The In-Between: 5 Thoughts To Transition from the 9-5 to the Entrepreneurial Life
Since age 18, I have held a job and worked the typical 9-5, often more than 40 hr weeks to make ends meet. There were aspects in each job that I enjoyed, some significantly more than others, but the fact of the matter was I did not feel fulfilled by the work and strain on my energy and wellbeing. Now I am working as an Interior Designer and feel much more fulfilled than in the past, but I still work those 40 hrs to survive. Money seems fleeting and time is still limited. I've come to a point where I don't want to live that way anymore, with the stress of not working enough hours though my day didn't require it, admonishing myself for spending $20 eating out when I need that $20 to go towards utilities.
I will always remember my fortune in working at a job that I love, but I have other loves and I am pursuing another avenue, to obtain and foster them. It is a little unorthodox and amazing because it is defined entirely by your person. It allows you the choice to live a life of freedom defined by your terms. For some that comes in the form of traveling the world, for some it is staying at home with their kids, and others it's finding a new direction in life unlimited by financial circumstance.
The name of that other avenue is entrepreneurship. But there is a challenge to becoming an entrepreneur when you have that job because so many of your hours are devoted to that work and for many people they don't have the option or maybe the desire to fully quit.
So how do you find the balance? How do you transition from one way of life to another?
I call it my restorative respite. It is important you give yourself some time to unwind from the projects at your job so that you can refresh your mind to then re-direct toward your business. And it looks different for everyone. Some great ways to go about it...
Take a walk outside.
If you've got a painfully slow commute, it's good to stretch your legs and breathe in fresh air before jumping into work. If you hold a job that requires you to be on your feet all day, by all means sit, but still get some fresh air. It's the perfect antidote to a tired mind.
Engage in a creative outlet.
Paint, draw, or write about your day. Use this as a means of reflection; what surprised you about the day, what insights you gained and most importantly (albeit not always easy) note of what you appreciate about that day. A recognition of even one good feature can greatly improve your mood and thinking.
Grab a book.
Soak in some knowledge. Reading is a wonderful source for insight, knowledge, and encouragement. When you feed your mind with challenging and insightful words it begins to manifest in your own, in how you speak and receive information. A great catalyst to change.
2. (Re)claim your passion
For a long time I was in jobs that left me unfulfilled and did not serve my calling. I spoke of work with dread, looking at Mondays and literally every weekday morning as painful. I felt no passion, though I knew it existed within me. It is all about the calling rather than the occupation. It is what stirs your heart and inspires action, fuels your being like a sustenance. If your job is not fulfilling your passion, take time every evening to claim it again in even a small way. Read a book about it, journal about it, look into taking classes about it, talk about it. Be relentless in your identity within it. Even if you are not living it out yet, come to know it as though you are. Even look for nuggets of inspiration within your work that can connect to your passion. There is a powerful statement that I've come to adopt from Ruben Chavez from thinkgrowprosper:
"Start taking action on the small things that excite you from moment to moment and day to day. These things are the threads that will connect you to your larger passion, path and purpose in life."
If you've lost sight of it or maybe have never asked, now is the time. One step at a time.
3. Define Your Why
At the forefront of every decision, every hesitation, is your why. Why are you doing this? Why do you want this? Whatever this is, is connected to the passion I talked about before. But it's deeper than that. It's the foundation to your efforts, the rock to stand on when everything seems so unsteady and uncertain. You go back to it when the difficulties arise because it is the unshakable truth that keeps you going. Without the why, it is easy to slip into old habits and the thief of a full life; complacency.
When I started my blog, I was so excited by the possibility of what it could become, and I wanted it to be something purposeful, usable, and validating for anyone who read it. I wanted to create an environment to inspire change and reflection, as much for myself as for others. My why is to create content to build thoughtful community that lifts people up for their own pursuits, to find or hone their purpose in all its metamorphosis through life.
Now sometimes when you're exhausted after an 8-9 hour day and your response to your why is "I don't know". Brain stuck on those words, it feels like any more thought processes will cause an explosive overload. And that's OK. When you can't feel anything, but exhaustion, take a break. Let your mind and body restore itself. But come back, ALWAYS.
I stress the importance of the relentless pursuit. Never tire of dreaming, and arguably more important, never tire of trying. Dreams are only so powerful, so sustaining, as the energy we put into their realization. It can feel daunting because maybe what you see around you is nothing like your dreams. And if it's nothing like them, how can they be achieved?
By remembering the root reason for the effort.
By thinking yourself beyond your circumstances.
You are not your current job, you are a being with gifts and value to your name.
And you can foster them to find success.
4. leverage other's skill sets
Since so much time is devoted to a full time job that requires a lot of energy, it can feel overwhelming to approach a new way of creating an income or go in a new direction when you don't have all of the knowledge or skills to achieve it. The wonderful news is you don't have to have all of the knowledge or skills to achieve it! In the entrepreneurial world, you can utilize the skill sets of those more experienced. A well known saying, "you don't have to reinvent the wheel", is a true adage. So many successful entrepreneurs have reached their goals and are in a position to share that knowledge and expertise. Take advantage of that.
Also those elements that you may feel uncomfortable with or simply don't want to do, you can hand to someone else. I don't mean abandon that element of your enterprise completely, but you can stay involved without holding the sole responsibility. This allows you the time freedom to pursue the other aspects of your career that you can apply your stronger skill sets too. As you develop that knowledge and experience, you can engage more in those areas, should you want to.
5. Grace & Accountability
Be gracious to yourself. No matter the hurdle you have to face, the insecurity, the physical strain and pressures of life's demands, every minute you give to bettering yourself you are in the right place. Even if it's as small a step as writing down 5 goals before you fall asleep, that counts. It is better to walk forward imperfectly than to not walk at all. In many ways standing still is as harmful as moving backwards, because you are just existing and therefore digressing from your greater purpose. You get to define this purpose and have every right to attain it.
As you show yourself kindness, also remember that your progress can only be obtained by being mindful of your goals and holding yourself to a higher standard because you deserve better. That right to a different kind of life, one of more freedom and autonomy, that won't just be given to you. You have to hold yourself to that promise and treat it with the greatest importance. Think about where you want to be (your why) and hold onto that as your accountability partner.
It's a delicate balance and there is no one way of making it work. Even these suggestions will look different for everyone and some may bear more weight than others, but the important part is defining your focus and your time. With your brain overwhelmed by an endless amount of information and external stimulation, it's incredibly easy to feel overwhelmed, just remember you are worth every effort to change your life.
If you want to know more about how I'm changing my life, making my transition, feel free to email me. I'd love to chat. Also I welcome you to join my Facebook group dedicated to living a life of freedom and fulfillment.