Do you find yourself dreaming of doing something different or being your own boss or starting up a side gig?
When we get caught up in this sort of dream, what we are searching for is more creativity or the chance to focus on something that we often think about but have never taken any further. When clients come to me driven by these dreams, I take them through a process of exploration. This helps us to understand what’s driving their desire.
It’s only once we have a clear understanding of what’s truly motivating this, that we get down to the nitty-gritty. And this is where the rubber hits the road, so to speak. Here’s the thing, dreaming and wishing is wonderful but if you truly want something to happen then it's up to you to make it happen. Nobody is going to come along and do it for you.
Some of the most frequent reasons for not jumping in and getting things moving are: “I would work on this but... I don't have time. I have too many demands already... my job takes most of my time and then I have family obligations.”
Or “I don't have the money and I can't take the risk of not having a steady income.”
Or even “I’m afraid. It might not work. I might fail and I could lose everything I have achieved or I would look pretty silly.”
So how do you get past this?
1. Make the commitment
This is a vital first step. No matter what. You have decided that this is going to happen. It's important. In fact, it's so important that you are going to do whatever it takes to change your focus and to make this dream a reality.
Here’s what I can guarantee; amazing things can happen when we want them to. If this is not happening for you then ask yourself 'is this what I truly want?'. Take some time to think about those things you have already done ... things that were an enormous challenge yet when it came down to it... the whole process seemed like it was easy. Ask yourself... 'was this because I truly wanted it?'
2. Know that this will mean you get uncomfortable.
Taking a step out from the comfortable life you have created for yourself will be a challenge. As you take on the challenge of learning to live your work life differently, many mindset barriers will pop up and you will be your biggest saboteur. These will show up as frightening obstacles which will require you to work around, work through or overcome.
Try asking yourself these four questions:
what would happen if I did it
what wouldn’t happen if I did it
what would happen if I didn’t do it
what wouldn’t happen if I didn’t do it.
The answers may be very interesting.
3. Manage the risk
The fear of failure and loss of all that you have invested in so far is a huge thing to overcome.
One of the best ways to do this is to create a pathway that helps you manage the transition from where you are now to where you want to be. This will help you with your mindset that its an all or nothing situation.
Start with the vision of where you want to be at some vague time in the future, then try working backwards from there. Think about the steps you will have needed to take in order to get you there. It may feel strange, but working backwards can help us overcome the negative self-talk that happens as we consider making this move. Going through this exercise will give you the steps you need to take.
Whilst you are doing this, try identifying what fears come up for you. Then consider the following:
What options do have in overcoming or managing these?
What's the worst thing that could happen?
If this does happen, what are the choices you have or what you would actually do if it did come up?
Taking this approach gives us the opportunity to practice beforehand so that when issues actually arise we already have a plan of attack (spoiler alert: many of our fears never do materialise).
If you're interested in learning a bit more about this process, I've written more about how to set goals here.
4. Carve out time
By now you will have prepared your mind for the job but before you start 'the doing' you need to organise your time. Try executing a 'where do I spend my time?' audit. This will be very revealing.
Think about it.
Where does your time actually go?
What is it about where you are spending your time that is good for you and/or your family, your friends, your relationship?
Where could you choose to spend your time differently?
How much time do you actually need initially? You may only need a couple of hours each week to do some imagining and thinking and planning.
Answering these questions might help galvanise you into action.
5. The big money question
It's interesting. When we truly consider what it would take to make this change, the financial part is the easiest to work through. That’s because you’ve done all of the hard work determining the what and how of your idea. You may even find that getting the side gig going is actually quite a small financial investment because you are treating as a hobby whilst you get things up and running.
The key here is that financial demands only need to be as big as you let them be. And it may be that your side gig stays as a side gig and that's all it needs to be. Just having something that you are fully responsible for in terms of creativity and design and decision making may be all that you need.
Over time, the financial investment may be more as you make decisions to step back from full-time employment and spend more time in your side gig. Eventually, you may even determine that this is going so well that you can make the transition to this fully.
When you start to get serious with your investments consider doing an audit on your lifestyle. Try having conversations with the people that matter in your life, to see what changes you could make to help side gig become more viable. You may discover that there are things you are spending money on which are keeping you trapped working in a job you hate.
And my final piece of advice? Remember that this is something you have chosen because you love it, or will enjoy it. If it starts to become the opposite then don't be afraid to change direction again and do something different. Life is too short to be stuck.