10 Steps to Escaping the Job World and Creating the Life You Really Want
As I'm sure you know, there's no one "right" way to make the transition to a freelance career but there are certainly steps you can follow to make that transition as easy as possible.
Like those who have gone before you, I think you'll see that once you get the ball rolling, it's hard to stop. I hope you find the below 10 steps useful when taking your first steps …
GET THE POINT – OF LIFE, THAT IS. As you look back on your life in old age, do you think you'll wish you'd done less or done more? As suggested in several Early to Rise messages, sometimes it helps to picture yourself at your own funeral. How would you want to be remembered? What would you want others to say about you when they think back on the life you once lived?
The point is, life is too short to spend toiling away at a job that pays the bills but fails to feed the spirit. You have every right to pursue your dream job. Whether that be copywriting, travel writing, or simply working from home so you can spend more time with your family, ultimately it is up to you – and you alone – to create the kind of life you really want.
GET THE RIGHT PICTURE. Set aside all the career stuff for a moment and, instead, ask yourself what you want your LIFE to look like. Find a comfortable spot, close your eyes, and image the ideal day. While others get up at 6:00 in the morning and face teeth-grinding traffic jams, how do you picture your day?
Maybe you start with a warm cup of coffee in your favorite mug, three blueberry pancakes buttered and covered in real maple syrup, and a side of thick, juicy ham. You look out your window at the swaying palm trees right next to the dock where you keep the boat that your neighbor swears is "just too big for her taste"? Then, around 11:00, you sit down to write so you can finish by the time you have to pick up your parents at the airport. You don't want to get stuck in the traffic others have to face everyday on their way home from work.
Bottom line: You won't see yourself doing it until you can see yourself doing it.
GET IN TOUCH WITH YOUR PASSION. Focus less on your skills (what you CAN do) or your resume (what you HAVE done) and, instead, try to tune into what it is you really LOVE and WANT to do. What kind of work or lifestyle do you envy? If you want more job freedom and control – or if you just want to spend more time with your family and have less stress – you're on the right track by starting one of the AWAI programs. You already have the right tools to get you going. It's up to you to make it happen. Stay focused.
GET A GRIP. In her book "Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway," Susan Jeffers says IT is what scares you – and, ultimately, what's holding you back from going after your dream. Let's face it, shaking up your life is scary. Yet, as Tom Peters says, "Unless you walk out into the unknown, the odds of making a profound difference in your life are pretty low." So go ahead and indulge in your worst-case fantasy.
Try picturing your entire family, all of your friends, your neighbors, everyone you went to high school with, even your boss standing outside your cardboard-box home holding up signs that read: We Told You So!
Pretty ridiculous, right? Once you realize your worst fear is ridiculous then you can get busy figuring out what steps you can take to prevent these fears from happening.
GET REAL. Launching your own business takes time and effort. For some, it could even mean a drop in income – at least in the beginning. Now is the time to revisit the ideal life you outlined above in Step 2 and ask yourself, "How much do I really want my ideal life? What am I willing to do or give up to get it?" If you are serious about living life on your own terms, the sacrifice will be worth it. Just be sure you complete the following two steps first.
GET INFORMED. Change always seems scarier when you have either inadequate or, worse, inaccurate information. Go to the library. Join associations. Talk to people who have started similar businesses. Study the materials AWAI sent you and check out the resources on their website. Read trade publications. The more informed you are, the less "risky" the risks become.
GET READY. There are lots of things you can start doing now to ready yourself for your new life. Take advantage of any and all training and educational opportunities available from AWAI, in your community, or through your current employer. (See Kammy's success tip, below, for one idea on how you can do this.) Spend less and save more. If your dream includes never having to wear another necktie or stuffy suit again, don't spend another dollar on that stuff.
GET SUPPORT. Actively seek out others who share your passion for living life on your own terms. Start meeting weekly with other aspiring entrepreneurs to generate ideas, share information, set goals, and help one another stay on track. A great place to start is the AWAI forum. Meet other students who may already have the answers to the questions you have. Find out what they're doing to get work and apply it to your own situation.
GET GOING. To keep from being overwhelmed – yet still continue to make headway – break your larger goal down into more manageable pieces. Then, no matter how hectic things get, pledge to take at least one action a day. Even the smallest actions – jotting down a new idea, reading a single page, or making one phone call – start to add up. And once you actually get the ball rolling, it's hard to stop!
GET GRATITUDE. At the same time you're setting your sights on achieving your future goal, be mindful of how much abundance you have in your life RIGHT NOW! Changing course is a journey. Count your blessings and enjoy the ride. When you think about it, it's all we really have.
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