It’s January; it’s the new year. Everyone is thinking about their career. Some people are looking for a promotion and some people are just trying not to get fired.
But a lot of people are in jobs that they may not necessarily want to continue with and feel as though they are losing their own identity. The job itself is consuming them.
To talk about my story; I spent a lot of time building up a business, a sports marketing business — two in fact.
I spent the best part of my twenties building up these two businesses. The first business didn’t work out. We grew too quickly, we ran out of money and we had to close. Then I started all over again with the second business.
I took all the mistakes I made in the first business, learned from them, and then built up the second business.
For a period of about 3 years, everything that I did every single day was an attempt to make that business successful.
I felt that if the business was successful then I’d be successful. And, if I was successful, then I’d be happy.
But that didn’t turn out to be the case.
So, eventually with the second business, we got to a stage where we were in a very good financial position.
We had two employees, a decent turnover and profit. Everything was going very, very well.
But, despite all this, I was unhappy.
Now, I know what you’re thinking; you have a successful business and you’re unhappy — that’s a bit rich!
And for the most part, I would agree with you. But, I felt very low. I felt very reluctant to even go to work and I felt completely lost. This was what I thought I wanted and I didn’t want it anymore. I didn’t want to do it anymore.
And in many ways, I felt that I’d created a golden cage around myself. I felt as though I had lost my freedom.
It was then when I realised one thing that would change my life forever — it’s better to FAIL at something you’re passionate about than to SUCCEED at something that you aren’t passionate about.
You see, being the director of a sports marketing company, it just wasn’t me. I wasn’t Mr Sports Marketing.
I thought that I could make it myself or that the money would make up for it.
But itwasn’t possible. It just wasn’t something that I was passionate enough about and it was consuming my own identity.
Ultimately, it is about WHO YOU ARE and understanding what the perfect life means for YOU.
So, what do you do if you’re in that job or business that’s consuming your identity?
Here are five steps that I took that can also help you:
1. Work Out Who You Truly Are And The Person That You Want To Be.
OK, this is a LOT easier said than done. There are various exercises that you can do to figure this one out.
It doesn’t have to take years but it does take a bit of work, effort and self-reflection.
Therapy I would very much recommend for this. Also life coaches can also be very useful as well. Knowing yourself is your secret weapon here — and your superpower.
Another great question I would recommend that you ask yourself is; what is the one thing that you love so much that even if you fail miserably at it, you’d still be happy?
Because if you are content with failing miserably at something — you can never really fail at it.
2. Make a Plan.
The most important thing to remember about a plan is that everything is always subject to change. Anyone that’s had experience with a business plan will know this.
The point of the plan really though is to get a rough sense of the direction that you want to go in and to set those red lines.
The red lines are extremely important as they will be the rules that you will set yourself once going through with the plan of action.
With red lines, it’s always best to keep them few, simple and easy to remember.
When I was building up my second business I set myself two red lines; that I wouldn’t get a second job and that I wouldn’t move back home to Bolton. No matter how tough things got (even through the pandemic) I stuck by those red lines.
Plan; a rough idea of direction. Red lines; rules to follow on the journey.
3. Set a Date.
Once you know what you want to be/ do, then you’ve got to make a plan of how
Once you’ve made that plan you’ve got to set a date. The date of when you’re going to leave, when you’re going to start that new business or whatever it may be.
Because without that date you’re giving yourself permission to procrastinate.
A date makes it concrete. A date makes it real.
How long is it going to take for you to ‘escape’? It could take a week, it could take a month, it could take you a year, but you’ve got to set that date.
4. Build a Financial Base.
Once you’ve got a plan and a date, then you’ve got to get some cash together.
You’ve got to build a financial base. Now, it’s not easy to do this. It might take quite a bit of time to build up some kind of financial buffer.
It depends how much you need and how much you’re willing to sacrifice in the meantime.
If you want an entirely new career, then you may have to be prepared to be unemployed for a few months.
If you’re starting a new business, then you may need six months worth of cash.
How do you make this extra cash? The simple answer is sacrifice.
Sacrifice your time — get a side hustle or second job. Sacrifice your lifestyle — stop going out every weekend or spending money on things that don’t contribute to your plan.
Sacrifice — be strict with yourself. Make that sacrifice and keep putting money away.
Put it on the side, save the money and it can all be financial backing for your dream, whatever it might be.
5. Take Action.
Taking action is the real one, right? No balls, no babies as they say. Pure and simply, you’ve got to go for it.
It’s not a rehearsal. You’ve gotta go out there and get it.
A thing to always remember is that regret is WORSE than humiliation.
Don’t worry about falling on your ass because it’s going to happen. But you’ve gotta fail forward, keep going and stay motivated.
And, most importantly, whatever you do and whoever you become, HAVE FUN. You only live once.