We have all been there. It’s 6am and the alarm is sounding next to you in bed. You feel as if you haven’t slept at all. It’s probably due to the meeting that you have coming up that day. You know that there is nothing more that you could have done to prepare and what you are going to present is good. But you also know that you will face the same old challenges to get what you are certain is a great strategy across the line. The same fears of your colleagues will manifest themselves in frustration aimed at you for daring to suggest a slightly different approach. But that’s okay. You convince yourself that by bringing a positive mental attitude to work everyday and by putting in unreasonably high levels of effort that you will succeed. But right now even the shower feels like a marathon away.
How many of us go through these types of struggles regularly? It might not be the work that you are doing, but rather the lack of control that you feel in your role. It might be that you feel stifled and under appreciated. It might be that you feel overlooked, irrespective of how hard you work or the results that you deliver. Ultimately, it might be that you are just not cut out to be working for someone else. It could be that you are a visionary in your own field. It could be that you are an entrepreneur at heart.
We all hear people everyday complaining about their jobs or their boss or a particular situation. But so often when you talk to them about their options and float the idea of going out on their own or even trying something new their response is almost venomous! “I couldn’t do that” they say, “I’m far too old” or “do you know how long I’ve been doing this for?” As if somehow doing something for a certain period of time means that you can’t even think of trying something new. What they are really saying is “I’m scared and I don’t want to give up my steady paycheque”. We all fall into the trap of thinking that working for someone else is the safe option. Receiving a steady paycheque each week lulls them into a false sense of security. So much so that they completely forget that with the simple swipe of a pen their safe secure “forever” job could be gone.
It is this fear that had me locked into a job working for someone else for too long. I really loved my work and the people that I worked with. I worked hard everyday to produce good outcomes and I was lucky enough to be recognised for this and promoted through the company. But somehow it just didn’t feel right. Everyday that I went to work I felt like I was stepping further and further away from my true purpose. The problem was that I had no idea of what that true purpose was. I had developed myself as a leader and spent my time dealing with people issues and trying to help my staff perform to their maximum capabilities, but I didn’t have any salable skills. I definitely didn’t have a trade that I could sell. I felt trapped and frustrated, but more than anything I was terrified that one day I would wake up, I would be 65 and would be retiring from a life of working for someone else.
I got to work one day feeling the same old frustrations and I suddenly knew that I had to get out. We had a young child at the time, just 6 months old and I was terrified that I would not be able to support my family once the small amount of savings that we had ran dry. But I also knew that if I didn’t act that I would never become the person that I knew that I could be. I would never be the husband and father that I knew that I could be. More than anything I knew that I would become increasingly resentful throughout my life. I read something that said, “You either go after your own dreams, or you work to help other people achieve theirs”. That was it I thought, I’m gone. I gave a months notice, thanked my boss for a wonderful career, thanked my staff for their support and I left.
IT WAS TERRIFYING!!!! But I had done it. I had left a well paying high profile job to do…… what I suddenly wondered. I had been so focused on going out on my own that I had overlooked the fact that I had nothing to sell! You haven’t truly known fear until you realise that you don’t know what you are going to do when you wake up tomorrow. It’s not like a holiday feeling of, oh what should we do today. It’s more like #&$*#^%*@^ what am I going to do to put food on the table for my family today! It was petrifying, but it was awesome! Even though I had no idea what I was going to do, I felt liberated. I felt empowered to go after my dreams. This was my shot! I was now officially one of the people that had chucked it all in to go after their dream!!
We had about six months worth of savings, so that was my timeframe. At the end of that, I was either going to be making it, or I was going to be selling the house and grovelling back to someone else looking for another job. Screw that – I was going to make it! I began reading books about going after your dreams. I read books like The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey and The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone. I began to realise that I had to pack my fear away and go after life. I love commerce, I was good at strategy, I just needed something to sell. I looked around for different options to train in. I knew that it had to be something fully scalable. Something that I could build quickly and grow to a reasonable size before I would have to think about hiring staff (which I couldn’t afford to do). I looked around and settled on Digital Marketing. I sought out the best training that I could and I got to work! I rolled up my sleeves and I worked my butt off! And slowly, very slowly I retrained myself in a new field, in something that I never imagined I would be working in! But we did it. My wife and I settled into our new normal and we started working on our business.
We are only part way through this journey at the moment. But we are getting there. We are 5 months in to our six month timeframe and for the first time this month we have made just enough to cover off our monthly expenses. I have never felt so close to financial freedom in my life. My income was not linked to someone else. Producing an income was on our shoulders alone. If we worked hard enough, we would generate income, if we didn’t we wouldn’t. While we have never had less disposable income, we have genuinely never felt richer!
It’s amazing, that as we have walked this adventure, so we have met other people along the way doing the same thing. Like our close friend that was working for a large multinational company as a tradesman. He enjoyed what he did, but hated not being in control of his time. So he quit and started his own business! In fact he moved to a new country to be closer to family and set up his business there. He is also just in the early stages, but he has never been happier. He listened to himself and realised, that he just wasn’t cut out to work for someone else.
This journey has not and will not be easy. We are blessed to have our second child on the way and of course this adds pressure to the situation. But more than anything the pressure now feels invigorating. It is our pressure, it is not pressure that is being placed on us by someone else. We are in control of our lives and we choose how we want to spend our time. People talk about life being too short, I believe that is only the case if you let it be short. If you don’t go after what you want and strive to achieve what you know deeply that you can, your life will flyby in whirlwind of meetings and stress. Take control and fill your life to the brim with going after your dreams with everything that you have and I guarantee you that you will have a long, invigorating, adventure filled life!
Choose life – Retrain – Start a Business – Live