Updated: Dec 11, 2020
I’d like to specifically address those of you who have hit the wall at work and whose inner dialogue is encouraging you to find a better story for yourself. Many of you are sick of commuting (or working at home) to a job you’re tired of and a workplace that is unchallenging and limiting.
Perhaps in your daydreams you’ve imagined running your own business. You visualize developing a new product or service that’s going to transform society, or even the world. If you think it would be amazing to have your own staff and call your own shots maybe it’s time to take a risk.
Once you’ve stirred up the courage to make a bold move, and the excitement has worn off, be ready for a mental pushback. If you’re like me there was an immediate inner struggle after I decided to pursue my own business. Did I have what it takes? I came down with a bad case of the “what if’s”. What if I don’t have what it takes to succeed in business? What if I can’t fund my new company? What if I don’t have the education I need or the connections to make this new venture happen? What if the service (or product) I want to bring to market is not needed or it’s not the right timing?
Take a deep breath and realize this is normal thinking. The “what if” monster jumps onto everyone’s back. Part of the reason for the “what if’s” is many of us have created a map for our lives, our education, and our careers. Stepping outside the predictability and safety of our “life map” or blueprint can be daunting.
Ancient history has a story that speaks to the type of courageous and adventurous attitude we may need to step into a new life. Alexander the Great in 330 B.C. had conquered the Persian Empire and become ruler of most of the known world. One might have expected that he would have been ready to relax for a while, maybe take a little vacation, but with the largest army ever assembled he decided to continue his push eastward. His army had been as unstoppable as his ambition, he wanted to rule the entire world, but when his army reached the Himalayan Mountains, the leaders came to Alexander with a concern: Alexander, Alex, can we call you Al…..“We have marched off the map,” “We should go back to where we know.” They had literally gone beyond the boundaries of their maps. To their concern Alexander replied: “Mediocre armies always stay within the known areas. The great armies always march off the map.”
It may be time for you to march outside the map you have created for your life or perhaps someone else created for you. If I had listened to my high school career counselor, I would be a funeral home worker right now. Nothing wrong with that profession, but that wasn’t what was in my future.
If you strongly feel it is time to exit your current profession, then start looking beyond the edges of your map. Begin the planning process. Please understand you don’t have to leave your 9-5 today. There is nothing stopping you from calculating this move carefully. You can take a few purposeful steps, such as:
● Educating yourself on what it takes to start a new business. Do some in depth research online or take a business course for novices.
● Talking to people you know who are in business. Get their advice, hear their stories of breaking through their own fear barriers.
● Starting your business idea as a side hustle until you reach the point of no return. In other words, if your part time business idea ticks your financial checkboxes and shows great promise then the rest of the details will fall into place once you make it a full-time effort.
Here’s a challenge for this week: if you’re wrestling with the idea of taking a permanent leave of absence from your current work situation, take a pit stop and allow yourself a few moments to look into your future. Roll out your “life map” and imagine what it looks like beyond the borders. It could be time for you to march off your map, out of the “known areas” and into a more fulfilling place. A place where you can design, create, and manage your own future.