Back in 2009, I awoke one day to a world that didn’t make sense with me in it. I had bounced from one office gig to another, working first in management for an intermodal transport company, next as a manager at two different call center facilities that offered tech support for high end products ($$$). These jobs offered lucrative pay, vacations out the wazoo, great benefits, yada-yada-yada. Like most people leading a passionate-less existence, it just wasn’t enough.
I found myself working at an oil change facility back at that spot in time nearly 7 years ago now. I’d had it being an office drone. The people I worked with were a different sort of people than I’d spent my 20’s working with, but they were real, decent, truly good people. And still consider all of them friends to this day. Still, the pay was crappy, dealing with customers who became incensed when they learned their oil change cost $50+ was crappy — and driving 40 minutes to work every morning had become a near-insurmountable task that I’d just became fed up with.
I’d always had dreams of grandeur. Particularly when it came to working online. Setting my own hours and “creating” my own income seemed like more fantasy than reality at this point.
I knew I wanted to dive in headfirst and learn everything I could about the online thing. I knew I had to do something different this time around, so instead of being pragmatic, as I’d been raised to be, I dove into my new life with unabashed vigor and never looked back.
Following are the steps and ideologies I used to change my destiny forever:
Turn “Someday” Into TODAY
Someday is a nice fantasy. I spent nearly 3 decades living the life I wanted inside the confines of my own skull. Telling everyone that would listen about my grand plans to start a business, become a freelance expert at something that people would pay me thousands a day to fix for them — someday that is.
The problem was that “someday” didn’t have an opening night. There was no start or end date. No plan of action to start from scratch that would set in place the trajectory needed to get from A to B and beyond.
That all changed back in November 2009. I’m now a successful freelancer, who travels when he wants, takes a day off whenever he needs it, and who generally controls most aspects of my life without having to answer to big corporate like I once did. I’m also in the best shape of my life. Exercise and eating right are so much easier when you’re not in a hurry to get to work in the morning, or feeling rushed on a half-hour or hour-long lunch break.
It wasn’t easy, but looking back: it’s a heck of a lot easier than being a shipmate as opposed to the Captain himself.
Typical Mental Hurdles That Get in People’s Way
- Fear of change
- I’m “comfortable” now and that’s good enough
- Fear of the unknown
- I’m too tired
- Fear of failure
- I’m just not good enough
- Don’t have time to change (seriously?)
- “The Lottery Dream” — everything’s just going to happen if I just wait it out
- There’s too many steps to get where you want — ie., it’s too hard
- I don’t know how to do any of this
These and all others are complete B.S.!
So the first step is letting go of excuses. If you’re an unshakeable pessimist, you have to let this side of yourself go first.
If you’re an eternal pessimist, you have to let this side of yourself go before designing the life you truly want for yourself.
I can’t tell any of you how to find your true calling in life. However, if you have an idea of what you’d like to do (if you only could), here are a few tips I’ve used to design my own life of entrepreneurial freedom:
1. Find a purpose:
Like I said, neither I, nor anyone else can really help you figure out what you want from your life. Pick a dream, any dream. You want to be a singer, hollywood star, tech mogul, etc. This will be the starting point of your journey toward a new life.
2. Cultivate that desire:
Great! You’ve decided on your current life’s ambition. Don’t let it fester on the back-burner and turn to useless charcoal. All that’s needed now is a plan and action toward its achievement. You’re on track. I spent every morning on my way to work envisioning what a life of freedom away from the rat-race would feel like. Then reminded myself every time a customer or co-worker made my blood pressure skyrocket. This works, but like Tony Robbins often quips: The only way is to turn “shoulds” into “musts”.
3. Make it happen:
It’s action time now. Don’t waste precious time dreaming about what could be. Take an action every day toward your eventual goal. I spent hours at night pouring over everything I could about freelancing and “making money online”. This is where I learned to be a meticulous researcher; a skill that helps me to make more money at home than I ever did at a J.O.B. If you have no time, you’re lying. Everyone who uses this excuse for why they can’t be happy is totally hopeless, in my opinion. Get out of whatever funk is holding you back and push forward.
4. Make the right connections:
Since my goal was to work remotely, I spent a lot of time on marketing forums and getting to know people who were part of the MMO scene at the time, which was still in its early stages (just as the “berry bushes” started to wither and die). This was one of the smartest things I ever did, since I don’t really have to drum up work these days. People come to me for the content services I offer and if things were to dry up, I have a wealth of contacts who can quickly help me turn things around. Shy? Suck it up Sally. Nobody ever got anywhere sitting in the corner with their BFF at the school dance.
5. Determine who’s accountable for failures:
And for victories too! As you get going along, you can’t blame anyone else if things aren’t going your way. I struggled with this big time, and still do. We all have to stop ourselves from looking for an out. If the old lady driving her car ahead of you suddenly has a conniption and slams on the brakes, it’s up to you to stop your vehicle to avoid slamming into her. If you do hit her, Officer Brackish is going to give you the ticket, not her. The blame game gives us comfort, but that comfort isn’t conducive to finding a way around barriers. Same with victories. If you blame luck, or give everyone around you credit for your accomplishments, then who are you?
6. Don’t become stagnant:
You might as well dig a hole and take your eternal rest right now if you’re going to allow complacency to set back into your life. You’re on a roll now. Don’t let yourself become bored, fill every day with meaningful actions toward bigger and better things.
Life’s for LIVING!