Look at the big picture of your life
This can be hard to do. The daily pressures of a thankless job, a demanding commute, and mounting bills all lead to stress. Worst of all is the nagging feeling that your life is out of your control, and slowly slipping away.
I don’t have time to change
This is the typical sound-byte. While it’s normal, this is just an excuse, and you know it. Most people don’t fear change, but how the change might upset their dull and comfortable lives.
Are you feeling alive about your work?
Do you go to bed with excitement and anticipation about your work the next day? Do you have trouble sleeping because you can’t wait to get up in the morning? Do you pinch yourself because you can’t believe you’ve figured out a way to actually do what you love AND make the income you need?
This is possible for you.
You need a plan. It starts with what you want. Most of us start with what we don’t want, and that is exactly what we end up with. Let’s say you have one of those corporate jobs. You’re making good money, and your in-laws are proud of you.
But each day, it’s getting harder and harder to go to work. Work pressures are rising; you constantly work under the fear that you are not living up to THEIR expectations
It’s time to become a free agent
Whether you intend to work for yourself or someone else, the steps are the same. What are the services and/or products you could sell to someone else, and that you most want to deliver or create. This is a helpful exercise even if you plan to work for someone else.
For each service or product, write down the features.
For example, if you want to deliver customer service training, one feature might be interactive or customer-driven education.
What are the benefits?
The next step is to identify—next to each feature—how someone would benefit from your product or service. For example, the benefit of customer driven classroom education might be that it is real-time and instructor-lead, resulting in fast-paced, hands-on learning.
Who would be your ideal niche audience?
This is the most important question. Who specifically do you want to serve as your customer? Are they middle-aged men, college students, executives?
Normally we take jobs, and then we have to live with the culture we walk into. There is a better model. First YOU decide the type of customer YOU most want to serve.
For example, if you really want to serve college students, going to work for the social security administration might not be the best choice!
You create your work
This is the mental shift you must make. You design exactly what would be just perfect for you. Consider all the services or products you could offer to others.
You deserve it
Now, over 40 and having worked 15-20 years, this is your time to FINALLY design your life the way you want it.
What about the money?
A complicated subject, and unique to each person. Think about how much you need vs. how much you want. There is a difference. How can you lighten your backpack of life now? Can your spouse work? Can you find a spouse who would work?
Can your family help you plan some cutbacks in the short term?
Can you cash in your retirement fund, since you won’t need it? After all, the only people who retire are those who don’t love what they do.
Can you live on less material happiness, and more internal bliss?
What about my responsibilities?
We all have responsibilities. Whether you are single and alone, or married with three kids, if you are over 40, you know this is the time to be selfish. You gather the team together, and ask for their support. You don’t intend to stop being responsible; you just need, at this time of your life, to be more creative in how you earn the money so that you can be happier and more fulfilled in your life. You just need a better way to make YOUR life WORK for you.
The choice is always up to you
You can ignore this advice, and continue to waste your time and energy on useless work while your life moves on.
Or instead, you can decide right now: enough is enough. You can realize that the only thing holding you back is YOU. You can decide and take action to change to work you are passionate about, and that better aligns your natural abilities and interests.
Be a role model
The best role model you can provide for your kids, or those you love, is to do the work you are passionate about.
This is the authentic life. It will be a lonely pursuit at first (well, I’ll be cheering for you), but soon you will wonder why you waited so long to change in the first place.
Stressed about your job?
No need—you have bigger plans now to WORK on.
As always, I’ll be cheering you on as you go- Craig Nathanson