So you have spent all your crucial years working away in a 9 to 5 job and now you feel stuck. You have lived a lifetime in a structured environment, made out of power figures (friends, parents, teachers, boss), commands and control, deadlines, grades, incentives and bonuses, cultural or societal pressures, etc. And then… you finally decided to take the red pill to restart your life. You’re out of that space now. You left your job, and for the first time in your life, you are in charge of driving the decision through your own dynamic. Now what? Here’s a cue first.
Is it OK to Feel a Little Lost?
Absolutely, almost everyone has been there. You might have left your corporate job for many reasons, personal or professional. Still, it’s normal to sometimes miss the comfort zone it once created for you, the numbing effect of the command as now you’re on your own, the injunction and guilt when you see your “super busy” colleagues working a normal 9 to 5, and so on. You know it was toxic, but it’s still some kind of dynamic you used to get attached to it for so long kept you there.
Now, suddenly it’s all on you. You will need to redefine your own dynamic in order to recreate the life you always desired. Obviously, the bright sides of creating your own job are more than just calling it great: purpose, freedom, creativity, empowerment being a few most popular ones. Still, there is the other side to the coin as well — the doubts that could freeze you:
Is this decision the right one? What if I fail? What is it that I really want from myself? Is there an audience who I could serve? Why would people trust me now as I have already quit my forte? How can I keep my motivation and faith while facing all these questions at once?
These questions are normal, and purely sensible, even if they can be overwhelming to a few of us. After all those years of chasing “security” in life, feeling this way does not mean that you are ungrateful or spoiled on anything, or that you have made a mistake on quitting your job at any stage of life. You have initiated a major change which would take a while to digest. Remember, change is hard, even if it’s for the best you could hope of.
You can be proud. This too will pass soon.
Navigating Your Emotions
Once everything settles down, you will learn to navigate all these “new” emotions for your own benefit. An effective way to create the shift is to see these feelings as an opportunity to test and design your own work style & rhythm. Ask yourself, What kind of organization and environment fits you the best, as much as the nature of the tasks you want to perform or the ones you’re doing. You might have a lot of skills that you must have been developing over the course of years, you might even already be an expert in some field, but tell yourself, that it’s OK.
Now, ask yourself that one single question: Do these skills give you a “f*ck yeah!” feeling when you open eyes and get ready for work in the morning?
If the answer is yes, awesome! If the answer is no, hold on to it a little while — they will help you create some income streams while you’re figuring things out for yourself. But remember that your new life will require you to fully indulge yourself the questions you have always been repressing about: What really works? What doesn’t work? What frustrates you the most over a course? What are your success patterns of life? How does your ‘magic’ charm operate? What are the tasks that empower you the most to achieve the best?
These can be a bit hard to answer at first. Please don’t rush it to any extent. Eventually, you will find your way as long as you keep exploring the options to achieve your dream. Just keep asking yourself the right questions. You did not quit your job to keep on feeling trapped in a skill set that doesn’t fit your true version!
To thrive in this new environment, you will need to learn to keep the things going on a momentum.
Here are a few pieces of advice on how to do that:
Work from a Coworking Space that has a Community Focus
Why? Two simple reasons:
You already know that being in a productive & healthy work environment brings the right structure to your work life. Probably the one which you always desired in your life.
A coworking space with a community focus — like Empowerers Coworking City — creates a real opportunity to connect with people who are like-minded. In places like these, you will benefit from all the think tanks, networking gurus, skill shares, and social events. You will meet fellow members who believe in sharing and co-creating various concepts. You will be in a place that’s stimulating, open-minded, creative, spirited and filled with multi-disciplinary people. All these things are gold when you are looking to create a new business for yourself, or in a stage where you are considering other options for your life to switch on.
Find Your ‘Tribe’
There is nothing worse than feeling alone in any stage of life. You need to be around people, people who are like you, but you will need to be careful in choosing who you will surround yourself with. A tip here, always choose people who acknowledge your potential, who are able to see beyond your fears, who look around and see opportunities instead of blocks while building anything, who can stimulate and support you in the moment of need, and get what you are going through in any stage of life.
The harsh truth is that all those things might be very difficult to find when you’re still stuck in your burst of the corporate bubble. Make sure that you spend some time to identify good people to surround yourself with and find your tribe which could help you rediscover yourself.
Some coworking spaces do offer accountability opportunities and/or mastermind group activities. They’re a good place to start and also, would help you when you’re looking to find your ‘tribe’.
Remember, You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with, so be very careful about their thinking, mindsets, and how they make you feel as a person. Choose wisely when making the final decision on whom to keep in your life.
Manage Your Energy, & Not Your Time
One of the main motivations that people carry inside of them is that when they are looking to break their corporate chains, is to develop a balance over work-life. You know that you don’t want to become self-employed only to feel more drained, more-consumed or to become even more workaholic person than you already are.
Yes, if you create your own business, you will be having a lot of work on your plate (so, if you are trying to run away from work, don’t restart). And, you will also discover that some things simply take more time and that your initial idea might most likely be as far as you could reach over a point. You will learn that when you force things you will meet resistance and that less is often more in life. Being aware of it will help you to deal with various stages of life, though it won’t fully prevent you from going through the hard stuff.
Good news: there are ways to really ease in this new life, 2 most common ones to the state are to create momentum and maintain balance. The solution is to shift your approach to productivity and on the way, maintain your energy levels and not your time. Lastly, be sure to use self-awareness for professional empowerment.
How Can One Do it?
Are you thinking about how to empower the life you always desired? Here are a few ways,
Connect to your ‘natural’ rhythm
You are a living organism that follows a cycle called circadian rhythm, the day and night cycle. Its time to discover this cycle for yourself and stick to it.
Know how do your different tasks affect your body energy levels
Tasks are like people: you got the empowering ones, the neutral ones (a bit boring, but ok), and the draining ones. Knowing what tasks go in that category. Classification would help you to know more about yourself: A minimum of 60% of your time should be dedicated to empowering tasks, in order to be able to face the 40% remaining. In dictionaries, we call it ‘balance’.
Start by answering these questions
What are your best and worst moments during the day? What time does your body naturally wake up in the morning and requests you to go back to bed? What are the most suitable moments to eat? When do you feel like exercising? A quick exercise would not just help you discover, but too would make you self-aware.
Create frames & routines for work
Recreate the minimal structure that puts you in the zone to get things done. Create work-starting and closing rituals. Asses purpose to specific days of the week and keep a slot to relax if you put some hard work over your head.
In order to be productive, take 15 to 20 minutes breaks on average every 90 minutes period. It helps your brain to rest and regenerate work energy in order to keep you going. Breaks are the key to real productivity & balance.
Setup your priorities right
Once you are by yourself, it is more likely that you might fall inside the “everything is important” trap. There are tools to help you identify your priorities, through energy consumption or added-value. Put them to your use and be upright about what is important to you each day.
You will need to define boundaries, towards yourself, your family, your work and your clients. Being self-aware is the key to define what is non-negotiable, and also what kind of compromises can be handled & performed. This is important so that you don’t feel overwhelmed, or over-constrained while hustling over a task.
Lastly, be sure to take baby steps. Before you’ll know it, you’re going to rock this new journey of yours!