I was working as a waitress at a cocktail bar 🎶
Well actually I wasn’t, I just wanted to get that song in your head haha!
Actually, I was working in a management job that I had landed straight after uni. It was a great opportunity. I had the chance to develop my leadership skills, meet lots of people and earn lots of money (hey!) Not bad right?
That’s what I thought until I started the role. Almost immediately I knew it wasn’t for me, but I kept going. I thought that was what was expected of me. I really wanted to have made the right decision so I kept going. One year passed, then two. And even though each New Year I’d promise myself that this would be the year I quit and found a job that was more suited to me, I just kept on going!
Why was I so stuck?
I worked with some amazing people who are still my friends.
I had a really comfortable life out of work which I enjoyed.
I knew what I was doing and what I didn’t like. Better the devil you know right?
I was scared of failing at whatever I pursued instead.
And the biggie… I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do instead!
What about you? Take a minute just to note the reasons why you are still stuck in a job that you don’t enjoy. What are the payoffs that are keeping you there?
If one of them is, “I’m not sure what I want to do instead” then read on because I’m sharing all of my secrets with you today! (Okay, not all of them) Just the one about how I managed to FINALLY get unstuck from that job I pretty much hated and start my journey towards work I love.
Don’t miss this! I’ve put together a cool Escape Kit to go along with this Discover Your Purpose series. It contains 3 awesome resources that will help you start your journey towards discovering your purpose today. Grab your kit here:
These are the 6 steps that will lead you from a job you don’t enjoy to being clear on the work that’s meaningful for you. (They are the exact steps that I took on this journey!)
Step 1: Explore your passions
First things first, get clear on what you love to do.
If you keep hearing all this advice telling you to follow your passion but have no idea what that is, you’re not alone! You are human right? (Good, just checking) So there isn’t going to be just ONE thing that’s your passion. There are going to be many things, these will change over time and that’s okay!
Breath of fresh air: You don’t have to choose. You don’t have to stick to one passion for the rest of your life. So if you love snowboarding and street food, or working with kids and writing (hello me!) do both!
But you do need is to know what your passions are. The journey towards work you love is a journey of discovery and it starts with you.
But hey, you’re only young. How are you meant to know what your passions are when there’s still so much out there that you haven’t tried? I mean, what if those things are your passions?
Well, start with what you know first. Take a few minutes now to write down your favourite activities, you know, the ones that make you feel pure joy when you do them.
(If you’d like to know, mine are hiking, writing, reading, wildlife spotting, going to the cinema and eating/trying food from around the world)
Right. So now you know your existing passions, it’s time to try out those things-that-you-think-you-might-love-but-don’t-know for-sure-because-you-haven’t-tried-them aka your Curiosity List. I’ll be showing you a step-by-step process for doing this in the next post in this Discover Your Purpose series. Until then click here to grab your FREE Escape Kit to get started with The Passion Finder tool (which takes you through this):
Step 2: Reconnect with your dreams
Nine times out of ten you know, deep down, what you want to do with your life.
“Whaaat?” I hear you cry (If you’re even still here and haven’t clicked off the page in anger.) “I’m here because I don’t know what I want to do, I thought you got that!”
I do get it. Trust. And remember, this is just my experience okay? But when I look back on that horrible period of my life when I felt totally confused about my direction and future, I can see that actually I knew deep, down what I wanted to do. I had just buried those dreams so far down that I had lost touch with them.
The problem is to get through the uninspiring day-to-day work you face in a job you kinda hate, you’ve had no choice but to bury your dreams deep down. It’s like a survival mechanism for getting through each day.
That’s why once you reconnect with your dreams, this whole process will speed up. You’ll stop feeling so stuck. You’ll be more excited for the future and will have more awareness of how wrong for you your present job is.
So how do you reconnect with your biggest dreams?
A big part of this is to stop worrying about being “realistic.” Because really, what is realistic?
Do you think that 50 years ago people thought it was realistic to be able to see and speak your family member on the other side of the world in less than a second?
Do you think that 150 years ago it seemed realistic that one day millions of ordinary people would fly around the world in a metal box, thousands of metres up in the sky?
What about everyone having chocolate bar sized devices in their pockets that answer any question you ask in their own humanoid voice?!
Yeah, no one would have believed you if you had told them any of those things were going to happen. And if the inventors of any of the above had worried about being realistic well, we would be in a very different world today.
So please don't let fears that you’re being unrealistic hold you back as you reconnect with your dreams. Let your imagination go wild and really get excited about your future again.
I’ll be showing you exactly how to do this in the third post in Discover Your Purpose series. Until then click here to grab your FREE Escape Kit to get started with the Dream Big Workbook.
Step 3: What’s so special about you?
Seriously. This isn’t some millennial fantasy. Every one of us is completely unique. I mean, how many other people on the planet have the exact same experience, strengths, personality, skills and passions as you?
Even if you have an identical twin, your experiences of the world will be slightly different. And I’m sure other aspects of your personality would be too. You are 110% unique!
Why does this matter?
Well, personal branding is a hot topic these days. If you run with that idea you could think of yourself as having a USP (Unique Selling Point.) As I said, there is no one else on earth who has the exact combination of skills, strengths and experience as you. That is your USP.
The key to successfully finding work you love is to work out what your USP is, and how you can use it.
Why? It all comes down to strengths. If you can identify your natural superpowers and then find work that uses them, you’ll:
Be extremely successful in that role. You’ll be able to focus on develop your strengths and making them extraordinary assets.
You’ll love working in that role because doing what you’re good at is inherently fun. Right?
Step 4: What brings you meaning?
True fulfillment doesn’t come from doing what you enjoy each day or living a life filled with everything you want. It comes from turning the focus away from yourself and on to answering the essential question, who can you help?
There’s a reason why reflecting on meaning is step 4 and not step 1. Now you know what’s special about you, you can focus on the ways you can use your USP to make your own unique difference in the world.
But first, let’s take a look at the impact you want to make. We want to make sure that you’re working on something that you really care about so when things get tough you’ve still got the motivation to carry on. First off, take some time to really think about the answer to this question - who do you want to help?
Step 5: What lifestyle do you want?
Create a lifestyle that you’ll thrive in.
It’s all too easy to get so caught up with finding purposeful work that you completely forget about the quality of the rest of your life.
Me? I’ve been there, done that. I absolutely was in love with my last job, inspiring young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to achieve. BUT it involved a daily commute of three hours to get there and back. Error!
I didn’t realise how much this daily journey would affect my entire life (and not in a good way) until I started doing it. It left me with little energy, little time to share with family and friends and an underlying resentment for the job.
I still would never, ever regret taking that job, but I learnt a valuable lesson - consider how you will create a lifestyle that will enable you to thrive! No matter who you decide to help, you’ll only be letting them down if you don’t look after yourself. It’s like that old oxygen mask analogy. When you’re listening to that safety briefing on a plane, they always say to put your oxygen mask on first before helping anyone else. Because if you’re struggling to survive, you’re not going to have much to give to others right?
The best way to get started with this (and most fun way!) is to create a vision board. Think about:
What would you love to have your day to day life?
What environment would you best suit living in?
How would you ideally recharge in your free time?
Step 6: Bring it all together
Create a clear vision for the work you want to do.
I’m not going to lie, this final step can often be the trickiest. But just by reading this article you’re at an advantage. Most people just jump into the process at this step and expect to be able to just know what they want to do next. (Don’t worry if this was you, it was me too! But we live and we learn!)
The great thing is that once you complete the first 5 steps, you’ll already have a much clearer idea about what you want to do next. Then it's then just about clarifying and testing out your ideas.
There you have it! That was the 6 Step Escape Plan that I used to discover my purpose and leave a job that I really didn’t enjoy. I’ll be teaching you how to follow each step in depth in my upcoming course, Discover Your Purpose Retreat. It’s going to be awesome! Right now, don’t forget to grab your FREE Escape Kit here:
The Passion Finder - A practical discovery tool to help you get clear on your passions.
Dream Big Workbook- Packed with fun and inspiring exercises to reconnect you with your dreams.
The Escape Plan- A printable PDF Escape Plan that shows you your route out of the job you hate and into work with purpose.
Read the rest of the Discover Your Purpose Series: