It comes as no surprise that as adults the place where we spend the majority of our time is at our jobs or careers… depending upon how you view what you do. And so it is worth asking… do you love what you do?
Are you growing and expanding your talents? Is it fun? Do you wake up every day excited to begin the adventure that is your new day? Or, are you someone who took a job because you had to do something and it was simply easier to stay than deal with the discomfort of having to look for something else? Perhaps you studied in a particular field and then once in it realized it wasn’t for you but… wow, “I just spent a huge amount of time and money studying for this an what else am I qualified to do?”
You have heard me say before that, although we really don’t know what comes after this life for sure, what we do know is that we have this one glorious life at least. What a criminal shame to waste even a second of it not loving what you do. As I’ve done before, I will mention 9/11. All of those people went to work thinking it was just another day. For some they might have been living their passion but for the majority, statistics show, they were simply going to a place that was a means to an end. And I can guarantee you, had they known what was coming and when, they would have chosen other career paths for themselves.
Think about the days when you love what you are doing and are proud of your accomplishments versus the days that are just filled with stuff.
I remember hearing once the importance of living each day as though it were the last. Are you doing that? Or are you, in the typical American way, living for the end goal and not for the joy of the incredible journey taking you to that goal?
I feel I can speak from experience when it comes to both sides of this fence we are viewing. I have loved all of the career choices I’ve made in my life, but there have been jobs within those career choices that were awful… not just mediocre, but awful. Fortunately for me there have only been two, but I stayed too long in both of them and that is where most of us who are in this situation find ourselves whether for lack of passion or staying too long in a bad situation. The intimidation of starting the process of making a move either within the current industry in which we find ourselves (hopefully because we do love our career choice) or in another field entirely is huge. It always comes down to having the courage to make that first step. And, it is my opinion that the first step isn’t really that bad.
Remembering the famous quote, “there is nothing to fear but fear itself,” says it all. Often when we feel fear, it is not so much the magnitude of what we are contemplating, but rather the fact that we have not defined the steps involved in making this change. So, the first step is simply acknowledging you want a change and are open to making it. Just having the courage to acknowledge it—you can do that.
The second step isn’t really so bad either. So, what would you need to do? You need to make a list of steps… just a list. Easy, right? Now you’ll want to number that list in order of “to dos.” Another relatively easy step.
So now you’ve actually gotten through steps two and three.
The fourth step is about putting dates next to each of the items on your list. When will you have each one completed? The experts say that a goal without a date is just a dream… and as you are moving into action, you going to make sure there are dates next to each step. Be realistic but not lethargic. You may need to adjust sometimes, of course, but to start just list out the dates you think are realistic now.
The fifth step is to begin.
For those of you who love what you do but not where you are, whether it be current level of work (as in you want a promotion) or the company for whom you are doing your work, this is a fairly clear step by step process; equally as critical to your life’s journey as the person who wants to change fields completely but certainly a more evident step-by-stepper. If you are after a promotion, create a list of what you can do to make yourself more valuable to your boss and your company. See our article on initiative on leadership and use that to help you build your list. Find a great career counselor or business coach—not the home grow variety, but someone who can really help you catapult your career. I have several business coaches and they are worth their weight in gold in terms of providing needed vision when and where I fall short.
For those of you who have wanted to do something entirely different, your list is going to look completely different from those who already love what they do but not where they are or for whom they are doing it.
This group is divided into two different categories; those of you who know what you want to do but are not sure how to get there, and those of you who know you are not living your passion and want to find it. Both of you (in terms of categories) need to make your lists too.
For those who know what you want to do but don’t know how to make the leap, here are a few suggestions:
- Look for companies who do what you want to do and check out job opportunities there. You will be surprised at how much your current background will aid you in just plain work experience that shows a work ethic. It will give you a leg up. Be prepared to pay your dues but if you love what you do:
- go beyond the expectations of your new job
- let them know your goals
- find a mentor with whom you connect
Most of us are not in a position where we can live without an income, so being paid is critical but by living the steps I listed above you will succeed.
If you are in a financial position that is stable and are skilled at what you want to do, then you have a leg up if you are going to work for a company in this field… or maybe you want to start your own company.
If you are going to start your own company there are critical things to look at before doing so. For example:
- Who is doing what you want to do?
- Who is considered the leader in this field so you can use them to set guidelines for yourself?
- Is the field saturated or is there room for healthy competition?
- Does the completion matter? (It did not in my field when I went out on my own.)
- How can you set yourself apart from the competition?
- What is your unique selling proposition (USP)? In other words, what can you offer that others can not,
or will not do?
- How will you market yourself? (Whatever the field you are entering you are first and foremost
- What are the details of what you need to do? Make a list, i.e. workspace, name, client base,
letters out to clients, etc.
Make a list of the steps you’ll need to accomplish and the dates you think are realistic to accomplish each. Make the time commitments for breaking down each of these tasks manageable; a small chunk you can handle. When I wrote my book I committed to writing for 30 minutes, 5 days a week. It worked beautifully. Some days I wrote for an hour and gave myself a credit. I finished the first go around of my book in several months and I believe it was because I broke it down into what felt were doable chunks of time.
For those of you who know that you are not fulfilled in your current job or career and have no idea what you want to do, there are tests you can take to help you find your passion and even seminars that will help you work through figuring this process out.
Your first step is to start looking some clarification… then, “just do it.” That is, sign up for the seminar or test and begin. Set a date to have this accomplished. Once you have a sense of direction, the next steps will become clear… it is just a matter of your having the courage to make the list and begin by taking one step at a time.
I know you feel as I do… time is moving so fast. As this article goes to print, January is almost over and it just sped by. And, I know you will agree that as soon as you know it, we’ll turn around and omg (!) now it’s June. Don’t wait. This is YOUR life we are talking about. Feel the sense of joy, accomplishment and power that comes from starting… it is only the first step and that you can do for sure.
At business seminar I once attended I heard a speaker say “it is a researched fact that the happiest people are those who feel they have control of their lives.” Be one of those people by taking control of your life and finding the passion that makes you want to greet each day with a smile and a sense of YES!
As you spend so much of your life working to earn a living , let yours be filled with passion and joy. It brings success and meaning to each day. And oddly, by taking this step you unconsciously give others the courage to do the same.
I think you will love this passage written by Marianne Williamson and often (incorrectly) attributed to one of Nelson Mandela’s inaugural speeches:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous.
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God, Your playing small does not serve the world
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people wont feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just some of us;it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Now is the time to take control of your life and live it to the fullest. We would love to hear what you do so please let us know.