Quitting isn't always an option ... here's how to make your "not ideal" job work FOR you.
Whether you deem it a "calling," "purpose," "Dharma," or "life's work," when you have that ah-ha moment of discovering "it", you will likely feel both exhilarated ... and frustrated.
Why? Because the moment you figure out your personal purpose, you'll likely realize that your current job has almost nothing to do with the work you now feel meant to do in this lifetime.
I know; you've heard that "when you do what you love", everything comes up roses. The problem with that is—you can't pay your mortgage or buy groceries with happy thoughts and metaphoric roses, now can you?
Frustration with where you are soons turns to deep dissatisfaction because you're in that scary, uncertain giant space between your current reality and the life of your dreams. You tell yourself that you hate your job and that your life would be perfect if you could pursue your purpose instead of working this job you hate.
You crave a dramatic (read: quick-but-please-let-it-be-painless) change that moves you farther along the road to your dreams. This time thing is driving you crazy. The waiting; the wishing; the living in limbo. So, the question becomes, what can you do to make limbo more tolerable? (Dare I even say: enjoyable?)
How can you best bridge the space between where you are now, and fully living your personal purpose in life?
Here are 9 ways to move from a job you hate to a purpose-filled career you love:
1. Accept where you are at this moment.
It's normal for our human brains to believe that an instant change will make our lives better. We believe that if our job was different, or if we lived in a new house, we'd feel more successful. I hate to break it to you, kitten, but living with if-then thinking only keeps you stuck.
You see, the only way to move forward in life is to realize (and accept) that your journey can only begin from exactly where you are. If you wait to pursue your dreams until things are just right, you'll never move forward.
2. Quitting your day job isn't the answer.
The average business or new creative venture takes at least three years to get off the ground and, baby, you have bills to pay. Look at your personal purpose as your heart; but, as Pam Slim (author of Escape from Cubicle Nation) advises, keep your side gig so that you can comfortably pay your bills.
There is no shame in having a purpose ... health insurance ... and groceries.
3. Find joy now.
The single best piece of advice about surviving life in limbo (especially when you don't have a job that fits you quite right) is to find something to love within your current situation.
Hate your job? Really? Every single minute of it? Is there any moment of the day or portion of your job that you enjoy ... even a little bit? Focus on that. Really dig one particular activity? Lavish it with effort and affection. Channel the essence of your purpose into your current job.
I recently coached a gal who wanted to become a life coach. She began weaving that purpose into the way she trains and treats new hires, and the people who report to her. She decided to start developing and honing her mentoring skills now, in her traditional job, while she works toward launching a full-time coaching practice.
No matter how miserable you are, when you find something to love in your present circumstances, you always win. So, ask yourself—what is beautiful (or at least bearable) about the now? What makes you feel alive? Pour your energy into that.
4. Ask for adjustments at your current job.
Are there any single tasks you absolutely loathe that a co-worker loves? Or, are there interesting responsibilities within the organization that you could take over? Are there other positions within the company that seem like a better channel for your purpose? Think up some options and talk to your manager.
If you know leaving is on the horizon, how can you make the most of your remaining time? Make a list of skills worth learning, or relationships worth cultivating. Do your job and do it well, but also focus on how your job can also work for YOU.
5. Don't buy into magic formulas.
There are a lot of programs, books, and self-professed gurus out there who will tell you they have the magic formula to easily reaching the life of your dreams. The honest truth is that there is no secret formula or magic sauce for turning your purpose into a lucrative career. Invest in a good business coach or mentor, but don't waste oodles of money on anything that promises an easy or quick fix.
6. There is no such thing as overnight success.
Every single "overnight success" story actually occured after years on an uncertain path. We only recognize their effort when they finally pop onto our radar (seemingly overnight) but they were striving all along. Be willing to do the work that will build the life or career you want. Take courses, create a website, and seek out those first paying gigs. Tomorrow's success begins with actions you take today.
7. Do some research to gain clarity.
Sure, our culture loves to say things like: "do what you love," "be yourself," and create a career around that; but, explore several options to find what's true for you. Talk to people in your desired field of work to see how long it took to make their business successful and sustainable. You may discover that your personal purpose is better as a hobby than a career, or you may realize that you're ready to take courage by the horns and follow your purpose and passion full-time.
8. There will be consequences if you choose to leave your job.
So, get clear about those consequences. We think leaving will be a clean and easy solution—like cutting a rope—but, usually it's messy and less idyllic than we thought it would be. It takes courage to leave behind a steady paycheck and pursue your purpose full-time. You may think I'm trying to discourage you from pursuing your purpose, but I'm not.
From experience, I know that in order to create a life that is sustainable, it takes time and demands that you face your fears.
9. Create a strategic plan.
If you want to create a purpose-centered business that provides you with your daily bread and butter, fortify the structure you need to succeed—a business plan, financial goals, and marketing plans. Decide how much money you need in savings to sustain your lifestyle, and become dedicated to building that nest egg.
Pursuing your personal purpose as a full-time gig is incredibly rewarding. Don't confuse having a regular job that helps pay the bills as a failure to living that purpose. Channel it into your life where you are, as you can, and treat yourself with kindness and grace along the way.