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These days you might not have to “quit your job” as there’s a good chance you might be laid off, fired or asked to take extended periods of furlough (leave WITHOUT pay). However, if you’re in a job that you hate, despise, resent, or simply one that you are only there to pick up a paycheck, then what you need is a good “exit strategy.”
I exited the corporate world in 2000 when I was given the pink slip at a law firm I worked at. They told me they were “restructuring the department” I was in and that was it. At that time (2000) I had been in the legal field 17 years, was absolutely miserable, and was there because I had 3 young children to support being a single mom and didn’t feel I had many other options. I was there simply to pick up a paycheck as my heart was not in that job. The biggest obstacle I had was that I didn’t know what else I wanted to do.
I do believe that if we are working in a job that does not involve us using our God-given gifts, then the Universe will create a situation to help us get back to our true path. Your true path is where you take your gifts and you share them with the world.
You have a special gift? Yes, you…
That is the absolute truth. In fact, you may have several gifts. The question is – are you using your gifts and sharing them with the world or are you hiding them?
I don’t know what your specific gifts are, but you do. Chances are good, however, that if you’re reading this, you’ve either lost sight of your gifts, buried your gifts, minimized your gifts or traded in your gifts for the safety, security and protection of a job you perhaps despise and a paycheck that comes at a high price.
So here’s the dilemma: The security of a job you hate vs. the unknown of living your true path and sharing your gifts with the world. It’s a tough one and I struggle with this constantly. All “solopreneurs” struggle with security vs. happiness. So if that’s your struggle too, know that you are not alone. Sometimes our sense of security is tied to a “predictable tomorrow”, but let me ask you this: Are you feeding your fears or feeding your joy?
If you feel stuck in your job and know that your not living your truth in that job, here are 5 tips on creating an exit strategy to leave that job:
- Know what it is you really want to be doing – Discover your gifts, your higher purpose and how you can contribute those things to the world. Many people get stuck on this one. This was my obstacle too, once I left the legal field; it took me years to figure this out. Looking back now, however, I can give you a few questions to ask yourself that will help uncover the answer: What is it that you LOVE to do where you lose all sense of time? For me, the answer was “writing”. I loved to write! When I wrote, 5 hours seemed like 5 minutes. Your answer is a clue into your gift. Also, what would you do for “free” if no one was paying you? Once you know the answer to this question, then you just have to figure out how to get paid for it. Years ago, I took 2 passions I had and figured out how to get paid for it. They were “writing” and “sitting at the beach”. Okay, so you probably want to know how to get paid to sit at the beach? Well, I created a seminar called “Ocean Writing” where participants escaped from their lives and sat at the beach with me and with our “Ocean Writing Journals”. We did timed writing exercises in our journals that I had created and this helped participants get back in touch with their true selves. This class was a huge success! So think outside the box and get clarity about what you want to do BEFORE you “quit your job”!
- Be Willing to Fall Flat on Your Face – Tom Watson, an American Golfer, once said: “If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.” Yet most of us play the avoidance game and we avoid failing. What if I told you failing is the secret to every successful person. That’s right…they’ve failed hundreds, if not thousands of times! They learned what doesn’t work. You have to put your ego to the side and take risks because if you’re not willing to do that, then you might as well stay in your safe and semi-secure job and pick up a paycheck till the day you die. Sorry to be so harsh, but it’s true. Failure is a BIG part of success.
- Learn How to Have Fun and Get Paid For It – Yes, I’m talking about “Getting Paid to Play”! I know this is contrary to what we’ve been taught, however, right now there is a growing tribe around the world of people who are no longer willing to pick up a paycheck just to pay the rent and instead, they want their lives to be more meaningful and larger. This tribe wants freedom, challenges, variety, out of the box experiences, and most importantly fun! It truly is a revolution! Many years ago when my parents were young, starting a business was risky and involved a lot of upfront costs. Now, however, because of the internet and technology, the old boundaries are being lifted and we can literally create anything we can think of! For example, Amanda Hocking who is a young writer (26 years old) and was trying to get her paranormal fiction writing published the traditional way; after receiving numerous rejections from all the big publishing houses, Amanda decided to sell her writing as ebooks on Amazon’s Kindle. Within one year Amanda had sold 1 million copies of her ebooks which sold between $2.99 to $3.99 per copy. After she had 1 million in sales on her own, then she attracted all the big publishing houses that formerly rejected her. Right now she has a $2,000,000 offer from a traditional publisher (St. Martin’s Press) to publish four new novels. Amanda Hocking said in an interview: “As for the timing, I was waiting for a point where I had enough of a name for myself that I could get leverage to do the kind of deal I wanted. What I mean by that is that I wanted to be “big enough,” I guess, that a publishing house would pull out all the stops and give my book all the promotion, packaging, and editing that writers dream of books getting.” So Amanda Hocking “failed” many times before she became a success and she is sharing her gifts with the world and is now getting paid to “play”. Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin, once said: “I never went into business to make money, but I have found that, if I have fun, the money will come.”
- Give up the House to Get the Mansion – Yes, sometimes you have to give up the house in order to get the mansion and by that I mean “cutting and minimizing your expenses” so that you have the privilege and freedom to do what you love “until” the money comes in. Unfortunately, when it comes to doing what you love, following your dreams, and creating a life you love, the money does come, but usually not fast enough. So, the way around that is to give up some of your luxuries NOW and trade that in for freedom. Tama J. Kieves, a Harvard Lawyer with a 6-figure salary, left her well-paying corporate job and became a waitress at a local coffee shop to follow her dreams of writing. For Tama, no salary paid enough to leave her truth behind…so she “left it all to have it all.” Goethe once said, “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” Are the trappings of success preventing you from following your heart, your bliss and as Tama says, “…your vocational nirvana?” If the answer is yes then it’s time to downsize, simplify, and trade in what tires you for what inspires you! If you need some inspiration, I suggest you get a copy of Tama Kieves’ book: “This Time I Dance! Trusting the Journey of Creating the Work You Love“. I read this book all the time when my faith starts wavering.
- Create a Business Around Your Passion (part-time) – I teach an online course called “How to Quit Your Job and Follow Your Dreams” and one of the lessons in that course is to “wean” yourself off of your job. Just like a baby is weaned off of the baby bottle or the mother’s breast, you have to “wean” yourself off of your job. Jobs are addicting. In fact, the longer you’ve been trading dollars for hours the more addicted you probably are. What happens over the years is you’ve learned “obedience”: you show up for work, follow instructions and fit in by not making any waves. Creating a business around your passion means you don’t have a boss and no one is going to tell you what to do. It’s scary at first and that’s why I have a Life Coach, because left to my own devices, my fears would take over and I’d go back to allowing my fears to control my actions. So for 8 years I worked in an outside sales job, making 6-figures, and working 20-25 hours a week. This allowed me the “freedom” to work at my passion (my online business of writing, teaching eCourse, ghostwriting, designing websites, etc) part-time and to build that business. Now I work at this business full-time; I finally let go of the outside sales job and went solo! And you can too if you have a little faith in yourself, your talents and are willing to make some sacrifices now to create your dream life.
If you’d like to get a sample chapter from my newest ebook: “Never Work Again: 6 Secrets to Getting Paid to Play and Creating Work You Love“, then click here!
I’ll leave you with these words of wisdom from the late Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computers:
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”