Ever felt like you have been headed in one direction for awhile and are no longer sure where you are going? Are you struggling to find joy on the path you are on? Thinking about turning around? I know exactly how that feels.
I struggled for several years until I was faced with a you-turn. The point at which the fear of leaping into the unknown was over shadowed by the level of misery I was experiencing.
Let me back up. I was a straight A student in high school. I knew I was going to university but was unsure what I wanted to be. I was keenly interested in architecture. But like many, we are often guided towards the known and away from the unknown. So I went into Nursing. I graduated from my degree and quickly found myself full time work.
I did have a rewarding career in nursing and moved through various fields until I fell into management. I excelled because traits were keenly matched for the job. I was able to make decisions under pressure, problem solve, innovate and find efficiencies. For a few years I really enjoyed it. But like many middle management positions, you soon find that the cycle repeats itself year after year, there is very little autonomy and it is hard to evoke real change.
I was growing bored. There was no challenge. I knew I didn't want to go back to school for a masters to move up in an organization I no longer was passionate for. I felt stuck.
Enter the side hustle. I was searching for a creative outlet and found it in cake decorating. I began a side business and was finding joy in the freedom of expression I found there. Meanwhile the misery I was feeling in my 9-5 was growing. I knew what I wanted but the fear of the unknown was great. So great that it kept me showing up, staying exactly where I was.
I used that time to learn, grow and work my butt off. As my side hustle grew, I was working all day and then working evenings and weekends. I knew it was for a season, and it was giving me great fulfillment, so I kept going.
I began to build a customer base, learn how to market, figure out systems and processes that would allow me to be more efficient. All things that would allow me to make the future leap. Though I had no idea when I would do that.
Little did I know that the moment of truth was coming sooner than later. Nothing like a little pandemic to make you face your reality. My level of misery had finally reached the point where it overshadowed the fear that was holding me back. I had to release what was no longer serving me and step forward into uncharted territory. I went full time into my business.
I was listening to the goal digger podcast recently and they were talking about having 3 career lilly pads. On the first, you find a job and it pays you money. The place where a lot of us find ourselves for quite sometime. Its when it no longer feels right, that we begin looking for something else. The second lilly pad is the one we swim towards. After finding that we are no longer satisfied on the first lilly pad, we search for something more fulfilling. A place where we can use our gifts. Because lets be honest, we often don't know ourselves well enough when we are younger, to know what gifts we possess. The 3rd lilly pad is one we may reach occasionally but not stay on, or go back and forth towards. Its when we are fully operating in our gifts and feeling like we are working to our highest potential.
Finding your second lilly pad may not be straight forward. It isn't always about doing what you love. Because you love making something, doesn't always mean you will be good at producing it. You need to do what you are. Leverage what you already have. My past work life prepared me for the business side of things. I can make decisions without emotion, see efficiencies, create systems and processes. I am a science nerd, so understanding the science of marketing is fascinating to me. Yes I make cake, but there is so much more to business than just making a cake.
The more time passes, the more I grow and learn about business and about myself. I have already made adjustments that continue to serve me and keep me out of burnout. Burnout comes from doing things within our businesses that drain us, the things that you know you don't enjoy. For me, I love to create and know that I need freedom to do so. I hate working with fondant and decided that I was not going to do fondant cake designs
If you are feeling stuck and experiencing a level of misery in your current job, here are my suggestions:
Think about what you are good at. What are your gifts? Can you use them to start a side hustle?
Be open to learning and building. This is a season of work. Be prepared to work hard. Don't quit your day job yet. Test some business ideas out. What is something you can grow?
Start growing. Network and learn from others. This can be an simple as starting and FB or IG business page.
Start putting systems and processes together to help you with your capacity. Be sure this is something that you can do for awhile, can you produce? You will be a team of one for sometime. Know your capacity.
Know what drains you and fills you up. Really analyze what things you do that you enjoy and the things that you hate.
Once you have been building for awhile and know this is a profitable venture, (not just covering expenses), leave your job that is no longer serving you and jump fearlessly into a new future.
If you found this helpful, I love to hear it! If you want to learn more, Check out You turn by Ashley Stahl. I just added it to my reading list and can't wait to chat about it.