How to take the plunge and quit for a better life

Fight the fears and make your dreams a reality

Imagine a life where holidays were guilt free and your phone was on flight mode.

I have worked with countless people from Venture Capitalists and Teachers to Accountants and Lawyers to help them quit their job that has all the safety of employment along with the treasures of a successful career. The bonuses, the cars, the travel, the pensions and pay rises. How do you pluck up the courage to quit something that you loved and that now leaves you cold inside and feeling unfulfilled for an unknown pathway that could be fraught with the hassle, stress, and a lack of all the things you’ve come to know and want in life?

I can appreciate that while you may be fed up of making money for someone else, or the pointless meetings and daily politics and over complicated structures that bog down creativity and results. It can be hard to go for it.

Here I share my top 7 tips to walking away from the known and trusted path down the road of passion and new opportunities (and leaving the fear and negativity behind!)

And I speak from years of experience with coaching clients wanting to change their path and my own reinvention when I did walk out of a good job purely because I had helped create a training programme for over 50 people and my boss never gave me any credit for what the two of us put together. On that day, over 20 years ago I decided never again would I stand in the shadow of another person. And no, I had no plan of action, just a firm belief that I would never be taking for granted in business ever again. Here I’m going to share (even for those lacking in confidence how to do that too!)

1. How do you know you are ready?

One of the reasons that people don’t pluck up the courage to go for it is because it doesn’t feel a big enough desire yet. Having chatted with friends and business associates as well as clients. I know that so many got to the stage where they could not tolerate what they were agreeing to missing out on any more. Therefor if you want to get out of where you are, really appreciate what you dislike about your current career and life choices. Angela Chouaib from Secret Surgery said “I was already the highest paid female in my industry when I quit. It wasn’t just about making myself rich and not the boss it was about the things that money cannot buy – freedom, time, turning my passion into a business and independence. So, ask yourself if I don’t take action, what am I agreeing to?

2. Find your passion and values

If you want to take the plunge you need to know what you stand for. Because as with all things in life it may not always be easy this new leap into the unknown. By appreciating and honouring the values that matter to you most in your life you will find that this can naturally create motivation and action to go for it. Clare Butler The Style Expert said “After being incredibly unhappy at work, my parents treated me to see a personal stylist to give me my confidence back, and it was astounding. I felt like I had been given permission to be me. I decided then and there that I wanted to make other women feel like that, so I gave up the company car and great pay and I’ve never looked back.” In my book “Fight the fear – how to beat your negative mindset and win in life” one of the first exercises I get the reader to do is carry out the values exercise using their subconscious mind. Using this knowledge, you are far more likely to achieve your goals and stay focused on what you want because you know you are working to the very core of what matters to you. So, what does matter to you?

3. Get on with it.

I completely appreciate the fears that can take over (and top tip 4 will help further with this.) however every great journey (as you probably know) starts with a step. Therefore, you need to start. If you find this scary, break it down. What could be the small steps to take you to your first goal?

4. Analyse your fears.

You may become aware of fears that are lurking in your mind, and possibly stopping you from sleeping at night. Take a good look at them. How do they manifest? Do they make you procrastinate? Worry? Drink too much? Become insular? By looking at your fears you can start to work out if you need a new way of thinking or a new way of acting. All fears come down to having the confidence to look them the eyes and bring them down to size and that will be about working out whether you need a new mindset or a new skillset. Which do you need to go for it?

5. Set goals. But let them flow!

Even freedom needs a little bit of structure. Whether you love to know what is coming next or can’t stand it, to feel confident and actually take the plunge you need to create a few goals. If you hate goals, then call them “actions” “thoughts” “Choices” “plans”. (Remember your choice of words even in your head can impact on your mindset and ultimately the actions and results you get. If you know you like the structure of deadline (or that you don’t get it done without them!) then imagine you have a boss and they’ve created a structure for you. What goals would that boss set? When would they want to see results by? If you are detailed person you may want to create a spreadsheet and even diary what will happen by when, on the other hand if you hate structure and just the thought makes you want to run over the hills far away then how can you create structure that feels right for you. For me and many clients that is a mind map and or a vision board. If you are going to be in charge of your destiny you have to be prepared to step up and know how you will stay motivated and inspired about your passions to make it a reality.

6. Have faith. 

I’ve worked with so many small businesses who have told me that they can’t quit the day job until their business has grown. This can so easily become a catch 22 vicious circle. You won’t grow your business until you dedicate your time to it, however if you fear it won’t succeed then you will be scared to shut the door on your past. (You know the one that leaves you feeling dead inside and praying for the weekend?) So, you need to create the space to achieve this. I know this is scary (I’ve helped enough people make the jump!) however if you don’t ask yourself “What am I agreeing to if I don’t go for it?” and revisit top tip 4 and analyse the fears. Bring them down to size and fight those fears. So often we have incorrect beliefs about the future. “We won’t be able to cope with demand” “It may go wrong” “We may make mistakes” a great tip for these incorrect beliefs is to reframe them and plan how you will ensure these things don’t happen. Intriguingly in all the time I’ve been coaching people around this no one ever seems to assume it is going to be awesome, instead always assuming the sky is going to fall in and they are going to penniless living in a cave off rain water. Imagine if you could cope with the demand, imagine if you get it right, imagine if you learn from your mistakes and achieve so much because of them. Remember chocolate chip cookies were invented by mistake! Small business can’t succeed until you create the space for it to do so.

7. Stop listening.

At this scary, exciting, challenging, life changing moment you have to learn who to listen to and who to stop listening to. So many clients have said to me “My partner just don’t get it” or “My friends don’t understand why I want to do this, they think I’m crazy!” When you hear these comments think about it from their view point for a moment. You are going to quite a job that works for you and your lifestyle, you are going to change tact and go in an unknown new direction and it looks like you are throwing your life and success away. Ultimately your friends and family only ever want the best for you. (Well the ones that really matter do!) and as such they don’t want to see you facing hardship, stress and unknown worry. It is not your job to allay their fears but to stay strong in the 6 other top tips so that the proof will be in the pudding. And if they become negative voices in your head. Chuck those thoughts out, they are going to do nothing for your positive mindset, which will be essential for success!

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