Why do we do the things we do? Is it because our parents did it that way? Is it because we are trying to impress our friends? Is it because everyone else does it? Or is it because we're just trying to pay the bills?
Since I was told that August 16th would be my last day at my corporate job, I have been asking many questions about why I do the things I do.
“I'd rather regret the things I've done than regret the things I haven't done.”
– Lucille Ball
One of the biggest questions I've asked myself is why did I get a corporate job in the first place?
Well, to be totally honest, it was serving a good purpose. My company paid me well to do work that needed to be done. It's as simple as that! And I am grateful for that opportunity as it allowed me save money and my job became the springboard for doing the work I really wanted to do.
But here's the rub. I didn't want to spend the rest of my working life answering to people that only cared about the bottom line. I was giving up my precious life energy and spending hours away from home so that I could receive a paycheck to buy groceries, pay the mortgage and take short vacations.
This sounds innocent enough…go to work, get paid, buy stuff and then do it over and over again. For many, this is the definition of the ‘American Dream.”
But I was starting to feel like a hamster on a wheel because my work was increasingly not a true reflection of me.
No offense to all those happy hamsters out there but looking back, I was really just doing the same uncreative things over and over and over again.
Over time, I began to feel numb in my corporate job. I was going through the motions because I needed/wanted the paycheck. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Our entire culture is bent on the idea that we go and find a great job so that our parents can be proud of us and then we can go buy nice things and enjoy life. It’s the thing we're supposed to do, right?
The only problem is that this can be a painfully numb existence. And it's way too easy to get comfortable with this way of life because almost everyone is doing it. After all, the reality we know is so much more comfortable than the the uncertainty of something new.
But I am going to ask you to question that idea.
I know that everyone has a different situation and I'll be the first to say that if you don’t have the money to take your loved one out to a nice dinner, then by all means go out and get a job and create some financial stability in your life.
The key is to not get too comfortable in the job trap (unless you truly love your job). I say this because it’s entirely possible to become a well paid independent entrepreneur. And it's relatively easy to start a side business doing work that you really care about.
Here’s the bottom line. If you are in a job that you don’t love or feel a deep purpose for, why would you keep doing it? For the status? For the money? To keep your spouse happy? Let me just say that these things never end well.
My advice: start a business on the side doing something you care deeply about and that others will pay you for. That way, if you get laid off like I did, you will have a foundation already in place to grow your business and your income.
And even if you don’t want to start a side business, please, please, please consider finding work that is meaningful to you. Life is just too damn short to get comfortable in a job that you don’t enjoy.
So how to go about starting a business on the side?
Here’s what I did.
I started by finding the intersection of three different criteria:
1. What was I deeply passionate about?
2. What I could be the absolute best at?
3. What does the market want?
It’s an easy enough concept. But finding that intersection (what I call the sweet spot)… now, that’s the trick.
Finding Your Sweet Spot
To illustrate the sweet spot concept (the intersection where your passion + your skills + what the market wants = your ideal role), I will use an example of my own business model.
What am I Deeply Passionate About?
I am deeply passionate about: Liberating the true genius within.
My purpose is to inspire authenticity – freeing talent, ideas, voice, opinions, consciousness. I inspire people to be the best version of themselves and create a life of freedom through a business with soul. I find that when I diverge from this path, the cost is dear. When I stay the course, and support others in doing the same, I prosper in every possible way.
What Can I Be The Best At?
I can be best in the world at: Helping others align with their brilliance and take practical steps to build a meaningful business.
I resisted aligning with my own brilliance for so long that I experienced tremendous turmoil because of it. I now understand what it means to follow my heart and use my head.
Note: the most important word in this sentence is *can*. It’s not what *are* you the best in the world at or what do you *want* to be the best in the world at (could be unrealistic). Maybe you can only be the best in the world at making gluten free crackers for mom’s in Scandinavia, or offering yoga adventure bootcamps for thrill seeking adrenalin junkies, or wedding photography in the tri-county area for under $5,000.
What Does The Market Want/What Can I Make Money Doing?
My market wants: To do work that matters. To turn their existing skills and interests into a predictable income doing work that they love.
I make money by packaging my experience and wisdom in as many forms as possible (i.e. personal coaching/consulting, online training programs and mentorship).
I do not say yes or make new stuff unless it’s in sync with my sweet spot. It’s pure, it’s powerful and it works.
How do you know which big ideas get the green light or the kibosh?
Only your intuition knows, and it always has your best interests at heart. It will love you to the edge of your greatness, and snap it's whip when you waffle. Intuition wants you to stay on purpose, on target, and on fire. It wants you to say no to soul-draining work and time wasters. It wants you to keep things pointed to where you really want to go.
Remember, your intuition actually works for you. When a new idea or opportunity comes into view, intuition leans over, surveying your potential choices, and whispers two words to you: Sweet Spot. And snap! You know just what to do. Every time. You know whether to take it or leave it!
Knowing whether something falls in your sweet spot is one mighty power tool for clarity and purpose. It is deceptively simple. If it’s not in your sweet spot, you lose.