Clock in. Clock out. Head home. Repeat. Millions of people follow this same predictable pattern for years, or even decades. And while there’s nothing wrong with punching a clock and making an honest living, isn’t there more to life? Isn’t there something you’re passionate about that you’d rather spend 40 hours of your week doing?
Here are a few practical tips that will allow you to start living your life the way it was meant to be lived, by doing what you love.
1. Develop a realistic plan
“I, personally, didn’t want to wake up one day as a 50 or 60 year old and find myself still working at a cubicle, regretting that I never pursued the dreams I had for myself,” says Timothy Lee, owner of a San Francisco tap room. “Taking the first leap is the hardest part, but it’s worth leaving stability for what makes you happy.”
While some people decide to simply quit their jobs and try something else, it’s not a good idea to give up a paying job without some sort of plan. Create a realistic timeline with sizeable goals that you can accomplish.
2. Find a way to monetize
We all have passions, but the truth is that some passions are more monetizable than others. For example, if you’re really skilled at developing software and want to branch out on your own, you won’t have much trouble finding clients. However, if your passion is knitting, it’s going to be much harder to make a living. It’s not impossible, but you’ll have to get creative. Instead of only selling scarves, consider teaching classes to people who are interested in learning how to knit.
The point is that you shouldn’t naively assume that your passion will sell itself. Before launching head first into your new life, think about the financial side of things and how you will make it work.
3. Surround yourself with the right people
While the onus is on you to make a move and do the right thing for your life, it helps to have supportive people on your side. This is something Sara DiVello learned the hard way when she left her corporate public relations job to launch a career in yoga.
“Because your colleagues may feel just as trapped and scared, a dynamic can evolve where they can actually contribute to holding you back,” DiVello says. “Some co-workers were overtly discouraging, telling me I’d be back, that I’d miss it.”
If you can find people who are supportive and encouraging, it will be much easier to stay motivated and avoid giving up when things get tough. Thankfully, you will be surprised how many people will praise you for your choice to pursue your passion.
4. Never take no for an answer
News flash: You’re going to get a lot of “no’s” when you first venture out on your own. People won’t take you seriously. They’ll tell you the industry is too crowded. They’ll complain that your prices are too high. They’ll want to see proof before they take a chance. The key is to never take no for an answer.
The most successful people in the world didn’t get to where they are because everyone told them yes. They got to where they are because they kept pushing through.
It’s time to take control of your life
Can you stand the thought of doing what you’re doing right now for another 20 or 30 years–or more? Or would you rather pursue your passion and be happy? For most of us, we’re just trudging along, paying the bills, and praying for the weekend.
That doesn’t have to be your life. It’s time to make your dream a reality!