As we’ve been exploring the idea of leaving the corporate 9 to 5, we’ve looked at the fear of failure as well as the fear of starting from scratch, the grass not actually being greener, and having to work harder than ever before; we’ve also looked at how you need to step out of your comfort zone in order to make the changes you want to make; and, last week, we looked at how other people’s concerns and objections can weigh you down as well. So how on earth are you supposed to believe in yourself with all these fears and concerns holding you back? How do you stay enthusiastic and focused as you navigate your career transition out of all that’s comfortable and familiar and into the unknown of working for yourself?
Let’s look at four strategies that will help you stay motivated and keep believing that you really can make this happen.
1. Remember your why
Yes, I know, I keep going on about it but that’s because it’s important: if you’re going to put in all this time and effort, if you’re going to get super uncomfortable and defend yourself against both your own fears and those of other people, then you’d better have a very good reason for doing so! If you’re not sure why you’re doing this, or if you’re being led by superficial external reasons rather than true internal motivation then it’s all not going to be worth it and you’ll find yourself giving up all too soon.
Make sure that you’re clear on why you want to leave the 9 to 5 that you’re in right now, and what you’re looking for instead. This doesn’t mean that you need to have an exact job description or business plan in mind – instead, it’s about the parameters or criteria that are important to you. For example, you might be looking to do work that you really enjoy, to make a more meaningful contribution to society, and to have a more flexible schedule so that you can make time for family and other important priorities in your life.
2. Make a plan to stay motivated
A dream without a plan is just a wish. If you keep fantasising about leaving your job and starting up on your own but you do nothing to explore what exactly you want to do, identify the steps you’ll need to take to get there and work out the financials, then you’ll never make any progress out of your comfort zone and out of the 9 to 5. If you want to turn that dream into an actual goal that you mean to achieve one day then you’ll need to plan out how you do it.
You need to define when that “one day” will be – are we talking a year from now, three years, or ten? What resources, internal and external, are you going to use? What are you missing and how are you going to put those missing elements in place? What help will you need to make this work? How can you break this big project down into smaller milestones and specific action steps that will get you to your goals? Having this plan will keep you focused and taking consistent action each and every week.
(If you’re looking to make an escape plan, then keep an eye out as we’ll be doing one of our popular challenges very soon to help you do just that!)
3. Keep showing up
As you start working on your plan, you’ll initially be full of enthusiasm and inspiration. How exciting that you’re finally making this happen! You have a logo and a website, look how impressive! You’ll be jumping out of bed in the morning and staying up late in the evenings, hustling away and counting down the days until you can give up your corporate job for good and follow your passion full time. But sooner or later that initial wave of euphoria and energy will fizzle out and that’s when it’s easy to give up – especially when you aren’t yet seeing any results.
And that last point is important because you aren’t going to see results any time soon. I mean, you’ll have some initial traffic to your website, your friends will like your Facebook page and you may even get a client or two – which is amazing, congratulations! But you don’t yet have a business. You need to keep taking action, consistently, even when you aren’t seeing the impact yet because that impact will hit the business maybe three months down the line, or even later. Keep showing up, every day, every week, and the results will come – but you mustn’t give up to soon!
4. Build your support network
It can feel pretty lonely as you navigate the thorny wilderness that lies outside of the confines of your comfort zone and, ultimately, this is your journey and you’re going to travel it on your own. Your emotions and confidence levels are likely to follow the ups and downs of the rollercoaster that is the early stages of building your own business and that can be tough. If you’re working from home as well, then it’s easy to feel like you’re completely on your own.
And I know this is another point that I emphasise over and over, but it’s an important one: get the support you need in place as soon as you can, in all its different forms. That might mean telling your closest friends and family what you’re planning on doing so that they can be there for you when you are feeling down; finding a coach or mentor to guide you through the process of setting up and building the business; and, as we said last week, finding a community or ‘tribe’ of people who are out there doing similar things to you and who completely understand what you’re going through and can cheer you on when you need it.
So those are just a handful of strategies that I hope will help you as you navigate this transition, to keep you motivated, keep you believing that, yes, you can do this, and keep you showing up consistently so that you make real progress towards your goals and successfully create a life and business outside of the dreaded 9 to 5.
Start creating your support network over in the One Step Outside community on Facebook, where you’ll find a community of likeminded people as well as getting access to live training sessions and other resources that will help you escape the 9 to 5, once and for all.