We will all reach a place at some point in our lives where we ask ourselves, “Is this job/career what I really want, or am I just here for the paycheck?” The truth is, asking the tough questions is all part of growing and developing, so it’s important that we take time to reflect on whether we are pursuing something that truly aligns with our dreams or if we are drifting into some bland vanilla never-never-land.
Sure, there are seasons in life where you work, take your money and run, such as paying your way through university or transitioning back to work after giving birth to a 5kg watermelon. Whatever stage of life you’re in, it never hurts to stop and really think about where you are going in life, and if the path ahead of you is one that will be filled with no regrets.
1. Be passionate
Before you can fulfil those high hopes of firing your boss and paying for yachts with large rolls of cash, we need to take ten steps back and get to the real core of who we are. Before you sign up to that meditation retreat or seek answers in the stars, consider that a good and practical place to start is your passion. What are you passionate about? Don’t say free WiFi or long walks on the beach with your labradoodle. I mean, if it came down to the very last year of your life, what would you do? What would you accomplish and what is the legacy you would want to leave behind?
Though a simple notion to ponder, for some it can take a lot of time of self-reflection. For me, I never knew what I was passionate about until I learnt what I really hate. I hated being an office drone pulled into meetings that could’ve been emails, I hated the stiff politics and red tape stifling my creativity and after my son was born, I hated being away from my family. These are common clichés for the working force, but when I became a mum it was a game changer. I needed to find a way to build a career that also allowed the flexibility of raising my kid(s) and spend precious time with my family. So, I started to freelance in what I was already skilled in – writing, and soon realised that it was another passion I had all along, I just never gave it time to be nurtured.
I have loved watching friends turn their craft into a profitable business by creating and selling books, art, clothes and jewellery. Some people love finding the potential in others, developing coaching businesses, books and tools. Some love adventure, finding themselves travel blogging. Whatever your passion looks like for you, I have no doubt that you’ll be able to take it and transform it into something that brings you both joy and provision. Believe it or not, you can have both – and that takes me to the next point!
2. Be patient
I’m going to make a really bold statement here and it’s this: the pathway to profit is patience. It sounds really strange, but think about the best example in the book: Steve Jobs. Co-founder of Apple, Steve was passionate about technology, wanting to change the world through innovation. He didn’t set out to retail computers and phones, he was an ideas man who had a dream and invented his way through unseen market domination. There is no way he would’ve accomplished all that he had (such as the Apple eco-system) without patience.
We are drawn to social media sensations that acquire overnight wealth, fame and recognition, leaving us disillusioned and just plain frustrated at our somewhat menial lives. Our generation has been conditioned through over-indulgent parenting, persuasive advertising and technology promising instant gratification that we are entitled to all our heart’s desires within the span of 60 seconds. A study found that 7-14 year olds want instant gratification; they dictate to their parents and they don’t want a job.
Building an empire that will yield a healthy profit can be likened to building a house. You start with the foundations and work your way through each step in the process. If the concrete slab isn’t right, guess what? You have to go back a step and re-do it, otherwise, the frame will not hold and the house will sink.
The same applies when you’re trying to build something from nothing. Behind every brand and business goes endless hours of labour that is often unseen and unheard. It takes a tonne of ground work, making mistakes, learning, growing and refining to reach your financial goals. For me, I spent the first two years just finding my feet and figuring out how I could raise my profile and portfolio in a way that translated to value for a client. Only this year I managed to cut my first paying job and build up a client base from there.
3. Be powerful
When we think of power, we think of the lunatics leading communist states or the corporate suits of Wall Street lavished in Armani, champagne and bikini models.
But for the women out there, the #girlbosses who aspire to be great, influential and make a mark on history, think about the unforgettable women in history like Lady Diana and Mother Theresa. Recollect all that they did, stood for, and said unapologetically. Add to the list the likes of Jacinda Ardern, who shut down futile media questions about her status as a NZ politician and potential mother and Pink, delivering an inspiring speech for her daughter about self-esteem after she lamented she looked like a boy.
In today’s world where women are silenced, undermined, underpaid and in some sad cases abused, it can feel wrong to be ballsy and go after what you want. Being confident and comfortable in your own skin doesn’t come easy when we are led to believe we’re simply not good enough. I think a woman who has come to love and accept herself 100% for who they are, quirks, imperfections and all, is nothing short of powerful.
Just remember being powerful isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it is just that we’re accustomed to seeing power grossly misused. When stewarded with a willingness to serve others and speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves, power can change history for the greater good. As the old saying goes, “Always speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.”
When you stand up against unethical behaviour in the workplace, you’re demonstrating power. When you fight for injustice and labour for victims of domestic violence, you’re being powerful. When you risk everything to invest your heart, money, time and gifting into something that ignites a sense of purpose and passion in you, you are powerful beyond measure.
Here’s your next challenge: do what you need to do, make those calls, sign up for that course or join the like-minded community group that will get you one step closer to doing what you love. With passion, patience and an inner power that only you can unleash, you’ll be on your way to living out your dreams in due time.