For many of us, making the leap from a "successful" corporate career to a soul-fulfilling professional pursuit is terrifying.
It could take years to identify what you would do in an ideal universe, let alone to figure out how to actually go about doing it (and, of course, how to make money at it). In the meantime, you find yourself expending valuable energy holding onto the "safe" corporate job you loathe, and getting more frustrated by the day.
I personally struggled at this for more years than I would like to count. The good news is that no job is forever; there is always a gleaming natural light at the end of the long fluorescently-lit, cubicle-filled tunnel.
Here are 10 tips that helped me while I was working through my transition from the corporate world to my own fulfilling business as a life-coach.
1. Skip out on those coffee-break complaining sessions.
Instead, surround yourself with positive, like-minded people. Do this both at your current job as much as possible, and outside of work. Having a strong support group is invaluable, especially during a transitional period like this.
Even if you're immeasurably frustrated, make sure not to spend your time around the water cooler complaining about your boss or your clients with others. Instead, focus on spending your time with those that fill you up with positive energy and that encourage each other.
2. Write down the good stuff.
Journaling is a great exercise to keep you motivated because it allows you time for reflection, which inevitably will make you more sensitive and nuanced in the ways you react to your experience. Remember, "like attracts like," so the more you recognize and appreciate the positive things around you, the more positive things will be attracted to you. Plus at the end of it all, you've got pages upon pages of great things in your life to reflect on, no matter what your job is. In other words, try to see your life as being bigger than your job. This will allow you to make your decisions from a space of more freedom.
3. Make the most out of your commute (if you have one).
And if you don't, find a time in the more and/or evening for some personal, recreational time. You may use the time going to and from work to listen to positive recordings and audio books to stimulate and encourage your positive and creative side. Simply listening to music can be equally restorative, while others might like to read or pursue a simple hobby.
4. Realize that affirmations actually work. Then try them.
Studies have shown that repeating positive affirmations can reduce stress and evoke positive change and results. Some good examples that I frequently refer to are: "Today has endless possibilities" or "I can find balance in my life." Pick what resonates and feels good to you and repeat it daily and as needed with a deep breath.
5. See the other side of the coin.
You may hate hearing this, but even jobs we can't stand still provide us with emotional and practical skills to help us work toward bigger dreams. Perhaps it's a flexible schedule that allows you time to take courses toward a new career. And there is certainly a financial justification for working as you try and figure out your goals. So write down the opportunities you observe in your current situation, and pull them out when the going gets tough. Refer to them as reminders for what you have and where you are going.
6. Talk to your boss about your plans.
Being honest and open may help take a load off your shoulders and also allow your boss to know more about your aspirations. See if there is anything that the company may be willing to do to help you on your personal journey and transition.
I was extremely lucky and grateful to have been granted a short sabbatical from my job before making the leap. This was a great opportunity for me to really explore all of my options and clear my head before committing to actually leaving. By being honest from the beginning, I was also given the chance to reduce my position to part time during my transition which allowed the company extra time to find my replacement, and me the security of having a steady income a little longer.
7. Reflect on each day as another step closer to your goals.
If we practice mindfulness, and try to stay present in each moment, it becomes exponentially easier to recognize the sense of opportunity in the every day. Remember that every day can be a small step toward your goal. You will most likely find that while working on your personal goals, your day job will seem that much more enjoyable. Perhaps it's by signing up for a course or reading a book in your field of interest. In any case, make sure to deliberately treat each day as one step closer to your goal.
8. Create a morning power ritual.
A morning ritual will help set the tone for the day and keep you balanced. Rather than starting your day rushed and running out the door frantically, plan to get up a few minutes early or start a few minutes later.
I found that meditating first thing in the morning followed by some light yoga was a great way for me to start my day rejuvenated, balanced and clearheaded and all it took was to get up an extra 20 minutes earlier.
9. Make a map, or use a vision board.
By having a sense — either visually or in language — of what you are looking for in your life, you will be more connected to your goals, plain and simple. Put them on paper and keep them in front of you. This helps transform "goals" from a fuzzy, abstract concept into a real, more tangible thing. Look at it often.
10. Get in touch with what an ideal week might be.
You may even select a theme for each day to bring a new positive approach to your workweek. For example, you could try something like "Spoil Me Mondays." So on Mondays, you can plan activities that you really enjoy: it could be booking a massage, or allowing yourself an hour or two at the end of the day to relax with a bubble bath and a good book. This puts a whole new spin on the Monday Madness and also allows you time to plan in activities to help you work toward your soul-centered business, too.
Making career changes is always difficult, particularly when we start thinking about them as potential reflections of our souls. These 10 tips will help you feel more grounded as you begin the difficult, but rewarding, journey of connecting to your authentic desires for your professional identity.
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