If you're a fan of Chris Guillebeau's (as I am), you may know that for the past couple of years he's run something called the World Domination Summit in his home town of Portland, Oregon. This brings solopreneurs, bloggers and career-shifters together from all over the world under one theme: "how to live a remarkable life in a conventional world".
I was privileged to attend this year. Here are some of the things from the speakers I saw that I thought would be most useful to you, wherever you are on your career change journey.
1. Get it out of your head
Darren Rowse of ProBlogger believes there are three ways to get the dreams in our heads out into the world:
1. Take responsibility for your future: It’s you, not anyone else, that is going to make your dreams happen.
2. Look for sparkles: What gives you energy? What is it that you’re already doing that could be nurtured into part of your new career? "Your next big thing could be your current small thing."
3. Take action: Small daily steps are better than large irregular steps. “What is one small thing that you can do today to move you a step closer to your dreams?”
2. Build your fellowship
Think of any great accomplishment in the world. It’s almost certainly the result of the work of a team of people, not one individual, says Zen Habits’ Leo Babauta. Frodo didn’t set out on his mission to destroy the ring by himself; he went with his fellowship.
Your career change journey will be no different.
Who is part of your fellowship? If you don’t have one, who do you need around you to support you?
Gather some trusted friends around you; find a coach or a mentor; even ask someone you admire to help, knowing that they might say 'no' (see below). But for goodness sake, don't try to do it on your own.
3. Be you
Gretchen Rubin, author of the best-selling ‘The Happiness Project’, has 12 commandments she lives by. The first of these is "Be Gretchen".
How do you be ‘you’? By recognising where you’re not being you. Our negative emotions are the big flashing signals of where we have work to do on ourselves, she says.
Three tough but revealing questions she suggests asking yourself to start with are:
1. Whom do you envy and why?
2. What do you lie about and why?
3. What did you do for fun when you were 10 years old? (And are you still doing this today?)
4. Start a project
Author Donald Miller points to Viktor Frankl’s belief that there are three things required for a meaningful life: 1. A project; 2. A community; 3. Redemption about previous events.
What project that you’re passionate about, small or large, are you going to start? This could be a side-business, a book, a blog, a event, a community project, or anything else that gets your juices flowing (and remember you don’t need to quit your job to do this).
Who is the community you have around you that you can draw on for help?
And what do you need to put behind you to move forward? As Miller says, “You are not your successes; you are not your failures. You're simply a character in your own story of life. Great stories happen when characters take action.” (It's worth reading those two last words again.)
5. Get rejected
Four days before his wife gave birth to their baby girl, Jia Jiang quit his job to pursue his dream of starting his own business. A few months later, a major potential investor rejected him. There started his journey of ‘Rejection Therapy’ aiming to overcome his fear and pain of rejection.
What has Jia learnt? “Rejection is like chicken -- it's either yummy or yucky depending on how you cook it. It’s the fear of rejection that’s crippling.”
“Just ask,” he says. If you’re rejected, that’s OK, but you may also be surprised at what you get.