Working a job that doesn’t fulfill you has to be one of the most frustrating and deflating experiences you can face in modern-day life.
It can be an unassuming issue at first, one you might like to ignore or just “get on with.” Don’t let it fool you, though. On average, you will spend up to 90,000 hours at work over your lifetime. That’s a heck of a lot of time. So it’s a no-brainer that you need to spend this time doing something you enjoy doing. A lot.
Being unhappy in your job is a slow but powerful drain on your energy levels, emotional stability, happiness, and health. Day after day, early morning to late night, you can become numb to the monotony and humdrum routine of a job that doesn’t fulfill you. And sometimes, it takes a major crisis or illness for you to wake up to it.
Up until only a few months ago, I was a successful but unhappy corporate lawyer, having studied, trained, and worked in law for over eight years. And although I didn’t hate the job, it certainly didn’t bring me anywhere near enough joy! I knew that to be true as I had the real-life comparison of my inspiring husband who skipped in happily from work as a real estate agent every day, even on a Saturday!
Feeling like I had something to prove to society and to myself, and grateful to be in a well-paid job, I stuck it out, perhaps for a bit longer than I should have.
It wasn’t until I faced stress-related health issues that I opened my eyes (and my mind) to the reality of other career paths. Although it’s a bit of a cliché, after watching the motivational Netflix documentary “I am NOT your guru” by Tony Robbins, I dove head first into self-help books, life coaching, and new routines that really began to shift my way of thinking.
Robbins’s saying “Success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure” felt like a serious call to action for me. I was successful but unfulfilled, yet unprepared to settle at age 28.
With a more open mind and the determination to find genuine happiness, I began to realize there must be another viable option out there for me, I just had to find it.
Follow your dreams!
Pursue your passion!
Do what makes you happy!
These well-known mantras are often banded around and they can be quite frustrating to hear when you’re a practical person really in the thick of it. If you haven’t found your true passion or you’ve found it but you’re unsure of how it can make you a living, it can be hard to know what to do next.
From very real personal experience, involving lots of trial and error, I have pulled together these 5 steps to help you quit your day job and create a life you love.
Why should you settle for anything less?
You really don’t have to and the good news is that it might be easier than you think.
1. Start A Side Hustle
By having an active hobby or side hustle, you are automatically opening more doors for yourself, often without even realizing it.
For the last 5 years, I have blogged, in some shape or form, simply as a creative outlet to encourage myself to travel, explore and create more. It was free to start, I could blog from anywhere about anything and it was fun. Little did I know its importance in allowing me to quit my day job.
By creating something outside of your job, you are expanding your horizons which in turn, opens up your options for new careers in the future.
This shouldn’t be confused with starting your own business (of course, if you’re already there that’s great!). Exploring a new side hustle can often start off seeming very unprofitable or non-business-like. Go with it anyway. The point is to start opening your mind to what interests you and to continue doing it for that reason alone. This will help you uncover your true passions.
If you find yourself doing something for free, on your weekends, or late at night for no financial reward, purely for the love of it, you’re onto something worth exploring. Stick with it, be patient, and see where it takes you.
When you put your heart into an interest that lights you up, you will work harder and more successfully, and your community will start to notice. This can be the start of something really exciting. Trust me.
2. Save, Save, And Save Some More
Obviously, it’s always great to have savings, but once you realize you’re not happy in your current job, saving suddenly becomes more important than ever.
Money can be a scary, controlling, and restrictive influence on your ability to pursue a new life. “Take money out of the equation and what would you do?” was something my husband would ask me and I used to find it really frustrating. I often felt that it overly idealistic and unreasonable to think this way.
I was wrong.
The saying, “Do something you love and the money will follow,” really does ring true. But the issue is that it can take a long time for that money to arrive, so you have to be prepared financially.
While you still have money regularly coming in, focus on living far within your means. Record all expenses for one month and establish your essential living expenses. This helps weed out any unnecessary spending and allows you to allocate a certain amount of money to set aside each and every month as savings. Try and aim for at least 10% of your salary. Why not make it as easy as possible and set up a new bank account to receive an automatic transfer every month?
3. Be Prepared To Re-Educate Yourself
When transitioning out of a legal world and into entrepreneurship, I quickly realized I needed to shift from my stringent, formulaic way of thinking to a more flexible, creative and open-minded approach to business. To do this, I began to re-educate myself by absorbing new content, new ways of thinking, and new approaches every day.
As cheesy as it may sound, you really need to open your mind to new ways of thinking and doing.
Read, watch, and digest everything you can.
Sign up for short courses, join online seminars, listen to podcasts, read inspiring books and magazines, and subscribe to newsletters from those who are already successful in your dream industry.
It never hurts to learn a new skill. When you start your own business, you’ll need to become a jack of all trades quickly – at least until you have the funds or resources to outsource certain roles. And when you do get to that point, you’ll have a great foundation of experience to secure better products at more competitive rates.
Here are my top three resources to get you started:
4. Be Brave, Even When You Don’t Think You Are
Since quitting my job and starting my own business, I have been really overwhelmed and humbled to have those around me call me brave. But in all honesty, I haven’t really felt it.
Bravery seems reserved to those who risk their lives to do their job or who get their kicks from jumping out of an airplane; not those who simply change careers.
But I’ve since realized that having the persistence and guts to pursue something new and unknown is extremely brave. As adults, we don’t often go beyond our comfort zone, opting to stick with what we know and what we’re good at. However, in order to really grow and achieve something truly great, pushing our personal boundaries is a necessity, not an option.
You’ll feel scared, self-conscious, full of doubt, panic, and fear but don’t let that consume you.
Be brave enough to listen to your instinct; it already knows what to do.
5. Surround Yourself With Positive People
Even with the best plan, all of the savings and the bravest of attitudes, starting a new chapter in your life will be a challenge.
To survive on your own, you’ll need to have a strong network of positive people who believe in you, for the times that you won’t believe in yourself.
I am so grateful to have been blessed with the most compassionate husband and loving family, but that doesn’t automatically equate total support in all that you do.
Be prepared that those around you might not “get it”. Communicate what you need, be it a listening ear, someone to keep you accountable, or even just a healthy dinner dropped off once a week. Don’t be shy to ask for help whilst you navigate new waters.
In contrast, you may need to make a conscious decision to seek space from those around you who could be considered “worriers” or “stress-heads” to ensure you persevere when it would be much easier to give up and stick with the life you know.
Don’t underestimate the impact of negative people; it can be really detrimental when you’re about to embark into the unknown.
You are the average of those around you. Surround yourself with people who lift you up, inspire you, motivate you, and love you enough to keep you on track, as long as it takes.
Remember, there is no magic fix and sometimes the most important ingredient is time.