If you look back to prehistoric times, when our ancestors were hunter- gatherers, they lived in caves for safety from the carnivorous beasts that roamed outside.
They usually only left the cave in groups tooled up with spears because they would have died of starvation had they not done so.
That sort of behaviour may have made sense when there really were sabre-tooth tigers ready to attack. However, tens of thousands of years later, getting eaten isn’t quite the danger it once was.
Yet many people are still sitting in their metaphorical caves – afraid to venture outside them.
And by that, I mean they stick with jobs they don’t particularly like and have no passion for because they’re scared of the danger the outside world may hold for them.
Nothing in this world can standstill.
If you’re familiar with the fantastic book ‘Psycho-Cybernetics’ by Dr. Maxwell Maltz, you will understand that we human beings are purpose-driven creatures and are happiest when we are moving towards the goals we have set ourselves.
The fact is the primaeval instincts that are there to preserve us from life-threatening situations are no longer relevant in the modern world.
You are not going to ‘get eaten’ if you leave your job, yet fear prevents many people from doing it.
We all experience fear – without exception. The difference is people who set up and run successful businesses must learn to push through that fear barrier to the other side where happiness and freedom live.
To use my own story as an example: I started my career as a solicitor in a top law firm in London. For many people that may well be their dream job; certainly, my parents and my contemporaries all believed it to be a good career.
It took me a few years, but I eventually acknowledged that I had made a mistake – the legal and corporate world was not for me. I simply wasn’t able to be who I wanted to be.
Going to work each morning used to fill me with a sense of dread. I used to come out of Blackfriars station in the morning along with thousands of other anonymous, dark-suited, brief-cased professionals, feeling like we were all rats pressed together scurrying down the road worried about being late.
I remember I frequently thought about stepping in front of one of the buses going up Fleet Street.
Fortunately, I always held on to the belief that there was something better and I was free to take a different path. So, I weighed up the highly paid career on one hand and following my own path on the other – whatever that may be.
I looked at the partners in the firms I worked for who were earning hundreds of thousands of pounds a year and asked myself: “Do I want the sort of life they have?” To me, they all seemed unhappy and stressed.
They worked twelve-hour days and had little social life. Many were divorced or never saw their families.
For me, it was not such a difficult decision.
Even in my 20s, I was aware of the importance of being true to yourself if you want to be happy. And I knew being in that job was never going to make me happy. There was no way I was going to spend the rest of my life doing that… even if it was very well paid.
Now, I must admit one of the things my friends tell me they admire about me is that I am quite fearless about starting something new and I’ve done it several times throughout my career.
So, I just decided to quit.
I had little in the way of savings and I had no sort of safety net or guaranteed income just an idea of what I wanted to do and the faith that it would work out. So, even for me, that was quite a bold move.
The one and only time in my life I’ve had a panic attack was when the enormity of what I’d done hit me as I was getting ready to go to work in the new office I had leased and try and start getting clients and making money in my new business.
That was twenty-two years ago and whilst there have been plenty of ups and downs – I’ve built and sold companies for millions and I’ve been broke during that period – but I’ve never regretted it. I was a young man at the time without any family commitments and I appreciate that most people will not have the same attitude as me and may well have family commitments and responsibilities.
In any event, I would not recommend just giving up your job immediately as ultimately it can be self-defeating if you put too much pressure on yourself to make your new venture work. But you can start making preparations whilst you still have your job.
If you are at the stage where you recognise you are not happy in your job, but you don’t know yet what your purpose and passion in life is the best thing to do is some personal development work to find out what it is that you really love doing and then find a way to start generating income from that activity. Because there will be a way to make a living from it and even if it won’t make you rich it you will spend your days doing what you love – and that’s what counts.
The next step is to block out time in your calendar to devote to creating your new business. Be disciplined with it. Make it sacrosanct so that you will not get pulled away by any external distractions. I find that getting up early and studying whilst everyone else is still asleep works best for me but you may be more of an evening person.
It doesn’t matter just make sure you are disciplined enough to stick to it and let your family know not to disturb you during that time. After all you are doing it for their benefit as well.
Focus on studying about both business and creating the right mindset for success. Having the right attitude and mindset is the most critical factor for success in any business but you clearly need to have an understanding of business basics such as company set up, finance, sales and marketing and any regulatory issues that affect your particular business. It will no doubt take a good few months – maybe longer, but sooner or later you will be generating enough income from your side business to give you the confidence to ‘leave your cave’.
The crucial factor, if you are going to overcome the fear of leaving your cave is that you must have faith that you won’t ‘get eaten alive’, that people and things will appear to help you that you would never have imagined that it will turn out alright, if you follow your heart.
If you’d like some help find your purpose just let me know in the comments below and I can send you some exercises to help with that.
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-analytics||11 months||This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Analytics".|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-functional||11 months||The cookie is set by GDPR cookie consent to record the user consent for the cookies in the category "Functional".|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-necessary||11 months||This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookies is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Necessary".|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-others||11 months||This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Other.|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-performance||11 months||This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Performance".|