This is my office. The furniture has been rearranged two times now in the past few months, and I suspect it’s not in its final place even now. The walls will be painted. More office supplies will be added, perhaps a dream catcher or two (they’re so whimsical and bring a lightness to my mind). This room is ever-changing, evolving as I am, in my new endeavor.
It’s exciting. Scary. A whole bunch of work. A bit stressful. But most importantly, so very fulfilling. I’ve finally brought myself to this place in my life where I do what I love.
“Most people have to get up and go to work. You, you get up and are at work. Dang, girl! Doesn’t get much better than that!” …a bit of a conversation I had with a neighbor one morning.
It’s true. The transition into freelance writing, teaching yoga, and running a studio has been wonderful. Albeit a bit stressful at times because of time management “issues”. And there’s still so much work to do. I’m not yet taking my husband and myself on trips to Tahiti or New Zealand. (Notice I said, yet.) But this decision to go freelance/contract remains one of the best decisions I’ve made in my career life.
If you’re wanting to make the switch and don’t know where to start, read these tips on how I did it. Maybe one or two of them will work for you, and you’ll be on your way to doing what you love.
Like what you do now.
For me, it was ophthalmic tech/scribe world; and for the most part, I loved the staff and patients I got to see on a regular basis. I also liked the work, when it was challenging. From the start of my 16 year career in ophthalmology to the very end, I learned a great deal and am very grateful for the time spent there. I learned many lessons on persistence and discovered much about myself, as I learned even more about eyes. Even though you are not where you’d like to be, you are where you are meant to be at the time. To learn the lessons needed for your future, you must endure and appreciate your present. Nothing positive will come from dreading where you are now. Negativity only breeds more negativity. You don’t have to love where you are, but like it enough to see the value in it and move forward. Day by day. Step by step.
Set the foundations.
What is it that you need to make your dream job happen? Is it a part-time job? Is it more education? Is it a few months savings set aside? Whatever it is that you need to make your dreams come true, do that. Take a class and learn more about that which you’re passionate about. Make connections in the field where your dream job is. Set up a part-time gig to supplement your income when you make the shift. Set aside a few dollars here and there in a savings account. Nothing happens overnight. You have to lay the foundation, the building blocks, for that which you want. I started laying my foundation in 2012, and here I am four years later, doing what I intended. That doesn’t mean I didn’t try things years before that didn’t work out. But I didn’t give up. You have to be willing to try and fail, and get back up and try again.
Be patient, determined, and work diligently.
Like I said, it took me years to get to the point of handing in my resignation at my old job and switching careers. We Americans live with a Fed Ex, or microwave, mindset. We want what we want and we want it now, if not yesterday. But real change doesn’t happen like that. It takes hard work and time. You can’t expect to change the direction of an ocean liner on a whim. It takes planning, teamwork, and precise navigation. You can change the direction of your sails of life, but it takes time and the know-how to do it. And don’t expect the wind to always be in your favor. Sometimes there is no wind, and you’ll have to make your own momentum. Be keep at it. Anything worth having takes a whole bunch of attention and work. And besides, you’ll be grateful in the end to have tried things that didn’t work out to know what does. You’ll be stronger, smarter, and ready when your time comes.
Believe in yourself.
This may be the most important step. Believe in You. If you don’t believe in yourself, who else will? If you don’t believe in your capabilities, how will you convince someone else of them? So, even if no one else believes in you, believe in yourself. Love what you do and show the world who you are. Be authentic. There is a way for you to make a career out of whatever it is you love doing, whatever it is that sets your soul on fire. Find it. Seek it out. What you are seeking is seeking you. What you give attention to will turn around an attend you. Make it happen. It won’t be a cake-walk and likely there won’t be many people along the way to pat your back. So make sure you pat your own back. Acknowledge your small accomplishments. Perhaps keep a record. Set little goals and go for them.
There’s a certain natural (gorgeous) spring here in Florida called Royal Springs, with a 10-12 foot platform for jumping and diving. It doesn’t look that high, and in fact it’s not that high. But when you stand on the edge and look down, it feels high. I still get butterflies when I think about jumping off that platform. But I jumped and it was so satisfying! I did it and I didn’t die! The same thing goes for making huge life changes… You’ll still feel quite nervous. You’ll still have that doubtful voice in your head saying you may get hurt, something may go wrong. You’ll still second guess yourself and wonder if you’re making the right decision. But if you’ve taken the time to set up the necessary steps needed to make the leap and you’ve evaluated others who’ve done it (and are here to tell the tale), then what’s holding you back? Your dreams are waiting! Those doors that have opened for you won’t stay open forever. You have to take the chance and jump. You will be okay. You’ll build your wings and fly, but you have to believe.
“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.” – – J.M. Barrie