I find it funny how we always seem to intuitively know what we want to do.
Instead we do what we think we should be doing.
When I entered the corporate world of banking a decade ago, I knew within two days the job was not for me.
Because I found it boring, repetitive and soul-sucking.
But I returned to my cubicle day after day, week after week, month after month, till I finally built up the courage to dig a little deeper and admit this wasn’t what I wanted to do.
It takes a lot of courage to jump off a ladder you have worked damn hard to climb. But it’s far more painful to keep climbing a ladder which is leaned up against the wrong wall.
Mindset plays a huge role in how you live your life and make decisions. I used to think you had to stick it out in a job till you retire.
But this all changed when I started to look outside the suffocating constraints of my cubicle.
I expanded my awareness and started to accept that there were other opportunities and possibilities; that I didn’t have to do work that I didn’t enjoy. I had a choice. And those choices are available to anyone, it just depends on your mindset.
Tim Ferris is an entrepreneur, investor and author. He has carved out a life of fun and freedom whilst creating an online income, something I am doing in my own life now. Reading his book, The Four Hour Workweek gave me the belief that I too could create a life based on my terms.
Escape the city is a great organisation whose mission it is to help one million people ‘do work that matters’. The founders themselves escaped from corporate jobs and I used to attend a lot of workshops and seminars to discover what is it that I wanted to escape to.
Many people think escaping from something they don’t like is hard. And it is hard if you do not know what you are escaping to.
You need to understand what it is that pulls you towards what you want. In other words, you need to understand what YOU want.
Kaizan is the Japanese concept of ‘continual improvement’. This means that nothing is ever just done or finished.
Its more about doing something, getting it out into the world and then improving upon. And then you repeat the cycle.
If you are thinking of your own corporate escape then think about how Kaizan can fit into this process. You do not have to make one giant leap into brand new territory.
How about taking small steps on a daily basis to get to where you want to be? Finding our what you want is a process of discovery and not an overnight epiphany.
You have probably spent years taking on others people’s expectations and assumptions and perhaps have forgotten or even dismissed what it is that you want.
Here are a few ways you can make improvements in your life starting today:
Start a Blog
If you want to create an online business through writing or selling content then why not start a blog about a topic you are interested in? Commit to posting once a week every week.
This will help you to expand your creativity and start testing your ideas from the (perceived) security and comfort of your full-time job. Taking small steps in this manner is less daunting.
Think about how you can continually improve other aspects of your life. If you are at the gym pushing 25 kg, then move onto 27 kg next time. Increase the load slightly. Keep improving.
If you want to read more often, then commit to reading one page from your book daily. Then move onto reading two pages the following week.
Tim Ferris is a big fan of doing micro testing. These are little experiments. He will spend 6-12 weeks testing out a particular theory (or task). After this time period he will decide if wants to stick at it or ditch this from his life.
Quitting is not for losers. It takes a smart person to know when to quit.
I made a decision to leave the corporate world after a decade whilst I was at the top of my career, earning a six figure income. But I quit it to set up my own business and pursue my dream of being a writer. So test out different scenarios and note your feedback. Are you happy with the results? Is it what you expected? Do you want this to be a part of your life?
For example you may think you want to do yoga classes but after a while find that it isn’t something you enjoy and find it a chore to fit into your life. Perhaps you are better suited to another activity to help you keep in shape. But you wont know till you get out there and test it. There is no such thing as failure, only learnings.
Guy Kawasaki focuses on the importance of getting your work out into the world rather than waiting for the perfect time. There is no such thing as the perfect time. There is only NOW.
‘Ship, ship, ship, then fix’ is what he says. Do the work and get it out into the world. Get feedback and then fix it. Then ship it out again.
Ready, fire, aim.
It’s all too easy to hide behind our fears because that is all it really is, fear of the unknown.
If you are not happy doing what you are doing perhaps it’s because you feel you are not fulfilling your highest potential.
The Importance of Deep Work
Cal Newport, author of Deep Work, talks about the concept of eudaimonia. This is a state in which you’re achieving your full human potential.
This typically happens when you are doing deep focused work (hence why when I write I have to switch off all distractions as I cannot focus). But you can also bring this feeling to every moment of your everyday life. Are you living your life to your highest potential?
Improve your Relationship with Time
For those who are lucky enough to realise, time is a non renewable asset. Time also has no value without attention.
This is why it is important to cultivate focus when you do your work and to eliminate distractions. Our brains are easily distracted to do the easier task now (scroll through social media posts) rather than tackling that piece of writing you know you need to do.
Attention management is required just as much as time management.
And overwhelm is not due to a lack of time but a lack of priorities.
If you liked this post you may be interested in my upcoming book ‘How to Find Your Purpose, Live Your Passion and Be Happy’. Sign up to the email list for the latest updates!