We want to do something that matters – to us and to the world. We want to do work that we are proud of. We want to do work that feeds our Soul.
Some of us are just getting started, others are well on their way and the rest are just starting to believe it’s even possible.
As I talk with people about doing work that matters, I find that there is one statement that tends to hold us back more than any other.
“But I Can’t Just Quit and Start Over”
Very few people have the flexibility to “just quit” what they are currently doing and begin something new.
There may be exceptions but many of us have mortgages, families, student loans or a million other reasons that keep us in our jobs…at least for now.
Many of the people that I talk to about pursuing a more meaningful life are between 35 and 60 years old. And most of them have a couple of children and a mortgage – none of which are going anywhere.
But that is NOT an excuse to give up on your dreams.
That is not an excuse to condemn yourself to a continued life of quiet desperation for the next few decades.
You must control what you can control – and fortunately we are in control of a lot more than we might realize.
Not being able to ‘just quit’ does not mean you can't begin the process of building a career around something meaningful while you still have a job.
Regardless of your situation or current obligations, it’s still possible.
The best time to create a new career is while you’re at your old one.
If you just quit tomorrow, the odds are that you would instantly start to panic about some made-up story of you and your family starving on the streets. This would likely cause you to immediately go into panic and desperation mode, which would eventually lead to you getting another job.
But it does not have to be this way.
And if we want to create meaningful change and find a path that genuinely makes us happy, then we must go about it differently.
In my previous blog series about ‘Getting Paid to Make a Difference’, I reviewed the following framework:
It was designed around my own real world experience. It was designed for any of us.
It was designed for the people who need to bridge the gap between where they are and where they want to go.
It will be up to you to do the work on yourself and make the discoveries, ideally while you’re at your current job – in the morning before work, during the evenings after work, on weekends, during commute, on lunch breaks, on vacation days, whenever…
Because if you don’t figure out what you’re looking for, you’re never going to find it.
And knowing yourself (your unique blend of skills, talents, passions and life experience) creates massive confidence.
My wife Jill, can’t not do yoga.
My friend Johnny, can’t not do fitness.
My friend Alissa, can’t not do design.
My friend Skylor, can’t not do healthy food + living.
The object is to figure out what you Can’t Not Do!
Jill, Johnny, Alissa, and Skylor are all exceptional at what they do and it has taken them time to get where they are. Success didn't happen overnight for any of them. But with consistent effort over time, they have all created businesses around the things that they can’t not do.
Once we realize what makes us come alive – the natural talents, strengths and skills that we apply to make our impact in the world, our fear suddenly gets converted into pure confidence and excitement.
And that’s when the magic starts to happen.
I challenge you to make this your year to finally do something about the job you might not be very excited about.
Decide to make this the year to finally get serious about that little hobby or side-project that you've so badly wanted to call a business.
I challenge you to make this your year to commit to learning about yourself and finally start doing the work you can’t not do.
Things really can be different but we've got to take action.
What matters most to me is that you realize that things can be different, and then you begin taking the steps to live that reality. I don’t care how that happens. All I care about is that it happens.
Please, for you and for everyone around you, decide that you are done complaining and making excuses and that you’ll actually start doing something about doing work that really matters.
There is no standing still.
There never is.
A tolerable work situation now often becomes a miserable existence in a few years.
Your dreams either move forward or they die.
The great thing is you get to choose.
We are all here together to express our unique purpose.
Here’s to this being the year we all do more of what we can’t not do!