Editor’s note: Make sure to sign up for the Work Your Passion summit if you answered yes to the question in the title! Also, to contact Homaira, the author of this piece, see her information at the bottom.
Are you one of the 70% of employees who feels disengaged at work? Or part of the millions for whom work-related stress has become the source of ill health, anxiety and even depression. Which begs the question: Why are so many of us struggling?
The reason may lie in the fact that we’re still operating in a system that was established for the Industrial Economy. We clocked in the hours every day at work so we could enjoy ‘life’ in the evenings.
Today, that’s no longer the case. Thanks to technology, work has become a constant companion. It joins us on the way back home every evening. It packs itself in for each and every vacation. And it even crawls into bed with us and haunts us in the silence of the night.
Work life balance has become a myth at best. We’re squeezed dry and have nothing left to give. And since working life continues well into our sixties, we feel the doom and gloom of a life of perpetual misery.
But wait! We can change the way we relate to work by understanding what work means in the 21st century. We live in an age of increasing consciousness, or what entrepreneur Aaron Hurst calls the Purpose Economy. We’re rapidly advancing to what Harvard professor Robert Kegan calls the 4th stage of adult development – that of the self-authoring mind. We want to be the authors of our own lives and often it takes a little more than desire to get there.
Here are a few tips that will help!
Get to Know Your Passions
Many of us don’t know what truly brings us alive. It may be because we’ve left our passions to shrivel on the back burner. Or it may be because we were told very early on that our dreams weren’t worth much by those who didn’t have the capacity to honor them. Go back and dig them out again. What were the things that excited you when you were little? What are the things that you naturally gravitate towards now? Believe in them, experiment with them, and then ask yourself: Who can benefit from this passion of mine?
Develop a Plan
Once you’ve identified a passion, don’t rush to hand in your resignation the very next day! And there are many reasons for this. One, it may take you many months to be clear on the passion you want to pursue. Secondly, studies show that some of the most successful people wait on their best ideas before rushing to implement them. And finally, no business makes money on day one, and yours won’t likely be the first! Make a 5-year plan. By when will your business be financially feasible? And how will you support yourself and perhaps your family until then?
Focus on Giving
Always stay connected to why you started your business in the first place. Keep your passion alive by focusing on the value it brings to the people in your ‘tribe’ and the difference it makes to their lives. Get to know them as best you can so you’re always addressing their needs. Because as humans, we’re wired for reciprocity. If you offer value, people will pay you for it. If you don’t, you won’t fool anyone for very long. Trust in trust. It’s part of our inherent nature, and there’s no force that can change that!
When you’re starting out your own business, self-doubt will raise its head over and over again. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing since its job is to protect you from potentially detrimental decisions. However, given that we tend to focus on the negative, self-doubt has to be managed. You can do so by listening to it when it shows up, recognizing it for what it is, challenging the likelihood of the impending catastrophe, and then calming yourself with an outcome that’s not only far more likely, but also far more exciting.
Have a Support System
We are social animals. And even though we’ve become used to taking all the glory of our successes in the individualized societies we live in, we cannot get very far without the support of others. Studies show that human connection calms us in times of emotional pain, it helps us expand our repertoire of ideas and possibilities, and it’s also our source of meaning and fulfillment in life. So identify the people who can help you in your entrepreneurial journey. Who will be your guides, your mentors, your cheerleaders, your emotional support?
The good news is that when you honor your passions and live a life that’s true to who you are, people are drawn to you and willing to reward you in plenty for sharing your gifts with the world.
Homaira Kabir is a recognized positive psychology coach (http://www.homairakabir.com) and a researcher on women’s self-esteem. Check out her Confidence Academy (http://www.homairakabir.com) for free resources on building authentic self-worth.