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What if you really did know your right career?

What if you really did know your right career?

Your right career may be for you the one that earns you the most personal satisfaction or the most money or contributes most to others. You need to decide on the balance between different pay-offs of the work that you do and that choice is completely yours. This piece focuses on the decision to do work that you are passionate about, whether in the end that becomes the whole of your life, or needs to be balanced by doing other work that meets other practical needs.

I spent a long time searching for the ‘right’ thing to do with my life and all the time what I really wanted to do was staring me in the face. I even read ‘do what you love’ type self-help books that told me it was probably staring me in the face and continued to completely ignore it.

It was just too obvious that I would become a life coach. The ego part of me also thought that life coaching sounded a bit cheesy, so I had to get over that as well so I could wind up doing this work I love.

I left teaching as I was constantly moving with my husband’s career and was looking to find what my new ‘perfect’ career would be. I studied for a second degree in Art History and Creative Writing and also did courses in photography, floristry and interior design. All of these were a lot of fun and I know I was really lucky to be able to invest the time and money in them. The bridge between hobby course and new career seemed huge and I had no idea how to bridge it.

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It took a long time to admit to myself that my right career was coaching. It took even longer to realise that the bridge to making that happen was not going to be something that would come easily. I was looking for a simple leap into making my passion my career and the leap wasn’t a simple one for me.

You know those water obstacle shows where someone always falls short of making the leap and plunges into the deep water below? That was me in the ‘finding your right career water obstacle show.’ (not sure it’s ratings are that high, maybe you haven’t heard of it?)

Sure, you will read loads of internet marketing about how certain people will make the leap to your new passion filled career easy and simple and if there really are people who are making this work quickly and easily then a whole load of good luck to them.

I’ve invested a lot more time and money into making this passion work and the more I learn the more I see that it is about consistently turning up as yourself in all this and claiming what you want, even when it isn’t an easy path. Making the leap to a career you are passionate about is deciding to climb the mountain, it isn’t climbing it. That comes after.

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The idea of this journey to your right career or a thriving coaching practice as being like climbing a mountain came from my own coach mentor, Sas Petherick.

So if you are brave and some might say fool-hardy enough to do, you know, what you really want to do with your life, here are six steps to help you get there. They won’t get you all of the way there, but they are a start. Look upon them as trail snacks on your forthcoming mountain journey.

1. Admitting what you really want in life.

Is there a passion you have been ignoring because it is just too obvious? Have you been blocking it because the ego part of you does not fully approve of your idea? What do you talk about that lights you up? What kind of books are you always reading? What magazines do you always pick up? Passion leads clues. Imagine that you have become a detective of your own life and you are looking for where your passion lies. Make notes, keep files, be onto yourself.

2. Owning your talents.

So you have the passion, but now that sneaky little voice inside you is saying ‘well sure that sounds great, but you’re not really as good at balloon modelling / diving / historical research of the Tudor period as you think you are’. Part of this is the ego that is trying to keep you safe. You are only in the exploratory phases of what your true life’s work is going to be. You don’t have to have the ‘right’ answer.

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3. Not expecting the complete picture of your future to form straight away.

This is where it gets messy. You try a new direction and you fail or you have to find a way of mixing your life passion with your day job and that gets messy. You think thoughts like ‘maybe I’m wasting my time,’ or ‘this is never going to work.’

4. Allowing the messiness of transition.

This is where allowing comes in. Allow yourself not to know, not to have it all together, not to know all the steps, not to have a brilliant answer to the cocktail party question ‘So what do you do?’

5. Finding support for your dreams.

On your mountain trail to your new passion filled career it’s great to have a mountain guide. Find one you resonate with and you trust. Ask for referrals. Talk to a variety of guides / mentors / coaches and find out who you click with. Clicking with a guide, mentor or coach is more important than being impressed by how fancy their website is or whether they guest post on Life Hack.

6. Tortoise steps, not hare leaps. (from coaching tool created by Dr Martha Beck)

If your next step seems to great, break it down. If the step after that one seems too great, break it down again. Find the step that does not bring up all the resistance that stops you from doing anything. You’ll never know for sure that you couldn’t find work in what you truly love unless you make the first step of truly listening to what you really want, by stopping to ignore what is obvious.

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Attribution: Some of the ideas in this piece have been influenced by and relate to my understanding of the book ‘Finding Your Own North Star,’ by Martha Beck. (Piatkus, 2003) This is a great book to have alongside you if you are trying to climb this particular mountain, the summit of which is having work that you are passionate about.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on October 18, 2018

10 Key Characteristics of a Highly Successful Entrepreneur

10 Key Characteristics of a Highly Successful Entrepreneur

When it comes to starting your own business and pursuing your dream of becoming an entrepreneur, it can be advantageous to go all in and embrace the flexibility of finally quitting your day job.

Keep in mind, though, that it takes a special kind of person to take the business world by storm: a person who has cultivated the key characteristics of entrepreneurial success.

People with these characteristics are likely to succeed, whereas people without them have difficulty moving forward with even the most brilliant business ideas.

These characteristics of an entrepreneur are so important that I’ve decided to cover all 10 of them in detail so that you can start your business with your best foot forward.

1. Successful Entrepreneurs Practice Discipline

Plenty of business experts claim that you can’t get anywhere as an entrepreneur without vision or creativity, but that’s simply not the truth. Instead, the one quality that no entrepreneur can be successful without is discipline.

To build an idea into a business, you have to have the discipline to spend time slogging through the least fun parts of running a business (like the bookkeeping), rather than taking that time to do something fun.

Andrew Carnegie, one of the most financially successful Americans of all time, grew up working dull and difficult jobs in factories. Despite going to bed hungry some nights, he continued doing his best work. He was eventually hired by a railroad company and continued to move up the ladder until starting his own successful businesses. Carnegie is a fine example of an entrepreneur dedicated to discipline and hard work. He truly earned his dreams of prosperity and success.

When you’re the boss, there’s no one to keep you at work except yourself — and there’s no short-term consequences for skipping out early.

Sure, if an entrepreneur plays hooky enough he knows that the business just won’t happen, but it’s very hard to convince someone that ‘just this once’ won’t hurt (and to keep ‘just this once’ from becoming a daily occurrence).

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2. Successful Entrepreneurs Keep Calm

Things go wrong when you run your own business.

Most entrepreneurs go through crises with their businesses — and more than a few wind up with outright failures on their hands. But when you’re responsible for a business, you have to be able to keep calm in any situation. Any other reaction — whether you lose your temper or get flustered — compounds the problem.

Instead, a good entrepreneur must have the ability to keep his cool in an emergency or crisis. It may not make the problem easier to solve, but it certainly won’t make it harder.

Honestly, losing your calm is a quick path to becoming the kind of person who gives up in the face of adversity. Instead giving in to frustration, remember classic entrepreneur Benjamin Franklin.

Franklin kept his calm as he experimented and tweaked his inventions again and again in pursuit of success. He didn’t give up during his many failures – he chose to innovate. You can choose innovation, too.

If an entrepreneur can handle failure without frustration or anger, s/he can move past it to find success.

3. Successful Entrepreneurs Pay Attention to Details

Restricting your attention to the big picture can be even more problematic than ‘sweating the small stuff.’

As an entrepreneur, unless venture capital has magically dropped out of the sky, a small expense can be a killer. It’s attention to detail that can make a small business successful when it has competition and it’s attention to detail that can keep costs down.

Attention to detail can be difficult to maintain — going over ledgers can be tedious even when you aren’t trying to pay close attention — but keeping your eye on a long-term vision is just asking for a problem to sneak in under a radar.

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After a business grows, an entrepreneur might be able to hire someone to worry about the details. In the beginning, though, only one person can take responsibility for the details.

Skeptical about the importance of details? Look no further than Howard Schultz, who grew a small coffee shop called Starbucks into one of the most globally successful coffee businesses in the world through his extreme attention to detail.

He is famous for taking all aspects of growing a business into account, paying attention not only to financially smart business decisions, but also focusing on socially responsible business decisions. Details can take you far.

4. Successful Entrepreneurs Embrace Risks

No entrepreneur has a sure thing, no matter how much money s/he stands to earn on a given product. Even if a product tests well, the market can change, the warehouse can burn down and a whole slew of other misfortune can befall a small business.

It’s absolutely risky to run a business of your own and while you can get some insurance, it’s not like most investment options. Even worse, if something does go wrong, it’s the entrepreneur’s responsibility — no matter the actual cause. In order to deal with all of that without developing an ulcer, you have to have a good tolerance for risk.

You don’t need to channel your inner frat boy and take on absolutely stupid risks, but you need to know just how much you can afford to risk — and get a good idea of how likely you are to lose it. If the numbers make you uncomfortable, the risk is too great.

Embracing risks is essential for growth and additional success, as well. Walt Disney, for example, could have stayed comfortable with his advances in the film and animation industries, but decided to expand his brand with a new dream: a theme park that soared above the competition. Without taking this risk, the incredibly successful Disney theme park empire would never have come about.

An entrepreneur has to be willing to accept pretty big risks, with some level of comfort.

5. Successful Entrepreneurs are Balanced

You can take any characteristic too far. There’s a point at which attention to detail can become obsession or calm can become unemotional response.

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As an entrepreneur, you have to be able to balance your characteristics, getting the most of them without going over the edge. But balance for an entrepreneur goes far beyond keeping your characteristics in check, though.

Just as an entrepreneur doesn’t have a boss to keep them at work when necessary, they don’t have one to send them home when they’re done. If you are working for yourself, you have to decide how to balance your work and home life — and if you have a day job to add into the equation, balance just gets more complicated.

Oprah Winfrey, one of the most successful and influential entrepreneurs out there, understands the importance of balance. Winfrey has a lot going on; she runs her own media kingdom, acts, produces films, publishes print, and more. In an interview with Fast Company,[1] she talks about her efforts to balance priorities and self care, saying that she must ask herself what is truly important in each limited day.

You may or may not have as much on your plate as Oprah, but learning how to balance whatever you have going on in life will certainly help you farther along down the road as you learn to be a great entrepreneur.

6. Successful Entrepreneurs are Passionate and Motivated

In order to develop any of the above characteristics, you must have a foundation of passion. Staying disciplined day after day during the building of your business takes unrivaled motivation.

Before you start any business, ask yourself if you can sustain true excitement about your idea during even the darkest days ahead of you. If the answer is yes, then good for you! Nurture your natural motivation by taking these action steps throughout your business journey:

  • Commit to making short and long-term goals. Check in with them often to stay on task.
  • Have a plan in place for the inevitable days when you feel discouraged. Make a list of things that will help keep you motivated and focused.
  • Share your ideas with trusted individuals who are just as excited as you are. They will help keep your enthusiasm rolling even when you are feeling down.

By being prepared for apathetic days and holding fast to your authentic passion, you can actually enjoy your journey to success.

7. Successful Entrepreneurs Adapt

Remember this one word: flexibility. Seasoned entrepreneurs know that change is not only a part of life, but also a part of the business world. Expect change and choose to adapt.

As a new entrepreneur, it will be tempting to cling to your original business plan with no exceptions, even if you notice it isn’t working. Good entrepreneurs know that it’s okay to make smart, informed changes in order to ensure efficiency.

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8. Successful Entrepreneurs are Marketing and Sales Experts

No matter what kind of business you are starting, a knowledge of marketing and sales will save you many headaches. A passion for creating a beautiful handmade lifestyle product is not enough to run a successful lifestyle brand; it is critical that you understand key business principles in addition to your natural skills or great product line.

Not sure how to start? Taking business courses is a great idea, but you can also easily brush up on sales and marketing through free online resources. Check out these 10 Sales Skills Everyone Should Master To Be Successful to begin now.

9. Successful Entrepreneurs Have Strong Money Management

Along with sales and marketing skills, money management is a very useful tool in the box of the entrepreneur. Understanding how to best manage your money can be the difference between early success and early failure in the business world.

If money management isn’t your strongest skill, prepare to hire a financial expert to help you with any tricky business that comes up. Financial guidance and knowledge is never a bad idea.

10. Successful Entrepreneurs Ask Questions and Continually Improve

Pride is a natural human quality, but it’s important to humbly conduct some constructive criticism every now and again on both yourself as a leader and your new business as a whole.

Assess how things are going and be willing to make positive changes if necessary. Here’re 15 ways to cultivate lifelong learning.

If you are always improving, then how can you ultimately fail?

The Bottom Line

Let me remind you of one important fact: the qualities of an entrepreneur listed here are not exclusively available to some people and elusive to others.

Although some people may have natural strengths and weaknesses, these qualities can be learned by anyone interested in taking up the entrepreneurial challenge. It might not be easy to change old habits, but it is absolutely possible to cultivate these characteristics in yourself.

Whether you’re a business owner or an aspiring entrepreneur, with hard work, you can train yourself to develop the qualities that truly determine the entrepreneurial spirit and future success.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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