One of the most difficult decisions you will ever make in your professional life is deciding when to leave a company or even pursue a completely different career path. It can be both daunting and exciting at the same time. In my case, I spent 15 years at IBM working in Finance, Sales and Client Management. It was a very rewarding and lucrative career that afforded many of the blessings I have today. However, there was something missing and I felt I was not fulfilling my calling in life which was to serve people and provide the world with value and content that matched my inherent capabilities. I was making a living but not a life. I was paying the bills but living to my full potential. I would find myself presenting to large clients and almost every meeting would conclude with them asking me a health or functional medicine question. So what did I do? I decided to leave corporate IT and become an entrepreneur in my area of expertise which is functional medicine and motivation. I will outline the steps and actions you need to take if you are looking to do the same and finally make the transition from working for someone to being your own boss. In the past year, I have built a business with over 200 patients/clients, published my first book, just completed my second book, created a top ranked Podcast on health and nutrition, built a membership community on our website and have multiple courses due for release in April 2016. I mention this to show you what you can accomplish in less than 365 days and that anything is possible if you implement the following concepts.
Education is absolutely paramount in any endeavour that you wish to pursue. I spent four years at Ryerson University and conventional education is great and I recommend it for some but my greatest growth and development came from continual education once I completed my undergrad degree and entered the workforce. I took nutrition courses at college, a personal training certification, Information Technology certifications, functional medicine programs and recently graduated from Functional Diagnostic Nutrition (FDN) in 2014. Completing this program was life changing for me and my patients/clients. It allowed to me to see that you can serve many people from all over the world. You can use the internet (skype, google hangouts, etc.) and reach an audience that needs what you have to offer. The take away is that I never stopped learning and you should always enhance and develop your skillset. This world is changing at an extremely fast pace and to become valuable and remain relevant, you must adapt and grow as well. As Jim Rohn once said, "It's really simple, if you want life to change, you have to change. If you want life to get better, you have to get better. It is the only way it happens. Luck will show up for people and leave them. If you improve and give more in your life, then it is game over." I implore you to keep learning and improving yourself. It can come from listening to free podcasts, reading books, taking courses, etc. There is no shortage of information in this world that complements your interests.
Second Step: Rituals and Standards
The second area that you will need to pay very close attention to are your rituals and standards. There is no such thing as an overnight success. That person put in many years of hard work behind the scenes when nobody was watching. You are defined by the rituals and standards you keep. I personally have been working out for 20 years and that is part of my daily routine. I want to have a healthy, vibrant life so I can see my grandkids and great grandkids grow up. Putting the rituals and standards in place now will allow for that. This is extremely important in business. You need to be organized and have mechanisms in place that align with your goals. What you do today, next week, next month will eventually become habits that shape your subconscious programming. I suggest you spend a fair amount of time evaluating your current paradigm and see if that matches what you want to achieve out of life. Success comes from doing the little things properly over an extended period of time. Your business didn't fail because of one bad day and the contrary is true as well. The growth of your company was not by chance of luck. It was the initiatives, strategies and plans you put in place many months ago that were adhered to by you and your team. Consistency augmented with calculated rituals and standards will allow you to grow your business.
Third Step: Know Your Passion
I would suggest that before you decide to leave your job or paycheck, you become very clear as to what you are passionate about and if that passion can translate into a viable income for you and your family. They say that most successful people in both personal and professional relationships are extremely passionate about what they are pursuing. They think about it every single day and people come to them as an expert in this field. Here I was selling software and technology yet clients were asking me about health and wellness. What are you inherent capabilities? What do people look to you as an expert on? What do you always gravitate back to? If you don't know, then I suggest asking your peers and friends. They will tell you your strengths. I mention passion because you will need it to sustain you during the difficult times. There will be turmoil in the road ahead and Steve Jobs articulated it well when he said and I paraphrase; "you really have to love what you do because if you don't, you will quit when times get tough. Any sane individual would. Who would want to endure that kind of pain and misery unless you loved it?" I also preface it with a passion that can allow you to grow and feed your family. Passion is the prerequisite but there also needs to be a market for your skillset in this world. If there is not, you will find it very difficult to provide for your loved ones but also get your message out to the people who need to hear it. People need to hear what each one of you have to offer.
These three quick tips will help guide you on your journey in life and in business. I have many great mentors whom I have learned from in the personal development and functional medicine realm. Gary Vaynerchuk and John Lee Dumas always reference the analogy of standing on the shoulders of giants. There has never been a better time to pursue your dreams and live the life you were meant to live. Life is short and I encourage you to live a life on your terms and not someone else's. Through analyzing and implementing these ideas I have presented above, it will become clear what you were meant to pursue in this world and the lives you were meant to impact. I wouldn't waste any more time staying in a job that leaves you unfulfilled and not satisfied. You are wasting precious moments that could be spent building your dream and your legacy. At the end of the day, most people just want to be happy and experience love.