If you're anything like me, working that 9 - 5 just doesn't cut it for you. You wanna travel, see the world and meet new people! Not live your life behind a desk and computer screen right? We live our whole lives led to believe that's the only way to earn, the only way to make money and the only way to live.
Society teaches us that climbing up the corporate ladder or making more money determines your success. Umm, sorry! I refuse to believe that and nor would I ever follow that paradigm. The true determinant of success is happiness. I know, cheesy but it's true. If you feel: happy, fulfilled and satisfied with what you do, that is more of a success to me rather than how much digits you have in that bank account. Success is actually looking forward to a new day and not having to wait when the weekend comes around.
Choose a job you LOVE and you will never have to work a day in your life - Confucious
I know what you're thinking... I'm just another hippie with unrealistic dreams! What about the bills? responsibilities? expenses? Take a breather man, before you sit so comfortably on that judgemental chair of yours. Now, I'm not saying ditch your stable job before actually having a road map or the actual determination in pursuing what you're passionate about. Without these 2 things, I'm not gonna sugar coat it, but you are doomed. There has to be a clear cut vision of what you want to do and how you intend on doing it. This will still require a great deal of hustle on your part. You still have to work for it. There will be high points and low points, you just have to learn how to tune out the low ones. And because, I know that I've personally struggled with this, I want to help you in getting there faster!
Here are the things you have to achieve before even thinking of putting behind those "9 - 5 job stability" days...
1) KNOW WHAT YOUR PASSION IS
Believe it or not, this is actually the hardest point! Knowing what your passion is may come naturally to some, but can pose as a challenge to others.
Figuring out what your passion is, is the number one step in unlocking your artrepreneurial career.
For the longest time I was confused myself. I majored in Marketing as an undergrad since it was so broad and acted as an umbrella to much more specified jobs. Then when I graduated, I decided to do a Master's Degree in Journalism. I know, crazy right? It took no time for me to figure that it's not what I wanted to do at all. I dropped out after exactly one semester and looked at Graphic Design as an option. I figured Graphic Design was the closest thing to being "creative" and "artistic" and it was a career that was in demand, so I knew I'd never struggle financially. This was actually further than the truth. After I obtained my Master of Arts in Graphic Design, I worked as a Designer for many years at a company and since I could barely pay my bills, I would freelance simultaneous projects. And because I wasn't genuinely enjoying what I was doing, it was a chore! I couldn't identify myself as a Graphic Designer - in my opinion, it was just a skill I possessed. Small talk always involves the first and obvious question: "so what do you do?", if you find yourself reluctantly stating what your title, it's not your passion. It's just a job that puts food on the table. So you're gonna ask, how do I find my passion if I don't know what it is? It's all through trial and error via life experiences.
2) STOP MAKING EXCUSES
Time for some tough love here, but you have to sack up. It is SO EASY to fall in our own traps and give in to the reasons we genuinely believe this "won't work". Things like:
it's not the right time
I don't have the time for it
there is too much competition
society will never approve
I won't be taken seriously
I don't know how?
are not excuses at all! I repeat, these are not excuses! If you don't have the time, then make the time. If you can eat that piece of dessert even after being completely stuffed, I know for a fact you can fit in time in your busy schedule. If you don't know how to do it, find out. The internet is one of man's greatest inventions, you wouldn't even have to get out of the house to find the information you need to make your dreams happen (I'm not encouraging laziness here, just merely stating that you have the power to bring the right tools to yourself). I'm originally from Egypt and in a third world country like that, there is a substantial gap between the upper and lower class. If you weren't a doctor, engineer, marketer, architect, working for a multinational or [insert desk job here], you are no good! When I first told my family I wanted to do henna, they passively nodded but their only term was that I wasn't allowed to take appointments in Egypt, it only had to be abroad because of "prestige". Would you believe if I told you they're actually now encouraging me to move back to launch my henna business there since I'd be a pioneer?
If you go past the excuses, people will take you seriously even if they haven't at first.
Now regarding competition - believe it or not, competition is a good thing. It means there's a demand for what you want to offer and it will also motivate you to do better.
3) HAVE A ROAD MAP
You'll find me saying this A LOT because it's so darn important, but you need to have a road map or at least some idea of it.
You can't just up and quit without really knowing what you're going to do. You have to PLAN PLAN PLAN - to the very last detail.
Give yourself realistic goals. My friends often teased me about how organized I am, but in reality it's significantly helped me. I have a calendar that jots down every single thing I did for the last 5 years - I kid you not! It's colour coded too: personal stuff, work, etc. Create targets for yourself and aim towards them while considering a time frame for them. By being organized and having a road map, you can compare your achievements to your task/goals list which will help capture the things that's worked and the things that hasn't. It's easy for us to go just with the flow but if you shift your mentality and your attitude, your dream will turn into a reality much sooner than later.
4) CANCEL OUT THE WHITE NOISE
There will always be incidents or people that will make you second guess yourself. It's not to say these people want to see you fail, it's just we are all have been seriously wired and programmed to believe there is ONE way to earn a living and that's by being stable and working for someone else. You need to scratch that out.
Don't have people influence you in believing why this won't work.
And honestly, I wouldn't counter argue either. This only shows them that you're being defensive. In incidents like these, I often smile and express appreciation that they wanted to watch out for me. But because I knew a I had I concrete plan in my head, it got easier and easier to cancel out that white noise. I was in full conviction that this was the way to go and that nothing can stop me. That's not to say I never doubted myself. Believe me, I used to look at my own reflection contemplating endlessly if I would "ever make it". Your journey will be the classic from "zero" to "hero" story. You just have to be determined and persistent by not giving in to what others say.
So before you decide to leave your job, these are the 4 pillars in your checklist:
Knowing what your passion is and make it grow
Stop giving in to excuses and adopt a more positive attitude
Be organized by having a road map and vision to where you want to take this
Cancel the white noise and eliminate the self doubt