream. At my first company, we used to hear “I thought of this idea x years ago” all of the time! But, you know what? while those people were feeling all superior by the thought of having the idea before us, we were the people building a $50 million business in our garage.
FOUR: KEPT GOING WHEN THINGS WERE WORKING. When something works, I keep going at it. There can be a temptation for change, or adding, or complicating. But I try hard to resist that urge when something works. For me, this is a challenge because I like to try new things. But when you hit upon gold, you want to keep digging in the same place until that place no longer has what you need. Once, heard the advice that when I saw something taking off in my career, something that was working well, to “pour gasoline on that fire.” You can’t always be sure of what is going to work, and what won’t. But when you find something that does, treat it well and give it the energy that it deserves.
FIVE: REEVALUATED. Partaking in meaningful and enjoyable work is a core value of mine. Because from time-to-time I find myself in situations that don’t align with this value, I never stop evaluating what I’m doing. This includes always looking to see if the benefit outweighs the bad. For example, if I am not super excited about the exact moment where I am, but what I am currently doing has a clear path to where I want to be in 6 months from now, then it likely makes sense to stick with it for the time being. But, if it’s something that has an iffy outcome, without a lot of rewards, it’s time for me to move on and be true to Number One.
Once I retired at 33. That had been my goal. I did it, and I stayed retired for 6-ish years. However, the old vision of retirement as a reward after working for years at a job that you hate simply does not exist and I eventually went back to work.
In this vein, I propose a new term for a new way to work. I propose a way of life that I call “intermittent retirement.” For example, I sold a business and then I retired. Several years later, I went back to work. After 3 years at another company, I set up a deal that allowed me to retire again, even if for only a few months. Then, I invested my money into a new venture. However, I closed that venture, leaving myself looking for something new to do. For the last 3 years, I’ve found great work that I enjoy, and I am building up speaking engagements and my blog.
I am not suggested throwing caution to the wind by building up a savings account, because obviously, that is an important goal.
What I am suggesting is a more fluid way of life that I believe creates less stress and allows one to get more enjoyment out of the time that they have on this earth.
These are the things that I’ve done to create or to find work that I love, and I hope that this post inspires more people to decide to do the same.
DOES THIS ALL MAKE SENSE TO YOU BUT YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE TO START? Contact me asap because for a limited time I’ve decided to work one-on-one with a few people who are truly looking to make a change. For more information, contact me.