Call it a mid-life crisis, but no matter what age you’re at, it’s possible to feel stuck in that despairing moment when you wish your life was more than what it is. Maybe the moment hit you when you didn’t want to get out of bed one morning. Maybe it hit you in the middle of your after-lunch-lull in the office. Maybe it hit you when you came home to your family one night, only to realize that you hadn’t really talked to them in days.
However it happened, you may now find yourself wanting a drastic change to your lifestyle, which often starts with a change in your career path. It makes sense: we start off with one career because of convenience or needing the money, but years down the road find ourselves in that moment when our lives aren’t what we wanted them to be.
Your first instinct may be to quit now, and start anew as soon as possible. However, caught up in the emotion of the moment, you are more likely to make rash decisions that could hurt your future career.
So before you recklessly quit your 9 to 5 job, here are some beginning steps to consider to successfully make that transition into the life and career you always wanted:
Have a purpose
Just saying, “I want to start over,” with no reason, is going to leave you deflated before you can even begin to make big steps towards change. Ask yourself, “WHY do I want to start over?” or, “WHAT do I want to gain from starting over?” Once you have a true and strong motivation for change, that change suddenly becomes a whole lot more achievable. We often need a purpose before we actually become motivated enough to do something about our situation, especially when it comes to completely starting over.
Let go of past baggage
This may be one of the most difficult suggestions to implement. For some reason, we feel the need to hang on to the things in our lives that weigh us down: directing blame towards someone else for our misfortunes, justifying our weaknesses because “that’s just who I am,” holding onto hurt thinking that it will bring swifter justice on those who have wronged us, etc. The list could go on and on.
If starting over is something you desperately want, then make the decision to put behind all these pieces of your life that aren’t moving you forward. Evaluate and see what is helping you progress towards that life goal you see for yourself and for your career, and walk away from the rest.
Don’t sit and wait for something big to happen
If you’re just expecting the answers to come to you of what you should do with your life, or how to feel more fulfilled in your career, then you’re looking at change with the wrong mindset. Major changes in our lives can sometimes be the product of happenstance, but more often than naught, change occurs because we choose it.
Online entrepreneur, Pat Flynn, got his successful start after being fired from his steady job. But he says that if he were to do it again, he would have jumped on the opportunities of his online business long before he was forced to find a new source of income. He says that from his experience he learned that, “We all have the option to either be on offense or on defense. Those who are on offense are in control. It’s internal motive that creates a customized output. Those who are on defense take action based on external factors. They react. And as such, a lot of that control is given up,” and as Flynn explains, a lot of those opportunities could potentially be missed. So don’t be reactive and just wait for your career path to change for the better. Take action on the opportunities right under your nose!
Don’t make excuses, just do it
If you keep rationalizing why this isn’t the right time to start over, then it never will be the right time. Stepping into an uncertain future is frightening, but go back to those original motives you created. Remember your “why” and take the leap. Change always appears harder until we actually take the first step. But soon each step after that becomes a walk in the park.
But have a plan first
However, before you just do it, first think through your decision. Like was mentioned earlier, quitting your job without a plan may make you feel like Jerry Maguire for a moment, but it won’t feel as empowering when the bills start rolling in and you still haven’t gained tractions with your business idea.
Set aside some time to write down your ideas, specifically your vision for the future and how exactly you plan on getting there. No matter how good an idea, without proper plans and tasks to get there that idea becomes more like a pipe dream.
You have what it takes to succeed at starting over. Take note of what your highest priorities and goals are, and create a plan from there. Look at what skills and passions you bring to the table, as well, what is it that inspires and motivates you. Then search for opportunities available to you within your scope. Don’t ever be afraid to push yourself or afraid to just begin. You’ll be amazed at how successful you can be if you only put in these first steps towards success.