Is Your Career Making You Schizophrenic?

by | Mar 19, 2013 | Starting Your Own Business | 19 comments

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Chris Lappin.

Y ou’re going around in circles.

One day thinking one thing, the next changing your mind.

You’re not completely unhappy with your job, but you’re not exactly happy either.

It pays the bills and lets you sleep soundly, but there’s this nagging voice saying you could be doing something much more worthwhile and fulfilling. You secretly yearn to fly solo and follow your dream, but just the thought of trading in a secure pay check for a future with no guarantees makes your stomach tighten and brings a tidal wave of negative questions.

Can you make it work? Have you got the skills? Are you too young? Too old?

What if it doesn’t work? What will other people think? Who are you to think you can do this?

When you’re feeling brave, you listen to your heart. What if it did work? Others have, so why shouldn’t you? This would be the making of you. Who cares what other people think! Of course you can do this.

You smile and feel alive. No more boss. No more achieving someone else’s goals. No more boring, mundane work, day-in and day-out.

But then your head chimes in again. Don’t be stupid! You’d be kissing goodbye security, a steady income, holiday pay, sick pay. And what about all that stress and worry? You could lose everything.

And so it goes back and forth. Like you’re two completely different people, trapped inside the same mind.

While this exhausting argument rages, you stay with your feet firmly entrenched in your uncomfortable comfort zone.

When The Head’s Voice Is Louder

I know all those confusing, scary, mixed-up feelings.

After university I took an office job in London that followed the familiar pattern of commute-work-commute-sleep, with fun slotted in at the weekends. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted, but I knew what I didn’t want that for the rest of my life.

I longed to escape and do something different. But I was trapped by my own security, paralysed by the fear of change and imprisoned by my own uncomfortable, comfort zone and self-doubt.

How could I even think about flying solo and being my own boss?

So I listened to my head and followed the 9-5 with great success. I got married and, after having two beautiful babies, I worked part-time.

Perfect.

Our sons were nine months and three years old, and I was a three-day-a-week Operations Director when my husband lost two jobs in as many months. So we did the practical and sensible thing: he became a house-husband and I returned to full-time work. My life was complete: Family. Successful Career. Money.

What I hadn’t planned for was that I would miss my kids so much.

When I came home from work, they were already in bed and my heart ached with the loss. What hurt the most was when my younger son would rush towards me, face beaming, arms raised and call me Daddy–then remember that I was Mummy.

I was jealous of my husband.

Balancing the Practical and the Emotional

I struggled for a year then turned in my briefcase, my shiny business cards and my $5,000 per month directorship to become full-time Mum with a part-time, home-based business where I earned $300 in my first month.

I was really scared.  I suddenly felt like a nobody. A nobody with no money. As I built my business, the savings flooded out of the bank account and we had to move away from London to stay afloat. By now I was chasing money and worried about it every day and every night.

My business was eventually a financial and lifestyle success, but getting there wasn’t easy.  Here are my tough love suggestions to make self-employment work for you.

1. Ignore Your Friends and Family

Unless they’ve been through a career change, you may be misunderstood, ridiculed, or your sanity brought into question. You’ll have to stay strong in the face of criticism and fight your corner. You alone are responsible for your happiness. And your bank balance.

So choose carefully whose advice you take. Someone you trust who can think practically and emotionally. Someone who won’t judge or dismiss your ideas, but won’t agree just to please you.

2. Forget The Rhetoric and Take Action

Merely planning your day and week ahead, sitting at your laptop staring wistfully at your goal-board, won’t keep the wolf from your door.

You should have three types of goals:

  1. Achievement Goals: What do you want to achieve, do, have, and be?
  2. Learning Goals: What do you need to learn in order to achieve?
  3. Activity Goals: What activity are you going to do and when in order to achieve?

Focus on your income generating activities. Focus on numbers 2 and 3, and you’ll achieve number 1.

3. Not Be an Idiot

It’ll probably take longer than expected to enjoy any profit.

You’ll get impatient and frustrated, short-cuts will seduce you, and you’ll lie in an attempt to convince yourself that your laziness is patience.

Forget about the blood, sweat and tears cliché. You’re going to wake up in the night scared to death and wondering what the heck you’re doing. You’ll be stressed, irritable and have to work more hours for less pay than you ever did with a job. And you’ll need to learn new skills in the little spare time you have.

Accept this, embrace this, or don’t do it.

4. Put a Gun To Your Head

If you don’t have a gun to your head, then you’re probably not going to get much done. So, put a gun to your head. Intentionally.  –Jon Morrow

You’re going to need massive, emotional reasons to force you to keep going when you feel like quitting.

A massive ‘why’ so you make the inevitable, inconvenient sacrifices. What will keep you working into the night when those you love think you’ve lost your mind?

How will you stay focused when you’re engulfed by self-doubt, stress, and anxiety?

Will you keep avoiding your deadlines, while avoiding the bills?

Will you say Yes to laziness and No to your kids?

Will you put the hours in now, so you can take time out later?

What will it cost you if you don’t? Who will suffer if you don’t?

Forget the dream of a huge house, a shiny car, and walking on the beaches of the world. How are you going to put food on the table, pay the bills, and look at yourself in the mirror?

An Exciting (and scary) Future

Although at times it was difficult to even get out of bed and look after my kids, I studied from home to be a Life Coach. I then had to learn about running an online business and how to drive traffic to my site through guest blogging (affiliate).

It’s been seriously hard work, it’s taken months just to get set up. I’ve lay awake doubtful, overwhelmed and panicking. But I now have a new home-based business where I‘m a proud Mum and businesswoman.

I’m fulfilling my life’s dream of helping others. I’m excited again. It’s going to work because I’ve learnt from my previous mistakes, balanced the practical with the emotional, done my research, and continue to learn from my mentors.

I’ve stopped coasting on dreams and put that metaphorical gun to my head.

Are you ready for your new future?

There doesn’t need to be a battle. Your cowardly, practical head and your reckless, passionate heart can co-exist.

You already possess most of what you already need to make your idea work. You have amazing resources that you can draw on. You have strengths and experiences you’ve probably forgotten about. You have dreams, passion, and a fire in your belly to make it work.

Maybe it’s your time to feel energised and fulfilled again. Your time to show the world what you’re capable of. Your time to make a difference. Your time to dare to shine.

Chris Lappin is a blogger and qualified Life Coach with a passion for supporting women who work from home to balance their work and home life so they’re more productive and happier. Her free Improve How Your Work From Home E-course will help you do that and more.