This a guest post by Steve Rice of True Spiritual Awakening.
I kinda just fell into the addiction, actually. I didn’t even know until it was too late. Entrepreneurism. It just fell into my lap.
I showed up at my buddy’s house that cold January morning ready for “work.” I had no idea what I was getting into that first day.
He led me into his basement where some folding tables had been assembled. He handed me a tablet with a list of documents written.
“Do some research and create the these documents. When you’re done, we’ll run them past legal and you can format them,” he told me.
Things like Internal Job Application Form and Drug/Alcohol Test Consent Form. I knew nothing about these things, but I did it. Creating something from nothing. I loved it.
After nearly five years with my friend’s company, I started feeling the “itch,” and I knew it was time to leave work behind.
This had been my first “real” job after graduating university, and I’ve been “leaving work behind” in one way or another ever since.
This time was different, though. I would be on my own. I was terrified because I was starting over and had no idea what I wanted to do. Then came a fateful walk on a beach in Florida.
I was there on vacation with friends and had decided to take a sunset walk along the beach. I was trudging through the sand. The sun was low on the horizon. The wind blew in off the water and the lull of the waves rolling on the shore provided a soothing cadence to which the drumming of my own thoughts marched forward.
Then it caught my eye! I looked up to my right and there, in the window of a small shack standing on stilts, was a neon sign that read: “Massage Therapy – $1/minute”.
What an awesome life, I thought. I would love to do that. Living on the beach and just taking clients in off the beach.
My heart began to beat faster. My previous thoughts were forgotten. I raced back to the beach house. I now knew what I was going to do.
After nine months, I finished massage therapy school and set out on the next phase of my adventure.
The following are five qualities that I believe are required to successfully leave work behind. Everyone is looking for a magic pill or potion that will transform them into instant success. There is no such thing!
These are not hard and fast standards; but rather, they are necessary components from which you must concoct the potion of your own unique success.
1. Have a Clear Vision
You need a picture of where you are contrasted with clear picture of what life could be for you.
But it’s not just having the vision. True vision-casting requires that you delve deeper into yourself to understand the fundamental desires driving the new vision. It is especially vital that you understand the genesis of this desire.
This is where I screwed up. I don’t want you to do the same.
I had a great “nudge” from intuition there on the beach, and once the decision was made, I didn’t waver. I moved forward without doubt. This is an important quality, but having a clear vision requires more than this.
I had been frustrated with my job for a while. As our company became more stable and our processes were developed and strong, I began to get antsy.
Instead of looking deeper at my discomfort and analyzing why I felt this way, I just began to feel trapped and frustrated. This caused me to “jump” when I felt my intuition leading me away.
In a way, I jumped without looking. This can cause your vision to become a nightmare. I was fortunate to make it through the downturns, but you’ll have enough challenges without fighting yourself. Don’t do what I did.
- Look for how life could be
- Answer “why” and “what” about the new direction.
- Delve into the deeper understanding of your new vision
- You’ll make better decisions
2. Be Clear
Once you have created a clear vision of where you want to go and how it relates to where you are, and – better yet – you have a clear understanding of “why” you desire the new vision, you will be positioned to move forward effectively.
Understanding your desires and where they are coming from will give you a very clear picture of what you want.
This step is important because it will keep you from getting into things that won’t move you toward your vision. As you create momentum in life, it’s natural that opportunities will come to you because you’re moving forward.
It’s as if you’re walking down a long hotel hallway full of doors and your vision is at the end of the hall. As you move toward your dream, you will see various doors on either side of the hallway. Unless you’re singularly focused on your new vision, you may be tempted to check out what’s behind all those other doors.
Knowing exactly what you want at the end of the hallway keeps you from turning aside into the other doors.
3. Exercise Your Creativity
When I decided to go to massage school, I didn’t have any money saved up for it. I wasn’t planning to go back to school–ever.
So I had to figure out a way to do it. I wasn’t crazy about taking on student loans. I had to use creativity and patience to get the results that I wanted.
The path you initially envision for your future is never how it unfolds in real life. Embrace uncertainty like a friend. He must become your companion on the journey. You must become comfortable hanging out with him.
I romanticized massage therapy (remember the sunset beach vision?). In reality, it was 9 months of school, four nights a week until 10 p.m. (after working all day). Then I had clinical all day on Saturday.
Every moment of it wasn’t fun, but I had a goal. I had a vision of what I wanted at the end of the “hallway.”
Harness your creativity to look for the road “less-traveled.” Like the poet stated, that will make “all the difference.”
4. Be Determined
“Do or do not. There is no try.”
Yoda was right. Determination is the key that I call “see through”. Are you willing to see your dream through to the end? Are you willing to do what it takes to create the vision of your life as you imagine it?
I wasn’t, honestly. Let me share a secret here in the middle of my story. Massage therapy was a cop out for me.
Truthfully, I was just too scared to commit myself to my “important” work – that which I was placed on the earth to do. Starting a massage therapy business was the biggest vision that my self-confidence could realistically allow at that time.
There’s a happy ending to the story, however, because I am now doing that work. It took me a few years to get here. But I made it.
You will too. Take the step you can see. One step at a time. Don’t try to tackle the whole vision at once. Go to where you can go and on the journey, build your self-confidence to be able to expand your vision of what is possible.
Keep going. This is different to stubbornness. Stubbornness is what causes people to go bankrupt because they have become unbending in their beliefs of how their vision should unfold.
You must be unbending in nurturing and maintaining your dream, but you must be allow it to unfold as it does naturally. You have to be able to adapt to the reality of what life brings to you.
If your marketing plan isn’t working, you gotta get a new one, or tweak the one you’ve got until it starts to produce results.
Never give up.
BONUS: Be Flexible
Persistence overlaps flexibility when it comes to successfully leaving work behind.
Two years ago, I began writing a book. I published it myself and began promoting it. After the first few hundred copies sold (mostly to family and friends, or friends of friends), sales slumped.
I was frustrated. What I was doing wasn’t working. I had to re-evaluate. It was such a big dream that I had a hard time stopping to analyze objectively.
Eventually, I did stop and ask myself “why?”
Why did I want to write the book in the first place?
What did I hope to accomplish?
How did this book fit into my purpose? How did it fit into my “important” work.
You have to be willing to reevaluate and let go of the things that aren’t serving your purpose.
The real power comes in being able to work through the obstacles and insecurities to uncover the “magic” combination of these qualities that works for you.
It is then that you find it is not magic at all. It is passion. It is power. It is momentum.
You are on your way. Don’t give up. Don’t falter. Do it!
Steve Rice is the owner of True Spiritual Awakening. He is an author and entrepreneur committed to creating a well-lived life and helping others to do the same by helping them bridge the gap between abstract philosophy and practical, hands-on tools which, together, create a life of momentum. You can follow him on Twitter or connect on Facebook.
Creative Commons image courtesy of Nick J Webb