Sick of your 9-5 but scared to take the leap and chase your dreams? Learn how to follow your passion – without prematurely quitting yo’ job.
Does your job make you miserable?
Do you get the jeebies every Sunday, knowing you’re about to waste another week of your life doing something you’re not passionate about?
Maybe you daydream about quitting (boy, byyyyyye) to finally pursue your dreams.
If this is you – but you’re scared of getting started – I’ve got a few tips that I know will help.
What are you scared of?
I recently listened to Jay Shetty’s podcast episode on following your passion (highly recommended, btw), and he argued that when we have a big dream but we’re not taking action, it’s because we’re scared of being seen starting from zero.
We’re scared of not being good enough. We’re scared of being a total beginner. And we’re scared of putting ourselves out there.
Essentially, we’re scared of being seen.
This is normal; after all, there’s a very real chance that if you decide to follow your passion, people will judge and criticise you.
When I heard Jay say this, I (literally) shouted,
“YES! THIS is what had been stopping me from putting myself out there all these years. I was so worried what people would say”.
What will people say?
As someone who’s reinvented myself more times than I can count (I’m an artiste, darling), I can tell you this for certain – “being seen” NEVER plays out the way we expect it to.
We always think of the worst case scenario:
- People will make fun of me
- Nobody will take me seriously
- My family just won’t get it
- Honestly, who do I think I am???
But in my experience, most people have the opposite reaction.
Instead of criticising, they tend to admire your commitment to taking life by the (metaphorical) balls, and trying to make something happen for yourself. And who knows, you might even inspire them to do the same.
Action step: identify what’s really holding you back from chasing your dreams. Ask yourself what the worst case scenario would be, and notice what comes up.
Everyone’s an amateur
In the podcast episode, Jay recommends checking out the origin stories of people who are where you want to be if you follow your passion.
This is the best frickin’ piece of advice.
Not only does success leave clues (i.e., you can learn strategies that’ll help you replicate their results), but it also leaves PAIN.
Many people I admire – including Jay – have been through it.
They’ve had people laugh at them, tell them they’re crazy, and advise them to give up.
Marie Forleo, one of my absolute heroes, regularly talks about how it took her 7 years of working multiple jobs to reach a point where her business could actually sustain her. The key to her success? In her words, “I just don’t give the f*ck up”.
Listening to these stories can give us hope; everyone has to start somewhere, and most successful people start by working jobs that simply help them get by.
Action step: pick 3 people who’ve done what you want to do, and research their origin stories (interviews, case studies and autobiographies tend to work best).
Use your free time wisely
Let’s be honest, here; life is way too short to spend the majority of our time doing anything other than what we’re truly excited about.
All my life, I’ve worked jobs I disliked. I’ve been: a retail assistant, a bank cashier, an English tutor, a debt collector, a support worker, and a digital marketer (but most recently, hit my personal passion sweet spot as a writer and blogger).
Throughout it all, I wrote.
I was 18 when I started my first blog (so it’s been almost 10 years of this shiz). Writing has always been a passion of mine, and having these projects kept my soul alive whilst I made ends meet.
The point is, working a job you dislike is made a lot easier if you know you’re working on a plan B in your free time (i.e. you follow your passion).
Action step: brainstorm ways you can make more time for your passion projects, including snippets of time such as your daily commute, your lunch break, and evenings.
Follow your passion (but start small)
If you want your passion to replace your income, and you’ve done all the savvy research to show it’s possible, then start making incremental movements towards this.
I personally prefer this approach to quitting cold-turkey; quitting my job without having income from elsewhere would create too much stress for me.
And why put more pressure on?
If your job covers your living expenses, you have the advantage of low financial pressure. Use it.
Take time to learn your craft, experiment with different approaches, and create.
Slow and steady wins the race, my friend.
I’ve started, and failed at, a bunch of different projects over the years, including blogs about:
- Clinical psychology
- Teaching English as a foreign language
- Travel and living abroad
- Location independence
- Sex (which turned into a blog about love)
Despite my frustration, I needed to learn. I needed time to try different things out, and see how they fit. And most of all, I needed to grow.
Bottom line? Starting small = a great start.
Action step: brainstorm ways you can take action to follow your passion – remembering to break down any huge, vague goals into actionable steps.