Do you love going to your job every day?
I hope you do! For many years, I absolutely did.
So, since leaving my full-time job in 2017, I've had a lot of questions surrounding my decision to walk away.
Was I miserable?
Honestly, not always. Being a pretty natural optimist, if I ended up hating a job, I usually just found something that did bring me joy in order to make it through. OR, I found another task that felt more suitable for that season of life and shifted responsibilities.
So to say I was just fed up and about to experience a mid-life crisis–or smack in the middle of one as some would suspect–would be a misrepresentation. But the truth of the matter is that I wasn't fully stepping into what I wanted to do at that point in my life, and I became more and more negative. Which for an optimist can be soul-crushing. The fact that I have always struggled with the question, "What do you do?", became harder and harder to bear.
Most of the time, people expect one answer. One occupation. And when you feel like you do a litany of things and have a list as long as your arm of others you'd like to learn about or try someday, you may stammer and pause, but ultimately you answer as expected. "I'm a you-fill-in-the-blank."
Can you relate?
In most cultures, there's an added pressure on women and the expectations that come with the roles we play. We never have it easy because there's always someone commenting about what they think we could do, what we can do, or what we should demand. But I won't get into that. I just recognize that it's a factor. And we let it stop us from just going for what we want sometimes.
Here's the thing. I think it comes down to understanding that there isn't a way for any of us to say "what we do" in a sentence or a word. That's just silly. We are multi-faceted human beings who do so many things each and every day. According to some scientists, the average adult makes 35,000 choices or more each day.
So, what do you do?
A hecka lot of stuff.
Maybe what you're paid to do is what you love. And that's awesome. But if you're in a season of life where things are shifting, and you have a new dream or idea that may take away from the joy you once found in what you do, I have good news.
Nothing is permanent.
How crazy is it that we'll up and move our family across the country or world for a job that someone else wants us to do, but when it comes to taking a step towards doing something new for ourselves we call it "scary?" Or we'll tell someone else how brave they are for shifting careers in their forties or fifties, but secretly think they must be emotionally unstable if they decide to change after twenty years or more in their field. We've never lived in a more opportune day and age than we do now. So, leaving my job? It wasn't that hard. But it's also not as it seems.
Here are the tips I give people who ask about my journey.
1. Have a plan.
I was already a published author. I knew that I could write and work full time if I wanted to, but I found a book that changed my life. The Art Of Work by Jeff Goins was a timely message that my work was my art, and however I pursued it was worthy of my effort. But instead of up and quitting my paying job armed only with that truth, I went to my husband and partnered with him to find a six-month plan that worked for us. Recently, I was chatting with a friend who had a similar experience after over ten years in her career and gave herself a timeline of working two months after deciding to resign her job. Your plan won't need to look like mine or anyone else's. But I think you should have a plan–one that works for you.
2. Have a timeline for your new endeavor.
I decided when I quit my full-time job that my goal would be to write and publish three books in three years. I had already published one in the first year, while still working so I told myself I would keep writing, even if I felt like throwing in the towel, for two more solid years. And then I'd assess. In the grand scheme of things, I didn't think that two years seemed like too much. It's been hard, and I'm temptingly close to the end of that timeframe, having not made a comparable salary most months to what I made in the past. But having that timeline has kept me writing (and probably kept me sane) during the hardest days. We'll regroup in September, and I'll let you know how it goes. (Hint: I think I'll be just fine!)
3. Be open to opportunities.
When I started this venture, I thought that I'd educate myself on all there is to know about publishing, writing, and entrepreneurship. I would dedicate all of my time to writing and learning, and then I'd make some money. But after about six months without a salary and no income in sight, I couldn't help but become more and more concerned. Then, it hit me. I had to continue to be open to new things. Keep working, keep showing up for my dream, but first and foremost, I had to be open. I found a product that I LOVE, and a way to help others with similar hair concerns, plus I could make money doing it! Win-win!
BUT I was so conflicted about taking on another something new (What would people say?! As if that's EVER healthy!) that for a while, I played tug-of-war with myself. But once I let go of the negativity of scolding myself for another choice that may or may not work, and what other people's opinion might be, I just leaned into the opportunity. And boy, am I ever glad! A weekly paycheck helping people with the best thing I've found for haircare is a completely satisfying occupation that compliments EXACTLY what I want to be doing with my life! And it's all because of an opportunity seized.
(And if you're looking for an opportunity that may be right for you, I have a pretty awesome team I'm always looking to expand. We are there for each other. We believe in our product. And we are building more than a MONAT shampoo business. Want to talk about how you can join me? Let's start our conversation here.)
4. Assess your season of life.
Have you heard that old proverb that there is a season for everything? I am convinced that the season you're in has everything to do with what you're suited to do. Who made the rule that you have to retire from the same company you worked for in your twenties? I think it's awesome if you have the same passion for what you do now as you did before.
In fact, my grandpa worked in a paper mill for thirty-plus years and was one of the happiest, most creative men I ever knew. He didn't build a side company or publish his funny songs or writings ever. After his career, he farmed a small plot of land until he passed away, and loved every minute of it, thankful to have had a steady job and family after growing up through the Great Depression and serving in the Korean War. But seasons came and went even for him. I'm just saying that if we don't want to wait thirty years, we don't have to. My question to myself is always, "What can I do today that is best suited for my abilities?" That can change on the regular. And I think that's okay.
5. Study and copy the greats.
There are so many people from whom we can learn online with both free and paid programs. Google honestly gets you so far these days!
You can sucked into a vortex of information and not be able to keep your head above the waves if you're not intentional with it. Choose two or three people to follow closely, and LEARN. COPY. LEARN. COPY!
I'm a podcast junkie, so it's where I get a LOT of my information. On the subject of finding a way to successfully change careers and live a creative life, here are my top five, in no particular order. Maybe one or more of them will be well-suited for you!– Don't Keep Your Day Job with Cathy Heller– Rise Podcast with Rachel Hollis– Shine Strong Podcast with Leah LeRae– The Portfolio Life with Jeff Goins– The Goal Digger Podcast with Jenna Kutcher
I only follow two of these people very closely–as in, I buy their courses, go to their conferences, read and listen to most of what they create, etc. Their work has resonated so much with me, and though I can't keep up with ALL that they do, I can copy their concepts as much as fits me and my work. Jeff Goins, whose book I mentioned earlier and Cathy Heller are the two I'm currently shadowing, in case you're wondering. In fact, Cathy Heller's podcast has helped me SO much that I preordered her book, and am starting a book/listening club this month. If you are interested in joining me (in a private Facebook group) you can preorder the book, Don't Keep Your Day Job and fill out this form. We'll be starting by listening to and discussing a few highlight episodes, and once the book comes out in the fall, we'll take it one chapter at a time. I'd love to see you in our group! Trust me, it can be LIFE-CHANGING!!
6. Be honest with yourself.
Have you been told that it's crazy to talk to yourself? I have. But I actually think it's crazy not to. I mean, the story we tell ourselves is the one we believe most, right? So why not answer our own questions honestly?
What are you dreaming of doing? What's one thing you can now do to make that dream a reality? What can you do today that's the best work you have the opportunity to do at this moment?
(Even if it's within the job you are sick of. Knowing that I wanted to resign six months before I did, it was necessary for me to create the best experience I could as I transitioned out. And that motivated me daily.) So whether you're trying to figure out how you can fall in love with your job again, or how you can find the occupation well suited for your season of life, the best advice I can offer anyone is this.
Be brave. Be yourself. And try something new.
*** This is the first in a series of blog post/Facebook Live videos where I'm answering your questions and tackling subjects you've asked me about. If you haven't followed along on Facebook yet, you can do so here. Be sure to "like" this page to follow along, and leave a comment whether you catch a video live or on replay, so I can say hello to you and personally respond to your comments and questions! Thanks for joining me on this journey, friends. I'm amazed at what we can accomplish together! ***