From Small-Town to Big Dreams... How to Make the Big Leap

Ever envied someone who gets to do what they love to do at work? Somebody who seems fulfilled by his or her day job? The travel writer, or the gourmet chef, or the physical therapist? These people have found careers that fit their passions instead of fishing for passions in a chosen career. It sounds crazy doesn’t it?

“To test Reality we must see it on the tight-rope. When the Verities become acrobats we can judge them.” – Lord Henry, from Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Originally posted at GoodMenProject.com

To make the big steps, try to feel what it will feel like when you become fulfilled – even if it sounds crazy right now. Feel it. Know that your dream life is in your future, not in your dreams. There is something good and important in you. You are capable of tapping into it.

For me, I knew I needed to explore the world outside of my small town in Texas. I had that itch to travel, and I so I set out to find ways to do it. I found a way to study abroad while at school, but that was only temporary (and like dipping your toes in a hot tub... you know you gotta get in up to your neck to really enjoy it). When I graduated I got a dream job writing speeches in the House of Commons - yes, Parliament. And so I moved to London... how? Read on, weary traveler, read on.

London Dale Street

Your Dream Job

Ever envied someone who gets to do what they love to do at work? Somebody who seems fulfilled by his or her day job? The travel writer, or the gourmet chef, or the physical therapist? These people have found careers that fit their passions instead of fishing for passions in a chosen career. It sounds crazy doesn’t it? It’s like we’ve been conditioned to equate our jobs with hardship, emptiness, or just plain unhappiness.

If you are grudgingly working 8-12 hours a day so that you can come home to your few hours each night and weekends to yourself, then you are missing the point. It doesn’t have to be like this. Most hardworking folks spend half of their waking hours at work. If you are working at anything other than your passion, you are wasting your time. You know what enables you to stay? You get paid just enough to survive, and you’re afraid to leave.

Right now, make a list of all the reasons you won’t leave your current job to pursue something new.

This is your new checklist of fears and excuses you must eliminate in order to make this big step. If you are like most people, your list sounds like this: I won’t leave my job because “I’m learning and gaining experience for my future career, I am in debt and don’t have the money to just up and quit, I have things/responsibilities tying me down (car, apartment lease, dog, student loans, etc.), I like my current friends and don’t want to lose them.”   Sound familiar? Let’s check them off quickly so you can see your freedom.

1. The Ghost of a Future Career

We change within our jobs, companies and even industries so frequently that our career plans are constantly being redefined. And truly, what do we base our career plans on? Conventional wisdom?

Conventional wisdom would have you slowly piling up your finances and dreams so that one day when you are so tired you can’t sleep without hurting, you will have the time to live your dreams with the money you saved up… only the money you saved will only just pay for your monthly doctor’s bills and will certainly NOT finance six months in Maui (ask Kimanzi what living in Maui is like).

It’s lunacy, but most of us believe we must follow along. If you are doing this, you haven’t based your career plans on your own wisdom. Ever heard the expression, “Make plans and God laughs at you”?

I’m not saying throw out your career plans altogether, I’m saying, wouldn’t it feel great to be open to something new shaping your career?

Don’t take the path everyone takes. It all ends in the same place. Walk your own path. Write your own success story.

Read the 80/20 Principle and The 4-hour Work Week for more detailed guidance.

2. No Money, No Problem

Have you ever actually sat down and tried to figure it out? Really? Right, okay, I hear you… then make some new money.

First, you need to believe you can make new money… that’s the most important step. Learn to manifest what you need. Clearly define how much money you need to free yourself. Spend five minutes a day feeling how it would feel to buy a first class ticket to Paris, or to have that top shelf bourbon and not think about the price, or to ride your new horse through an open field. Do this as a practice. It’s a way of asking the universe – or God, or fate, or your unconscious – to guide your desires and your financial freedom to you.

The universe is on your side. God wants you to inherit his kingdom. Your unconscious can be reprogrammed. If you are thinking about what you want and feeling what you want, then the last step is to open yourself up to get what you want. It may feel like a leap of faith at first, but it’s necessary and it’s fun.

Read The Science of Getting Rich for more about manifesting money.

Once you’ve begun thinking, feeling and receiving your financial freedom, you’ll find ways to act on that momentum. You’ll apply for grants, make room somewhere in your budget, save, sell a product on-line, win the lottery, get a second job, or get a better day job... one or many options will become available once you are open.

I worked a day job as an executive assistant and an evening job at a wine bar for six months. I saved up $4000, bought myself a ticket to London, and off I went. During those six months I learned tons about wine, met new people daily, and felt fulfilled because I was doing what I loved.

You can do it, just figure out how. Remember, problems of the wallet are profoundly less life threatening than problems of the spirit.

3. Possessions/Responsibilities - the Anchors Holding You Back

First, try not to own anything that you can’t resell. If you own a car (or car payment), it’s easy enough to get rid of it or change to a more affordable bucket of bolts. Furniture, Craigslist. Dog or beloved pet? Probably you can keep it unless you are moving somewhere weird overseas. If not, I understand that it is truly difficult to let go of a pet. Remember, it doesn’t have to be forever; and you probably have a friend who would dogsit for a year for you.

Explore some possibilities and just know that your pet probably knows you so well that if it could talk it would tell you to go for it.

Family/Dependant? Have the frank and open discussion with them, and let them know that everything will be okay (it will). Set a boundary of a specific amount of time to at least try. More than likely, your loved ones will want you to be fulfilled in your life. If not – if there is real dissent – you may have to come to terms with the fact that it is your life and that your decisions may be uncomfortable to other people.

I eventually whittled everything I owned and needed to carry with me down to one big backpack. I personally know people who have moved their entire lives and found that what they thought were necessary possessions were actually just fine in boxes stored in some friend's garage.

If you're only changing positions, and not locations, then this may not even be an issue at all. Until it is, don't make it one.

4. Don’t want to leave your friends/colleagues?

Biggest enabling excuse ever: “…but I love the people.”

If you like the people where you are, you will like people elsewhere.

Open yourself to new friendships. Statistically, we can only keep track of 5-6 other people closely. These six are your inner circle – your knights of your round table. Check your phone for the last six people you called, those are likely your top six. Do you think you have found the most compelling six people in the world? They are probably great. And you can keep one or all of them if you want. But don’t let those great people enable you to stay somewhere you aren’t fulfilled.

If they want you to be happy they will encourage you to find your passion and live it. If they need you to enable their basic survival, they will not encourage you. This is a quick way to discern friends you want and friends you need.

Friends you want are the ones who support your true happiness, and you will keep them as you move throughout your new life. Friends you need are the ones who will find new friends who need them when you move on. Thank these friends for being great friends in your time of need, and don’t devalue how great they have truly been to you; but be unafraid to move on to your time of deep living and the newer, deeper friendships that will follow. Your best life friend might be learning sculpture in Athens right now, or hiking Kilimanjaro, or dancing in Buenos Aires… how will you find them if you don’t get out of your current life lens?

My best friends have been with me through the travels and I've picked up some of my deepest relationships on the road. More than anything though, I found out more about myself, which enhanced my existing friendships x1000.

Right, everything is debunked from your excuse list. Wait, still nervous? Well, you might be nervous that you won’t be able to succeed once you get there.

Here’s the truth. You will meet profound challenges along the way; but your decision-making ability is not going to just freeze up. Your gut will guide you when you are unsure of what to do. Try to have courage, try to trust yourself, and try to see that there really is no risk to making these changes. If you’ve done the inner homework, you will be making the right life move, and it will find a way to work itself out.

Featured image modified from Snapwire