NOTE: This is a guest post by Cristina Ansbjerg
I am writing this post while sitting in the garden, under the sun. I have my laptop, a glass of freshly made orange juice and sunscreen because it’s a hot summer day. How does it sound?
This is how I make a living. I can decide where and how I want to work.
Would you call this a desirable life? I would. I actually do.
You might think I am a privileged for that. But it’s not true. I had to fight and work hard to design my life. I still do it. I work very hard. The difference is that now I enjoy it. I love it. And I also have time for other things.
Let me explain you very shortly how my life was before…Like most people, when I finished my studies I took a job in the corporate world. It wasn’t from 9 to 5. It was from 9 to 8 (9.30 or 10 in the evening if it was the month’s end).
You know how it goes: Five days almost living at the office and two days to rest. On weekends I was so tired that I didn’t have energy for anything but sleeping and watching TV. I gave up reading books, one of my favorite hobbies ever. In two years I read no more than 3 books. Just so you can compare, in the last six months I’ve read 11.
During the first year of my corporate job, it wasn’t too bad. The second year, the work became very repetitive and boring. And in the third year I was completely demotivated. I wasn’t aware of this back then, but I am the kind of person who needs action and passion at my job. I have to do something I believe in. Then I am unstoppable. Otherwise I die slowly inside like a plant without water.
If you somehow relate to this story pay attention because I am going to tell you how to get the life you want and deserve.
1. What do you want?
Before anything else you need to know exactly what you want. Changing your life without a goal is a sure way to fail.
Do you want to make more money, spend more time with your family, be your own boss, work in something that means something to you?
Motivation is the key. It is never enough to know that you don’t like what you get now. You need to find out how exactly you want your life to be. That will push you up in the difficult moments.
2. Be realistic
Daydreaming is common when you want to change your life. Visualize the life you want. However -this is very important- don’t lose all contact with reality.
Don’t try to be the next Bill Gates just because you know a lot stuff about computers. Don’t try to build “the next Facebook”, you’re not Mark Zuckerberg.
Use those guys and other similar as role models if you want, learn from their example, but set your own goals, according to who you are, your skills and your abilities.
Also, keep in mind that probably you will have to get rid of many things that now you consider indispensable. Expensive holidays, gym membership, a second car. These are just some examples.
I am not saying you have to ditch all those things. I’m only saying that you have be ready to break some attachments if it’s necessary.
The main reason why you don’t quit your job is because at the end of the month you get your money in the bank. As an entrepreneur things don’t work exactly the same way. Especially not in the beginning. Maybe you won’t be able to afford extra TV channels for a while. But hey, I don’t know anybody who died for that reason.
There will be a period of transition and adjustment. Don’t expect to change your whole life overnight. Once that period is over, the reward is awesome.
3. Believe in yourself
Self-esteem is necessary whenever you try to get control over your life. If you don’t have it you’d better start working on it. There are a lot of resources out there to help you improve it.
You can’t change your life if you don’t believe you can do it
There will be many people -friends and family- who will not support your decision. They will push you to reconsider your goal. If you are not confident in yourself you will give up probably sooner than later.
Don’t be afraid if the people in your circle don’t share or don’t understand your decision. Listen to their arguments and keep them in mind. After that, if you want to go ahead then do it. Those people are trying to help you, but they don’t know what it is to be in your shoes. Nobody knows it better than you.
4. Fight your resistance and fears
In order to change your lifestyle you will have to put yourself out of your comfort zone. Like I said before, there is a transition period until you get used to the new life and create a new comfort zone.
There is an internal resistance in your brain that will try to convince you not to do it. It will activate your fears if it’s necessary. Anything to stop you.
This resistance is a primitive mechanism -we all have it. Seth Godin said it best:
“The resistance is the voice in the back of our head telling us to back off, be careful, go slow, compromise. The resistance is writer’s block [...]“
That voice is your fear to fail. Don’t let it win. We regret the things we didn’t do more than the things we did and failed.
5. Be a doer, not a thinker
There are a lot of guys with great ideas. You can hear them talking about them, writing blogs about them, dreaming about changing the world and the way things are done. There’s only one problem. Those ideas will never become a reality. Probably they’ve planned every single detail but those guys never seem to be ready to put their ideas into practice. They are thinkers, not doers.
Planning is important but it’s only a phase of the process. An idea is worth nothing if you don’t put it into practice.
6. Don’t jump to an empty pool
I mean, don’t quit your job too early. You don’t need to rush. Don’t quit until you have a backup.
Wait until the pool has at least enough water to not break your neck against the floor when you jump.
7. Be committed
To your decision and to the work it implies. Freedom is amazing but like anything worth it, the road to get it is full of obstacles and moments when you feel like giving up. Be strong and don’t let it catch you by surprise. The reward is extraordinary.
So now tell us. What are you going to do for yourself? Are you a doer or a thinker?
About the Author
Image: Credit Unknown.