I believe that behind each person who is satisfied with their employment, lies a person who flirts with the possibility of stepping out and creating something different.
The issue is how to detach from the routine, structure, paycheque and the big leap into the unknown. The secret sauce is to use your mindset to awaken a desire and explore what lies on the other side of the employment fence.
I coached a client a while back that proved this point so clearly that it made sense to illustrate in this article. I believe it’s imperative to illustrate not merely as a theoretical case, but as a real, living and breathing example.
My client’s name was Tina (not her real name), she was creative, smart, tenacious, ambitious and worked as an Accounts Manager at a Marketing Company in the City.
One issue that continued to plague her daily grind, was her need to cling tightly to her employment as an Accounts manager — A role she absolutely loathed. She had instead been preparing to unleash her talents across the globe for quite some time.
In fact, a very long time.
This also came with the added issue that she lacked confidence and was plagued with anxiety at the very thought of leaving the ‘security’ of employment and ultimately the £2,000 monthly paycheque that came with it.
She described herself as ‘stuck’ when she awakened each morning, dreading the day ahead and the myriad of work stacked up waiting for her. There was not an end in sight to the endless jobs she had to do for her boss who never so much as whispered a thank you.
So why did Tina put herself through this endless misery?
Tina viewed her job (or rather the money she received) as this thing called ‘security’, which on the one hand gave her life stability, yet on the other hand, her attachment to it was making her miserable.
More importantly, Tina was an artist who on the side had been building up a portfolio over the years.
She wanted to showcase the beautiful portraits she had so carefully crafted and created in the basement of her flat. Long hours after work, nurturing her talent which she was desperate to reveal. She imagined herself creating a business, perhaps even owning an art gallery someday.
The gulf between being an employee and becoming a business owner was so huge that it felt impossible to achieve.
So what made Tina ditch her job?
She engaged support to give her clarity on what was keeping her in this dead-end endeavour of a job. She realised the pay was not conducive to being able to save for her future; the hours were long, uninterrupted, and by the time she got home, her mood was so low, that her creative buzz was often sapped.
She also felt overwhelmed at the undertaking, she realised that her mindset was a key factor in making the shift, and she began to make changes.
Shifting from Passive to Active
The passive (victim) mindset can be absolutely paralysing, and the first thing to do is to unhook from this mindset. Tina focused on her language and began to change the phrase ‘I have to’ (victim) and replaced it with ‘I choose to’ (ownership). She was essentially choosing to stay in her job, but in contrast, she could also choose to leave.
Shifting from victim to owner is key when wanting to make a change and this was crucial when attempting to get in touch with what she wanted. Tina began to get clarity about who she was and where she wanted to head to, and it certainly wasn’t towards the Accounts Department she worked at.
Shifting from Paralysis to Action
As a way of getting past her fear of change and uncertainty, Tina dipped her toe in the water and began attending art exhibitions in the evenings after work, and joined networking events with people who were doing exactly what she wanted to do. She began stepping into the climate of change and possibility and in this environment felt inspired as she saw others doing the same.
Shifting from Hopelessness to Possibility
During the weekend, Tina created a Facebook page showcasing her artwork and by sharing this with friends and contacts, she could really see how much interest she was awakening. In return, this began to build her confidence and she slowly generated and built a following. To her surprise, she even sold a small number of her portraits.
Shifting from Helplessness to Support
She asked an old friend from University to prepare a budget sheet for a 6-month time frame so that she could establish if she had enough money to cover her costs up to this point. She reluctantly involved her father, who agreed to support her in her new endeavour beyond those 6 months if need be.
She also contacted a gallery owner she had met at a networking event and asked if she could work part-time at his gallery. This would benefit her twofold, a part-time salary and good solid contacts and experience in the art world.
Having begun to take action whilst still in her job, her comfort zone began to expand and she became more familiar with this thing called ‘the unknown’. She felt a tingle of excitement, she had prepared for the showdown and finally felt ready to quit her job. This didn’t feel like jumping out of an aeroplane without a parachute as she had meticulously planned the exit strategy.
Her mindset had been shifting, and so had her life.
In complete contrast to Tina, often my clients come to coaching with a dead-end statement when asked why they have not transitioned into the area they want.
‘But I don’t know how to…’
Yet none of us knew zilch when we first started moving towards the direction we were heading towards. And if it’s true that you really ‘don’t know’ then it’s pretty easy to ask Google or Youtube to show you. That solution is pretty easily fixed.
Making any change is far deeper than this, as knowing more information does not necessarily translate into transformation. The question you need to ask is;
‘Do I want to make a change; and am I willing to do whatever it takes to get there?’
The moment of quitting any aspect of life which is not conducive to our growth, whether it’s a job, smoking, alcohol, gambling or relationships, requires that we make a choice and then accompany this with small actions, tweaks and changes. Nothing monumental.
Change of any type shouldn’t be forced, it is about travelling in the direction you want to go with openness and embracing the atmosphere of possibility. It is within this, that we can graciously quit what no longer works and step into the life that is awaiting us.