A little over seven weeks ago I took the biggest leap of my life. I gave up the safety of a steady paycheck and said ‘Hell yeah!’ to entrepreneurship. Before that, for exactly one year, I ran The Gratefulist in addition to my full-time job.
The transition from employee to entrepreneur has been both exciting and terrifying. Looking back now, the biggest lessons I learned along the way are not about business or marketing or copywriting. No, the lessons I learned are mostly about myself, who I am, what my values are, and how to manage my energy.
So, this isn’t a post about the steps you need to take to take your side hustle full-time. This isn’t about business. This is about going through a significant life transition and the lessons learned along the way. Big life changes is something we all go through, so I’m sure you can relate.
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The first step is to acknowledge that a MAJOR life change has occurred. Pretending that nothing has happened and that your life isn’t going to change isn’t going to help you. Given up my day job and taking The Gratefulist full time has had a huge impact on my life.
Obviously, in my case, there are some practical day-to-day changes. I was programmed to be working all the time when setting up my business. I’m sure you recognize this, that right after a big project life seems different now that you’re no longer focusing all your time and energy on that project. In these first few weeks I’ve made it my mission to stop hustling and grinding and find my flow.
I didn’t anticipate this, but I’ve also had to recalibrate ME. Who is the real me now that I’ve lost a part of my identity (employee, colleague)? No longer needing to split my personalities between work and life has been a huge change.
ROUTINE IS KEY
I love the freedom being a full-time entrepreneur gives me, but I quickly realized that I can appreciate freedom more when there are boundaries in place. When you’re facing a big life change think about what boundaries you can put into place. What are your values? What are your priorities? What are your non-negotiables?
One of my priorities is rest, so I made a deal with myself to limit my worktime during the weekend. Sometimes, there are things I need to do on a Saturday or Sunday, but I’m going to compensate those hours during the rest of the week.
Another boundary I’ve put into place is that I created a daily routine to help me manage my time and energy. As part of my routine, I’ve blocked off my mornings for creative work.
Here are some tips if you want to set boundaries and create a routine for yourself: take time to visualize your ideal day and build your new routine based on your values, priorities, and the time of day when you work best. Create space. Let stuff go: declutter, purge, and clear old energy. Get intentional with your calendar and build in plenty of margin. Schedule in me-time.
BUT SOMETIMES… GO WITH THE FLOW
But sometimes… routines become oppressive. A wave of inspiration hits you during the weekend or you’re just not in the mood to write at the scheduled time. If it’s one of those days where you can’t force your head to focus on work or any of the tasks at hand, go do something else. Bake bread. Go shopping. Solve a crossword puzzle.
The lesson here is to really stay aware of where your head is and go with the flow, because it ultimately results in a more productive day.
LISTEN TO YOUR INTUITION
Who has felt powerless and afraid before going through a big change? Well, only about everyone in the history of the world, like ever.
Here's the great news though: you have a lot of power in this situation. More than you probably realize. And to harness that power and start allowing big things to happen in your work and life, you have to listen to your intuition and get comfortable with being a little uncomfortable.
For a long time I was afraid to take big risks. I didn't want to reach out for that big opportunity in my business for fear of being rejected (or even worse, ignored). I didn’t want to let go of my day job for fear of struggling financially.
See a pattern forming? Yup, it's fear. Fear of not being ready. Fear of struggle. Fear of making a big commitment without knowing the outcome. Fear of not being good enough.
Spoiler alert: you will never be ready. In the end, I realized that I’ll never be ready and I’ll never feel financially secure enough. The perfect moment to take the leap doesn’t exist. Once you can move past the fear and use your intuition to make big decisions, you’ll find that great things will start happening.
PRESENCE AND GRATITUDE
Giving up my corporate job and taking The Gratefulist full time was the perfect opportunity for me to slow down. I’ve ditched the rat race for a reason.
My advice for you is to savor where you are and be present. Life transitions can be an anxiety-producing time and you might want to numb out. Stay present. Whatever you are experiencing is a lesson waiting for you to learn it. Believe in yourself and create beliefs that support your vision and goals. But most of all, focus on all the positives.
These first few weeks and months after a big change can be harrowing or they can be the best of your life. You get to choose. Choose to celebrate.
Do you want to be more productive in your work and life? In need of a tailored-to-your-needs daily routine? Do you fall victim to procrastination and not achieving the goals (#allthethings) you set for yourself? Then make sure to download the Ultimate Checklist for Productivity with Purpose. Just click the button below.
Hi there! I’m Wendy, founder of The Gratefulist and host of the #perfectionistproblems community for recovering perfectionists. I’m insanely passionate about helping you let go of your perfectionism. Let’s chat about the hard stuff - like dealing with comparison, your inner critic, procrastination & productivity with purpose - so that you can stop caring so much about what other people think and finally take on those dream projects that you've been putting off for so long.