Updated: Mar 7
Dreaming of ditching the day job to pursue your passion project but feeling stuck? You need to know this.
You’re sat in a beautiful beach bar, sun shining through the vine covered terrace. Chilled music plays in the background. You can feel the warmth of the sun on your skin, the freshness of the sea breeze on your face. The sky is that kind of dark blue you don’t seem to see often at home. As you look out to sea you notice people enjoying the beach, living in the moment.
You open up your laptop. Your emails bring a smile as you read all the updates from lovey people you’ve helped telling you how their lives have transformed as a result of working with you or reading your blogs. Today you’ve decided to use your creative flair and blog about something close to your heart. It doesn’t matter what you write its your choice. It doesn’t matter what time you stop or start. Its your choice. You’re free. And you’re AT WORK.
That was my business dream. I imagined being one of those digital nomad type people who could live and work anywhere. Just me, a laptop, and of course, matching stationery.
I’ve not actually achieved that yet. The pandemic is not my friend. But I know it’s going to happen.
Because I’m making it happen.
Do you have a dream like this? Maybe not working from a beach bar in the sun. It could be freedom to spend time with your family, be there for your kids. To pursue multiple passions and turn them into an income. Or maybe you’ve just had enough of the hamster wheel of doing the same thing every day. Or of the boss you hate working for. Or the stress and pressure of corporate life.
If you’re like me you’re one of those people who have always had some deeper desire to create a life of meaning and purpose. You probably enjoy helping others improve in some way. To make a difference. You have a gift or talent that you want to share with the world, you’re just not sure how and you’re actually a bit scared.
But the fear of not doing something about it scares you more.
The time never seems to be right. And maybe the risk feels too high. But you know you’re capable of more and when you commit to something you give it your all.
Is that enough?
I can tell you that until you start you’ll never know. The biggest risk is not that we might fail in our business venture, it’s that we stay where we are and fail at life. And as I know all too well, that leads to burnout.
Burnout isn’t just caused by overwork and stress. Simply feeling unhappy day to day and not living your true purpose can do it too.
One of the things you often notice when you burnout in a career is that you don’t have much of a life outside of work. You can just about eek out enough time and energy for family responsibilities, cleaning the house or torturing yourself with some exercise you don’t really enjoy just to stop getting too fat from the 10 hours sat at a desk but there’s nothing very fulfilling about that.
My own experience was that I had no interests, no energy, and my creative outlet only extended to powerpoint slides. There’s only so much of this you can take before you lose yourself. You can read my personal story in by blog "I went from Break Down To Break Through".
There were aspects of my job I still liked but I’d also started to feel lost and jaded from it all, like something really important was missing and I didn’t know what it was.
I did dream though.
I dreamed of freedom – freedom to work when and where I wanted. To be my own boss and work on things that made me feel energized. To feel like I was making a difference. I’d always loved a holiday, and in on my Pinterest vision board I had the quote “ create a life you don’t need a vacation from”. That summed up what I desperately wanted.
The idea of setting up my own coaching business started to grow, and as that did so did my unrest with my familiar life. I felt trapped, unfulfilled and like life was passing me by.
Then it happened, the chance of redundancy. I have to say, after years of day dreaming about this very moment, my mixed emotions surprised me. As I read the letter informing me my job was at risk, I felt numb. Then panicked. Then overwhelmed. At no point did I feel the joy I expected.
But really, it was just the fear of losing the safety of a familiar 28 year career. And all my friends.
I vacillated between opting for one of the new roles or going, until the decision made itself when my mum got seriously ill on holiday and we had to drop everything to be by her side. And then she passed. In that moment I knew I had to try.
That’s a whole other story, and perhaps you may not have the same dramatic change in circumstance to force your hand. But we all have a tipping point, and maybe you’re at yours.
So if you’re feeling like I was and have a passion to pursue, whether it’s to set up a business or write that book or start that blog, take that course, whatever that change is for you, then I want you to go in with your eyes open and get a sense of what’s on the other side of the “what if…”.
The biggest thing I’m learning is that the whole experience is an emotional roller coaster.
You be highs with excitement about the new life you’re creating and the endless possibilities that are open to you.
Then you’ll have crippling lows where anxiety and self-doubt attack unexpectedly and you wonder what the hell you’re doing.
You’ll feel like an imposter waiting to be found out. You’ll panic and want to hide under a rock or run back to safety of what you know.
There’s stuff you need to know that you didn’t even know you needed to know. This can be overwhelming. The learning curve is vertical.
Then you have a breakthrough. You make a connection that leads to an amazing opportunity. A client tells you you’ve changed their life. You finally work out how to do a good social media post. The sun comes out so you decide to pop out for a walk. IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WORKING DAY.
But people you care about won’t get you. They may even tell you you’re mad and wonder why you’re leaving the security of the amazing job (the one that’s running you into the ground and making you cry on Sunday nights).
You probably won’t be on 10k months in the first year like those biz gurus tell you. You’ll discover money blocks you never knew you had.
Fears will rise up and make you think you will be OK if you just did that other course, learned that other strategy or cracked it like the other person who does what you want to do (only they’re better than you of course).
The truth is it’s your mindset will make you or break you. And it’s trying to break you.
Why? Because that’s what it’s programmed to do. To keep you safe, and being safe means doing what’s familiar and staying stuck where you are. Not chasing after your dream of a more fulfilling life.
Your mind doesn’t care, it just wants you to stay alive.
The good news is that you can take control of this and make your mind work for you and not against you.
At the most basic level mindset is just a set of attitudes and beliefs, so you only need to adopt the right ones to give yourself the best chance of success.
If you have passion, self-belief, courage, a good work ethic, an appetite to learn and just enough confidence to start, then you’ll make it.
It’s not easy but it really is worth it.
“Don’t be pushed around by the fears in your mind. Be led my the dreams in your heart” Roy T Bennet
So my advice to you if you’re putting off your dream is to start now. There will never be the right time or enough time. You have to make the time.
You’ll never feel ready. And you’ll never feel certain.
But you don’t have to throw yourself off the cliff and ditch everything. I’m actually pretty risk averse (years of corporate conditioning).
Just start and put one foot in front of the other.
But I do like a dramatic ending.
The biggest regret of the dying?
Not the things they did. The things they didn’t do.
See you on the beach.
Drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want a bit of courage. I'd love to hear from you.