The end of the beginning can be a stressful time. The planning is over. Now is the time for action. Now is the only time for action any of us ever have. It’s always been that way, as many books and sages have told us throughout the ages.
I have attempted to weave the message of taking action into this book from the very first page. However, for career changers, the change is often evolutionary, rather than revolutionary. Leaping into the darkness of career upheaval while also accepting personal responsibility for the outcomes are both scary because they’re not everyday occurrences.
Of course, if you are laid off without warning then some major actions will probably be necessary right away to keep putting food on the table. The banquet of life, and whatever career change dishes might appear on the menu, will be interspersed with servings of routine and dollops of boredom.
This final chapter covers some tips and reminders to help you maintain momentum and enthusiasm for the road ahead.
Escaping The Corporate Chain Gang!
Personal development based around a vision and mission statement can help motivated people do amazing things in their lives. For example, they can choose to replace bad habits with good ones. Improve their relationships. Travel the world. Learn new languages. And even escape the corporate chain gang!
Of course, that final choice is not for everybody. Many people who set and attain career goals do so within the structure of a job, a career path, and paid employment. That is fine if it works for you.
But another possibility is that a systematic and passionate interest in personal development will lead inexorably to levels of self-esteem and self-belief that only the creativity and risks of entrepreneurship can begin to satisfy.
And I am not referring here to the ‘get rich quick’ mentality that some snake-oil gurus are prone to peddle. Anyone I know who is committed to a personal development path, understands and accepts that this is a lifetime journey. And like many journeys, there will be ups and downs. There will be wrong roads taken, detours made and unseen potholes along the way.
Still, what seems to sustain solopreneurs is the joy of a journey willingly embarked upon and the knowledge that they are taking ownership of their ability to enjoy earning a livelihood. Yes, it’s possible that the money will suck and the hours will be long before light is glimpsed at the end of the tunnel. That is a risk they have decided to take.
For these folks, one of their most treasured maps takes the form of a vision and mission statement. That vision is a personal depiction of what life, work and happiness might be like should their business dreams and desires come true. It is truly visionary and without obvious limits.
What grounds them in reality is the mission statement and the related strategies, objectives and goals that arise. The optimal mission statement is one that is a balance between their own personal / entrepreneurial drives and the needs of the market they are serving.
And even though they might at first secretly doubt their desires to throw off the chains of corporate enslavement that come in the form of pension plans, medical insurance, bonuses and other sundry manacles – they are of good cheer. Once they decided to create their own vision and mission statements while still productive and enthusiastic employees, there began a gradual weakening of the mental ties that bound them to the workplace.
Every action, urgent request, panic and crisis in the corporate world then became an opportunity to learn something about how they would one day handle similar problems in their own businesses. When viewed from that perspective, it becomes mandatory for any prisoners of employment who are serious about breaking free from their cubicles to first create an inspiring vision and mission statement.
Exercise 21: Your Vision and Mission Statement
Begin creating your vision and mission statement. There are plenty of online resources and books to help you. One that I found very useful is at www.onepagebusinessplan.com.
Can You Commit and Still Fail?
Success and personal development books often mention how important it is to commit to a goal once chosen. But what if someone does that – and then fails to achieve their desired outcome? Here are some thoughts on dealing with the reality of failure.
When I was at the ICA coaching school I remember one of my teleclass leaders asking a question along the lines of:
“Is it possible to commit to something and still fail?”
My life experience so far suggests that it is not only possible but likely. The reasons for failure or success are sometimes just a matter of timing.
For example, many years ago I was committed to getting on a European Union (EU) sponsored 18-month language study program in Japan. I did a lot of research and called in a lot of favors to get my UK employer to sponsor my application. I even got to the final selection interviews in Brussels.
I was ecstatic!
Then four weeks later I crashed and burned after learning I hadn’t been selected. I was certain that I was 100% committed to this goal!
So what went wrong?
Perhaps ‘something went right’ is the appropriate response because, with persistence and patience, another path opened up. Just two years later I had negotiated a transfer to Japan in a full-time role with the same company – thus beginning a sojourn in this amazing country that has become my adopted home now for many years.
I have also failed in other areas of my life and what they have collectively taught me is that committing to a stretch goal is a creative, stimulating roller coaster ride. It’s a gut-wrenching ride with no guarantees of success but plenty of room for failure.
Fail forward! Fail forward!
If I had direct knowledge back then of the self-coaching tools I know about now – back when my happiness was so hung up on achieving specific goals, I would have used all of the following at some point:
- Known that I was committed to going to Japan but not sure how.
- Taken more responsibility for actions within my control and let the other chips fall where they may.
- Trusted more, and doubted less. (“This too will pass.”)
- Responded more often to failure with: “What’s the lesson here?”
- Respected myself more for launching the dream rather than invalidating my efforts as “just not good enough.”
- Known that I acted in the spirit of what I believed was best for my family and myself.
- Invented a game-based approach to meeting the number of people I needed to speak to that could help me achieve my Japan-bound goal.
- Taken action, however small, every day, on my dream; rather than in fits and starts, now and again.
Exercise 22: Your Turn
List at least three self-coaching skills you can use to help you fail forward more often. Start using at least one of them every day.
My Request of You
Thank you for reading this book. I hope it will be of some assistance in your career change journey. I would really appreciate it if you would do at least one of the following:
- Write a review on the eBook store where you purchased it.
- Tell others about it in person or on the social media platform of your choice.
- Check out my companion eBook, ‘Living Your Best Life’.
You can purchase an electronic or paperback version by clicking here -> ‘Buy Now‘.