“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.”
― Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth
Do you have the great job or perhaps a company you built from the ground up that you are proud of? Perhaps you are moving along pretty well, making some great money.
You have the nice car, go on a few nice vacations per year, and perhaps have a house or two. You may even be a millionaire BUT you still feel dread and boredom when thinking about or doing your job.
Your days are filled with way too little sleep, way too much caffeine, and way too monotonous routines. You may throw up in your mouth a little and you have been “this close” to just throwing it all away a few times.
Just when you thought you “figured it out” you realized that “IT” wasn’t IT! You are great at making money, building a system, or starting a company BUT you painted yourself into a damn corner and you have no clue how you are going to get yourself out.
You go between feeling lucky and feeling stupid for not being happy when others cannot even find job let alone make great money and be “successful.” You can go through life “accepting” it or you can do something about it. I chose the latter and you can too.
Today I am making less money than I’d like (but that’s my ego talking) or that I am used too yet my quality of life is really extraordinary. I may be taking it to a little bit of an extreme because I feel like I missed out on lots of travel experiences in my 20’s that I am now determined to take, but the thought process is the same.
I don’t see the point in making lots of money IF it means being miserable. I see that as moving in the wrong direction. Remember; when you die you don’t take your money with you. Your house and cars don’t come either.
So what’s next? Well, admitting it and not having guilt around it is the first step. It’s hard to tell yourself that the “financial dream” you sought out is a bunch of crap and that you are burning away the best years of your life for a deferred time in the future.
Some of the wealthiest people I know are also the most miserable. Remember, no one cares how much money you have. No one cares about your status. No one cares about your expensive toys.
Achieving your financial goals is never as fulfilling and as exciting as you thought it would be. Your plan of lounging on the beach for a few years under a palm tree goes out to door quickly once you realize that you have lost the ability to relax and do nothing. You are on the hamster wheel of life and you cannot get off.
So how do I break the habit?
The next is the fun part. There is not enough room on this blog post to map this entire process out but I will give you the cliff notes (to be completely detailed in a book in the near future).
If you are an employee you have it the easiest to make a big change. Most employees that are doing well get just enough pats on the back to make them feel appreciated and just enough praise from their superiors to make them feel guilty for leaving. It’s a trap that is easily seen and seldom broken.
So how do you escape the trap?
• I first suggest you consider being a consultant because if you are making great money and your company likely thinks you are valuable, you could make as much money in less time with more autonomy as a consultant.
To be a consultant you need to have to fortitude to take some risk but the rewards can be outstanding. This is the approach I took.
I now work a fraction of the hours I used to, make really good money, everything I do is a write off, AND most importantly I get to work on my passion play which happens to be THIS BLOG!
If this sounds like this is for you, this is the route I would take:
o Look for a service or expertise you could provide to your industry that companies would pay for. (New sales, new clients, internal training, strategy, etc.)
o Find a consult or two in your industry or field and have a conversation with them. Be honest with them and let them know your interest in becoming a consultant.
o Create a gameplan based on the consultant you most related too and had what you considered the best quality of life. (note: you may eventually be teammates and be able to help each other bring in business)
o Figure out how much money you would need to survive on and feel comfortable with.
o Try to get a client or two while you are working full time. Yes this will take some work and some longer hours but remember you are trying to unlock more hours in your life to work on what makes you passionate. Who knows, it may be consulting.
• If you are determined to stay employed its time to design your ideal job. Don’t think about what interests you but actually design your ideal job.
o First- write down all of the things you want out of a dream job. Try to write 20 or so. (autonomy, more money, residual income, respect, excitement, praise, more vacation, fun, etc.)
o Second- circle the ones that mean the most to you. Perhaps circle 3-5.
o Third- look at the 3-5 you circled. These are most likely what is lacking in your current career and why you feel a lack of passion and excitement.
o Fourth- find a job with these 3-5 things you want most. If you cannot find them in your current field, you are in the wrong field.
o Fifth- don’t stop looking until you have designed your ideal job.
If you own a business or are an entrepreneur AND you’re still miserable don’t feel like you are alone. I know plenty of successful and uber successful business owners that are not ultimately happy.
Just recently I spoke with a very successful entrepreneur that owns a website that produces a few million per year and he himself is a millionaire. He told me his life was filled with stress. He is revered throughout his world as “making it” but ultimately his success is empty if he cannot find fulfillment and happiness from within.
In the case of entrepreneurs I find that the biggest issue they have is not being able to let go. Ultimately the business has become “their baby” and they don’t trust anyone touching it.
If you fall under this umbrella look at the way your business is run. You may not only be getting in the way of your own happiness by not being a good delegator but you may also be getting in the way of your businesses growth because you are not pushing your baby out of the nest to go fly.
I know this sounds like pie in the sky bullshit but there is really a happy medium between making money, being secure, and being fulfilled. I am not saying I know the exact equation for everyone but I have an idea based on my own life experiences and in talking to hundreds of others.
Whether and employee or a entrepreneur we often get caught in traps that from the outside seem like “success” but on the inside we always desire more and more and more to the extent that we never make it there.
Getting off the hamster wheel is so very difficult to many of us and it may take years of pain before we actually decide to do something about if anything at all.
Why not live your passions? Why not wake up everyday excited for what it has in store for you? The reality is you are going to die someday. What are you waiting for????