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There comes a point everyday where you remind yourself of doing things on your own terms but you could never figure out how to truly begin. The safety, comfort, and stability that your current situation gives makes it hard because you want to be certain on how things will turn out when you do decide to take that leap. The self-help world is filled with “follow your dreams” and “live in the moment” quotes but it can be perplexing to put the pieces together on how to quit. You have bills to pay or you have a kid on the way. As always, the news is blasting on how bad the economy is. It’s tough and as one homie said, it’s a hard knock life.
Money is perceived as one of the most important things in life. Because of it, emotions would run high and many things follow such as blaming, pressure, and more of what we all like to call “the negative stuffs” spiraling to more negative stuff and hitting multiple fans along the way. And before you know it, shit just got more real and it’s raining all over the place.
It doesn’t matter how you define your job. It doesn’t have to be a typical 9-5 job. There are plenty of self-employed people who even though they aren’t chained to a desk, they are still a slave to their clients or to someone and still not love what they are doing.
Business owners also fall into the same trap in spite of the money that is coming in (take it from those who inherited a small business only to sell it).
I was in a comfortable situation myself a couple of years ago before I decided to fully transition to what I’ve always wanted to do—to write & diversify what I do. I’m currently in my first step, aside from launching this site recently, I took the opportunity to assist family & friends in developing start ups. So for the last couple of years I’ve been assisting a couple of start ups while developing the skills needed for writing, reviewing the internet marketing lessons I spent on the previous years, and most importantly developing more courage to continue on.
Turns out my decision came on the right time. Three months into my new found independence the unexpected happened—I became incredibly sick and went on for half a year or so, and it’s a sickness which I wouldn’t have been able to support if I didn’t give my other stable profession up. Thanks to the first venture I entered into with family & friends, without it and them, I wouldn’t have been able to afford to go through that tough period. I was helping grow a business, and at the same time I’m faced with many realities that uncertainty brings: the uncertainty of my health and the uncertainty of the ventures I found myself with.
I don’t consider myself successful at the moment when it comes to my new found independence. But I’m glad to be doing better, happy to have a better control of my time and more importantly working more on things that I’m passionate about. I still have a lot to go through and learn. But the depth of pain, fear & stress I’ve experienced these last couple of years put a lot of things into perspective. Its drilled a lot of things into my skull that many would typically read from self-help books considering during those times I was fully experiencing it that life itself is presenting its very core, its very marrow, that it’s what you have. And it’s up to you if just want to live in or out of fear while slowly abandoning yourself as life goes by.
Or choose to truly live.
So if you do decide to go for what you want, here are 8 things to remind yourself of before you quit the job you don’t love:
1.) YOU LEARN & ADAPT AS YOU GO.
Business plans, financial plans, marketing plans, perceived enemies, what if you missed out on something, the worst case scenario, hidden ninjas, etc. all come into mind. You do your best to fully prepare, but here’s the plain reality, you can’t learn everything beforehand. You’ll have to learn & adapt as you go. You learn best while you’re in the game. It’s a process. Most of us have this idea of certainty—a magic pill to convince ourselves whether to proceed or not. You’ll have to embrace the idea, be ready to be excited about the things you will learn and be able to act in real time.
Sure you’ll probably need some basic knowledge before you begin, but you’ll be surprised that a lot of successful people never really knew what they were doing in the first place. One example is of dropouts ending up being more successful than those who are schooled with their Ivy League douche certificates on their walls.
But this is not to say that education is not needed, the point here is you can’t expect to know everything beforehand. Even the training that you received with a diploma is not necessarily enough. Sometimes you just have to take that first step, say yes to something even if you don’t have that perfect grasp of what it is and find out as you go.
As illustrated in the movie The Social Network, when Facebook was evolving into the social media giant that it is today, Mark Zuckerberg didn’t insist on advertising or selling Facebook quickly. Sean Parker said to Zuckerberg’s friend Saverin: “You don’t even know what the thing is yet. How big it can get, how far it can go. This is no time to take your chips down. A million dollars isn’t cool, you know what’s cool?…A billion dollars…”
Let things take their form not solely by what’s in your head for what’s in your head is not as wide as the limitless variables you’ll be dealing with.
When athletes play games, such as in basketball, they do have game plans but they have to constantly adjust. When a basketball player makes a move towards the basket, he goes in without fully thinking what’s going to happen next—whether another player is going to scratch his face, elbow his chest, kick him or even injure him. Things fall into place, naturally. An awesome move then takes place which sports announcers hype and call “clutch.”
2.) THE SOONER YOU CAN DO IT, THE BETTER. EVEN BETTER IS – JUST START.
As each day passes by you’re losing the opportunity to progress on that which you want to do. At the same time, we fail to maximize opportunities in the sense that each opportunity has a decaying value. Opportunities are abundant, each time it appears in its particular identity, has its own life cycle or is changing into something else. The more you hesitate to decide, the more you’ll miss out on it and you’ll have to explore another opportunity or find ways to catch up with those that have evolved in a certain opportunity that have changed. That’s why when it comes to entrepreneurship the best way to put it is: start now. Act now.
It’s hard to get going into doing anything but the secret to it is—just start. Just begin. Try your best not to do any rituals if you’re the type to do so. Just begin. Before you know it you’ll be halfway through accomplishing what you want to accomplish. Just like in writing, start with one sentence or two, as you continue on you’ll find yourself eager to write more. It then becomes a positive addiction itself.
3.) MONEY THAT COMES IN DOESN’T REPRESENT WHAT YOU’RE LOSING.
Prior to taking a leap towards independence I had enough money as I was preparing to move on to a different phase in my life, but little did I know there’s a cost that I did not anticipate—my medical expenses skyrocketed so much that it’s enough for me to pay for a new BMW or a Ford Mustang in full. Oftentimes a lot of us are conditioned to bring in money but what we don’t see our other costs—especially our mental, physical and emotional well being when we agree to something. Most of us tend to measure or be blindsided by the money but we don’t get to ask if it’s worth it. The stability is just an illusion. Money is just an illusion, a big blind to something more valuable.
It’s becoming clear as more evidences are surfacing on how doing what you don’t love can make you sick especially having a difficult boss. What is common these days are trends of digestive disorders are on the rise. The predominant culture of sedentary lifestyle is proving to be problematic in the long run that human resource researchers are finding ways to have a well balanced work setting. Yup, we definitely have to consider more desk treadmills.
Another way of seeing this is a concept in Economics called Opportunity Cost or the cost you are foregoing an alternative when you make a choice. In this case, being in a job you don’t love is foregoing opportunities with a better or more fulfilling life experience. You can be a highly paid CEO working tirelessly for most of the year earning 1 million dollars a month yet have no time for leisure with family and friends. But what if you’re making $50,000 a month working only 2 days a week? The difference in money is big but the opportunity to maximize life experience is higher for the other guy. It makes more sense to go for the latter. You can be earning a million a month yet if it’s only going to make you sick with no time for family and friends, increasing your odds of dying “forever alewnn” …say no thanks.
From a psychological perspective, fear of loss is typically the driving force among many human behaviors. For one, what many considers as the ultimate end or loss—death itself, drives many to make more irrational decisions according to Psychologist Ernest Becker in his Pulitzer Prize winning book The Denial of Death. It is actually not surprising in the middle of this year, a study of from University of Missouri-Columbia challenges the traditional belief that spending habits were the main drive for investor tolerance. In their study, it turns out that it’s actually the fear of loss which is a more precise indicator for investor tolerance.
This tells us that what we’re afraid of is not what we should be afraid of. A basic lesson that can be inferred from risk takers on being able to yield higher gains for being able to address and knowing what they must fear. Due to fear we are blindsided from what we don’t want to be truly losing. This leads to the bottom line of knowing what you’re truly losing in terms of what you want to accomplish or knowing what you’re okay to lose.
4.) PAIN IS PART OF LIFE, YOU MAY AS WELL BLEED FOR WHAT YOU LOVE.
One of the things many face when going after what they want is the hard work or pain involved that they are easily tempted to slip back to their old state and never progressing at all. Your current job is a pain anyway, you do get paid but it’s true worth again to yourself is most likely not that much.
As mentioned in #3, Money is just an illusion or a blind. Money if you think about it carefully is just a piece of paper representing a tangible value, but what it doesn’t show are the intangibles which can lead to something tangible. You can connect this to whatever your skill set is or something you’ve always wanted to do where your passion can grow.
There’s no point in sticking to a job that you hate that doesn’t serve anything but just to survive more so it’s literally killing you deep inside. What’s the point of a job if you’re dead? Surviving is not living. You need to be able to start thriving somewhere where you think you truly belong.
5.) GIVING UP THINGS IS PART OF THE GAME. YOU CAN’T HAVE IT ALL.
Back in July 2014, PEPSI CEO Indra Nooyi was interviewed and was asked on whether women can have it all. She shared her story on running one of the world’s largest corporations at the same time balancing it with her personal life which involves having kids and a spouse (probably a dog too and a goldfish we hope is still swimming to this day). In her candid interview, she answered no. She even said on the topic of starting a family: “we’re screwed.”
A month later Max Schireson, former CEO of MongoDB Max, now Vice Chairman wrote a blog post on why he resigned. He outlined the main reasons why he was stepping down. What was clear was that he found his weight more on the job than with his family and that the only way to balance it was to take a different role with lesser work load in the company.
Then September came and in the news, former CEO of Trillion-Dollar Company PIMCO, Mohamed El-Erian, reveals one of the main reasons he resigned from his company early 2014. It turns out one of the main reason was him missing ‘milestones’ with his daughter.
Most talk about how to prioritize, effectively manage time, productivity this, productivity that but without good or accurate consideration to our limitations. We have limitations. More so time is limited and once it passes it cannot be taken back. Acknowledging them is a start. I’ve personally met a handful of entrepreneurs over the years with this issue. It’s not that they didn’t know how to prioritize or didn’t know what productivity meant. The problem was they couldn’t even begin to address what and how much to give up.
We’re living in a society who seems to have an illusion that we can control & have it all like Christian Grey, 27 year old billionaire and spank master. So smooth and so cool but it’s not that simple.
It never is.
Balancing does involve giving up something and acknowledging your limits. As the famous quote would go, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. You’ll have to give up something to gain something and aligning all that you can towards what you want.
Reduce your expenses, get rid of subscriptions you don’t really need, make yourself very ‘light’, sell stuff you don’t need, move to a different place, find ways to live where you work and etc. There are many ways around it and you can be creative with how you’re going to trim many things in your life.
And maybe it’s time to give up that job. As for this, since money is an issue, this takes us to number 6.
6.) ESTABLISH A TRANSITION PLAN. GET CREATIVE.
One important entrepreneurial lesson is that you can’t succeed unless you learn to fully let go of your current job. As mentioned in number one, you must put yourself in the game as much as you can or as soon as you can. With this, a good transition plan must be put in place.
Of course, money is still a concern, so instead of looking at it in black and white, a gray method that you can do is to explore if you can reduce the hours of your current job to a lower one (let’s say from 5 days week to 3 days a week). In the current economy, one creative way entrepreneurs do it is working from full time to part time in their current profession and if needed have gigs which are related to what you’ve always wanted to do for another part time.
If it’s impossible to give up whatever your current job is then you may quit and go for 2 or more part time jobs. Explore related gigs. What’s important here is that you’re opening up more time to something you want to do.
Don’t forget to save too before your transition plan. Don’t save for just a year, make it two. Create a spending plan using a spreadsheet. This would help make it easier for you to completely transition knowing you have enough cash at the same time reducing your burn rate.
7.) NOTHING IS EVER CERTAIN. EMBRACE IT.
It’s true that while we need to be certain, we still can’t be really that certain. There are many things that can happen along the way. What matters is how you adapt. There is no doubt certainty gives us a sense of security or even happiness. We risk, however, not letting the unknowns become known to us when we only stick to whatever we feel certain.
The problem with many due to fear as discussed previously is many tend to stick with what they know, however they don’t get to see the opportunity costs. You give up other possible opportunities or improvements that may come along the way by sticking only to what you’re only certain about. And many times what you feel certain about can change, that what you’re certain about has become uncertain.
“The problem with certainty is that it is static; it can do little but endlessly reassert itself. Uncertainty, by contrast, is full of unknowns, possibilities, and risks. (65)”
― Stephen Batchelor
Do what you can but welcome changes as well. If you look at it on a higher level of things, no one really knows what can happen, nothing really is certain. There are just way too many variables. In fact, limitless variables that you won’t see. It is what it is. There are always risks. What you can change is how you’ll respond or your attitude.
The idea that you can control things or everything, even people is toxic. There’s no sugar coating this. This can lead to paranoia or the obsession to outcome. As woo woo as this may sound, this attitude will help repel the people, circumstance and many things you need working for you to reach your goals. I’m sure you’ve heard somebody say how unattractive a controlling person is or a control freak is and straining to be with one.
This is not to say you won’t do anything at all or you won’t do your due diligence. Do what you can and let things take their course. What matters is you’re flexible and you can let go. Enjoy the process. Be in the process.
8.) YOU ARE ALREADY ENOUGH AND DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE HATERS.
I don’t mean this as a feel good statement. Many are already having difficulty getting where they want to go or where they want to be, but on a deeper level they still don’t feel they deserve it and it makes it more difficult. You can build upon yourself or with what you already know. You don’t have to know or have everything. It’s okay to make mistakes and admit them when you do so in a straightforward manner. Start somewhere. Start small. Build with what you have.
What I noticed though, is that one can doubt oneself but what can be more difficult is the fear of criticism or some sort of fear of grand humiliation. Well, as they say, haters gonna hate. Don’t worry bout the haters, shake your money maker. And as the saying goes, do it for you’ll be judged anyway. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to fail.
Still afraid of failure and criticism? Here’s a good quote from our man Teddy:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
― Theodore Roosevelt
To help push you further, let me leave you with an awesome commencement address given last year by Jim Carrey:
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