Tag: pursue your passions


Don’t Quit Your Daydream (Or Your Day Job)

I used to have a full-time job with benefits with a very prestigious university. I later quit to pursue my own business. However, it wasn’t so cut and dry. There were (and still are) a lot of layers to pursuing a dream of working for myself.

The process I went through looks a lot more realistic (and doable) than some of the mythical stories you hear these days about making the jump from working for a boss to becoming your own boss. This process can also spark some ideas for you to realistically make the jump too. It may even help ease some of your fears and concerns preventing you from taking the leap. Here’s my story that began about 10 years ago.

Don’t Quit Your Day Job

For the first time in my career as a college career adviser, my creativity was being stifled under new leadership. I was also experiencing a lot of micromanagement under this new leadership. I couldn’t continue to work under both conditions and had to start planning an exit strategy.

This strategy wasn’t to quit my day job. First, I started where most people start, looking for another job working for someone else doing the same thing elsewhere. Of course I wouldn’t leave my current job until I found my next job. But, I never found the right fit. Instead, I found opportunities that only served as an escape from my current situation. Not opportunities I could truly thrive in.

Ask yourself:

Are you just running to something that could possibly be worse than your current day job?

Don’t Quit Your Daydream

Next, I started listening to what my friends were telling me. They kept telling me I would be good at wardrobe styling. This was something I’d been daydreaming about for a long time. Wardrobe styling would definitely provide a creative outlet for me. But I still wanted to use the skills I’d developed as a career adviser over the previous eight to ten years. Those skills included interview coaching.

After giving it much thought and doing some research, I decided to start branding myself as an image consultant since image isn’t just about how you dress, but also how you present yourself in an interview. Specifically, I branded myself as an image consultant for up-and-coming recording artists here in Nashville. I knew there were a lot of young artists moving to town to pursue music who didn’t know how to present themselves to a label (which is basically a job interview) or in a media interview (I’d also had some past experience in media coaching too).

I went and got a business license. This is when it became real for me. But I still didn’t quit my day job. Not yet anyway.

Ask yourself:

Is there something people tell you you’re good at? Is it something you enjoy? Do you see a potential market for it?

Making the Shift

I worked on my branding efforts part-time while still working my day job as a career adviser. Following my own advice to my students, I also spent my spare hours networking with the few contacts I had in the music industry and growing my network. I attended as many industry events as I could and conducted informational interviews with several people in the music business, always asking for the names of two or three other people I should talk to.

For nine months I did this and my efforts began to pay off. I slowly began getting clients. I worked with those few clients on weekends, evenings, and any time I had off from my full-time job. Then, one of my networking contacts approached me about a part-time temporary job at his small label. This opportunity gave me somewhat of a safety net to leave my full-time job and pursue my business full-time. (This is just one example of why networking is so important!)

However, I still wasn’t hasty in my exit from my day job. Instead of giving two weeks’ notice, I gave 30 days’ notice because the policy was I could work for the university again in the future if I gave 30 days’ notice. But not if I’d only given two weeks’ notice. I wanted to keep as many options open in case things didn’t work out.

I used the three months for the temp job to increase my networking efforts in the music industry and promote myself to potential clients. This way I would have more lined up once the contract was up.

Ask yourself:

What are some small steps you can start taking toward your daydream? Are they things you can do around your day job? Who are some people you can start meeting and connecting with? Can you come up with some ideas for an eventual exit strategy from your day job? Do you have a potential safety net you hadn’t previously thought of?

Don’t Let Fear Overwhelm You

Once I was on my own, I was already getting used to working for myself and there wasn’t as much to fear as I would if I’d left my day job and then started a business. This isn’t to say I had no fear at all. A few days before giving my notice at my day job, I experienced my first (and luckily my only) panic attack.

Then, when the economy tanked in October 2008, less than two months after I’d left my day job, I started to get nervous. But, what I saw happening all around me was people being forced into becoming their own boss with no real planning or preparation. I was way ahead in that department because I’d already been preparing for nearly a year. And I already had some clients.

When I was short on image consulting clients, I supplemented my work with resume writing and career coaching services for those who’d been laid off and were looking for a new job.

Ask yourself:

Are you still having some fears about pursuing your daydream? Are these fears real or perceived? What are some ways you can calm your fears or put them into a different perspective? What would be the worst case scenario if those fears proved true? What’s the best case scenario?

Rely on Connections to Supplement Your Income

Throughout my time as an image consultant I continually made connections through networking which turned into additional ways to supplement my income with my growing business. While attending a fashion show, I met the president of a small design college who hired me to teach a class on image at the college for a semester. He also ended up publishing the 2nd edition of my first bestselling book, Advance Your Image, through the school’s small publishing company.

While attending an event at the Entrepreneur Center, I met someone who needed a contract employee with career advising experience to do outplacement counseling for his clients. I still do this work to this day because I get to make my own schedule and it’s the complete opposite of micromanaged work. I love it.

The connections I’d made through my original day job led to a part-time (10 hours/week) temporary job at another university, which unexpectedly turned into a part-time permanent position. I was hired to fill in for one semester while one of their employees was on maternity leave. But when she returned, they asked if I could stay on indefinitely. I got to make my own schedule so I could work it around my business.

Eventually they asked if I could work 20 hours a week. As much as I loved working at this university, I’d already put in so much blood, sweat and tears into my image consulting business that I couldn’t afford to take that much time away from it to work for someone else. So I decided to be fair to both myself and the university and leave so they could find someone who was able to give them the number of hours they needed.

Ask yourself:

Are there connections you have now in your current situation which could benefit you in the future? Are there connections you’d like to start making? What are some things you can fall back on when your daydream business is slow?

Be Willing to Shift Gears When Necessary

After leaving that part-time job, I realized I was burned out on seven years of image consulting and wanted to do something different. But what? I had no idea. I just knew I didn’t want to lose all the work I’d put into developing my brand.

Then a year and a half later I realized I still wanted to do career advising, but this time on my terms. (Click here for the story on how this realization came about.) I still wanted to be my own boss. And I wanted to keep the same name of my image consulting business. I was able to do both with a slight shift in my mission and an overhaul of my services.

Now, I offer unique career coaching services focusing on helping people discover and pursue their own passions. This includes helping them either find a new day job they’ve been daydreaming about, or helping them take the steps (not the leap) to becoming an independent freelancer or business owner. Whichever they’re most passionate about.

My business became more successful once I was willing to make this change. I was also able to see how the experience I gained and the tools I developed in my image consulting business fit nicely with my new mission and offerings.

Today, I don’t have to supplement my income anymore. Now, I get to do it simply for the love of the variety in my schedule and the love of the creativity it brings me. Unfortunately my time only lets me do one additional gig to my full-time daydream. But I’ve never been happier in my work.

No one is micromanaging me or stifling my creativity. I get to choose who I take on as clients and which projects I want to invest my free time into.

Ask yourself:

How can I start planning my exit strategy for my day job and my entry strategy to my daydream?

How I Did It

I started setting goals and then taking small steps toward achieving those goals. You can do this too with the on-demand program Don’t Just Set Goals, ACHIEVE Them. It’s the same plan I created for myself that can be easily adapted by anyone regardless of their own goals, passions, or daydreams. You can also get the complimentary hand out for the program when you subscribe to my newsletter at www.howtoachievemygoals.com.

I felt the need to share my path to where I am today as a Passion and Career Specialist after reading Brad Stulberg’s article on “hybrid entrepreneurship” and something called the “barbell strategy.”

Bottom Line:  You may want to pursue your daydream as your own boss but think it’s impossible. And it may be impossible for you if you simply quit your day job to follow your daydream. I want to serve as one of several examples of how doing it with an alternative strategy can now make it possible even for you. Probably more so than you ever imagined.

5 Ways to Discover New Passions in Your Life

Originally published on The Daily Positive.

Is it time for you to learn something new or try something again? Is there a place you’ve never visited? I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone, explore your surroundings, and talk to interesting people. Here’s how doing so can lead to new passions:

1. Try something new.

When we open ourselves up to new experiences, we discover passions we never imagined! If I was told three years ago I would be spending my free time stand-up paddle boarding down the river, I wouldn’t believe it. And if I was told this new passion would trigger a career change, I really wouldn’t believe it. This all came from taking a beginner paddle boarding class.

new passions

2. Try something old.

The first time I tried rock climbing I was horrible and thought I could never do it. A couple years later, I tried again, and surprisingly, I could! What was the difference? Just a little tweak in my approach. I listened to what an expert said about using my legs more than my arms. This made a huge difference!

Don’t assume because you failed at something once, you’ll fail again. Try a different approach!

3. Travel.

I know a woman who discovered a unique passion when she traveled to Italy. While there, she learned the time-honored art of bookbinding by hand. First, bookbinding became a hobby for her, and now it’s her full-time job! If she had never visited Italy, she may still be stuck in her previously miserable career.

New places or even a simple change of scenery can lead you down a path you never knew existed. You don’t have to travel far away, new passions can be discovered somewhere within driving distance too. 

4.  Pay attention to your surroundings.

When you pay attention to your surroundings, you’ll discover new opportunities for new passions to arise. Sometimes just inquiring about something that catches your eye can lead to a newly discovered passion.

Many cities and local colleges host community classes on topics within arts, languages, computers, etc. In the past, I’ve taken a photography class, an archery class, and even a fly-fishing class. I’ve also taught some classes! This year I plan to take a marketing class and a financial success class. Pay attention to the opportunities around you! 

5. Talk to people.

A few years ago a friend of mine and his girlfriend were traveling in Florida when they noticed a van with the picture of a stand-up paddle boarder on it. They inquired about it and discovered a place where they could learn to paddle board. The first day, they fell in the water several times but went back a second day to try again. They quickly became so passionate about this experience they decided to open their own paddle boarding company. They talked to everyone in the business to learn as much as they could. Nine months later, they opened their own paddle shop with much success! Their success happened just from expressing an interest and learning from the people around them.

Everyone has the opportunity to discover new passions. Find more ways to do so in the complimentary on-demand webinar 5 Ways to Pursue Your Passions in Work and Life.

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8 Simple Hacks to a More Passionate Life and Career

Life can often be mundane, causing you to feel stuck. Especially when you aren’t living and working in your purpose. So how can you become more passionate about your life and your work? How can you better enjoy both? By following these 8 simple life and career hacks:

1. Try again at a previously failed attempt.

Most people will suggest you try something new and I’m all for that. I’m a big believer in trying new things, whether it’s new food, a new hobby, or even something as simple as a new route to work.

But I also know it’s important to try something old. Especially something you once attempted and failed at before.

You may remember from my article 5 Ways to Discover New Passions, I shared how I failed at my first attempt at rock climbing and how something clicked after giving it a second chance. This gave me more confidence and a greater interest in the activity, resulting in physical improvement in my body.

What’s something you can try again? What would be the possible benefits of trying it again?

Source:  paNASH’s on-demand program, 5 Ways to Pursue Your Passions in Life and Work

2. Do one thing you can complete within 24-48 hours that will put you one step closer to achieving a long-term goal.

You can accomplish a large goal by taking a step-by-step approach. Incremental steps add up to big achievements. Simply doing one small thing each day will help you develop habits necessary to reaching your goal.

What’s one thing you can do today to get you closer to achieving your bigger goal? What’s one thing you can do tomorrow? Ask yourself these questions every day. Before you know it, you’ll have accomplished more than you thought you were capable of!

Source:  paNASH’s on-demand program, Don’t Just Set Goals, ACHIEVE Them!

3. Understand how your strengths and skills benefit others.

Knowledge of what you’re good at is power, especially when trying to win a job interview or get promoted. But knowing how your skills solve other people’s problems helps you better understand your purpose, not just in work but also in life.

Think about your strengths and skills you possess both within and outside of your job. How do they benefit others?

For example, my top spiritual gift is encouragement. I use this strength in so many aspects of my life, including my work, my interactions with friends, and when learning alongside others. I’ve been fortunate to see how this gift helps people gain the courage to pursue their passions.

Source:  paNASH’s on-demand program, Personal Branding: How to Know What Makes You YOUnique and AWEthentic!

4. Update your resume every 6 months, even when you’re not looking for a job.

Because of my background as a career coach, I’ve helped thousands of people with their resumes. I always tell them the same thing:  keep your resume updated every six months.

Why? 1) Because you never know when someone will ask for a copy of it. 2) You never know when another career opportunity or promotion will come your way. 3) It’s easier to remember what you’ve accomplished in the past six months than in the past six years if you find yourself in another job search down the road.

Source:  paNASH’s on-demand program, Resumes That Get You the Interview

5. Ask 3 people who have your dream job how they got to where they are.

These conversations can open your mind up to ideas and opportunities you never before considered! Listen carefully to their stories while asking a lot of good questions. Learn not just from their successes but also from their failures.

You may find there wasn’t a straight line to their career path. There rarely is for most people. This can give you confidence to pursue a new career path despite lack of formal education or direct experience.

Take their encouragement and advice. Put it into action to see how far you can go in the direction of your personal and professional pursuits.

Source:  paNASH’s on-demand program, The Secret to Successful Networking: How to Do It Naturally and Effectively

6. Make a list of questions you’d ask if you were interviewing the interviewer.

People often forget the job interview is a two-way street. You should always ask questions to help you make the right decision when faced with multiple offers.

Besides money, think about the things you’d need or want in your next job. They could include similar core values, a flexible schedule, a culture that promotes “family first,” healthy living, etc.

Formulate a few questions you’d need to ask to determine if your next opportunity will provide those things. Make sure to ask these questions in your next job interview, along with the other type of questions I outline in my Quora answer to “What are some interview hacks?”

Here’s what one of my clients experienced when she did this:

“One of the companies I interviewed with I decided not to accept any offers from them based on their answers to my questions so as not to get myself into the same work situation I was in previously. It is SO empowering to know what is good for me and to be able to say no! I have the tools now to spot the red flags and this has been helpful on several interviews. I am so glad to have this confidence.”

Source:  paNASH’s on-demand program, Steps to Acing the Interview

7. Start a collection of your best work.

Curate a collection of your best work both from your job and your outside projects. This can include personal things you’ve made (i.e. a book, a painting, etc.), and the projects your most proud of from your job.

Your body of work will help you see how your skills overlap. But most of all, it will reveal your own career path thus far and where it might be pointing to next.

Source:  paNASH’s on-demand program, The 3 Super Powers of Successful Job Seekers

8. List the ways you’ve impacted the bottom line in your job.

When you’re working on hack #4, always include your on-the-job accomplishments and results of your efforts. By focusing on results and not just your job duties, you’re able to easily see where you’ve had an impact, giving you a greater sense of purpose.

Also, it helps you confidently discuss your worth when it comes time to negotiate a new job offer, a promotion, or a pay raise.

When you follow these life and career hacks, you’ll start to see ways to become unstuck. Soon you’ll be living a more passionate, vibrant, and productive life!

Source:  paNASH’s on-demand program, Make More Money, Without Taking a Second Job

Lori Bumgarner is a passion and career specialist and owner of paNASH, a Nashville-based career coaching service. She helps people discover their passions, achieve their goals, and find purposeful work they love. She addresses each of the above hacks in depth in her new affordable on-demand coaching programs delivered online. To access these programs and view them at your own pace, go to:  www.yourpassionilife.com/ondemand.

Practice For Your Victory (Re-post)

This week marks the beginning of the NCAA tournament and March Madness. I thought it was appropriate to re-post this from 2016. It’s not just for basketball fans, but for anyone who loves an inspiring story of perseverance and dreams that come true!

It’s that time of the year again! College basketball tournament time, AKA “March Madness.”

Anyone who knows me well knows how passionate I am about college basketball and the madness of the NCAA tournament. Originally from North Carolina, college basketball and March Madness is in my blood.

My dad made it clear to me at a very young age that our household pulls for Carolina. When I was little, he bought me a UNC blue and white basketball and taught me how to play HORSE using our neighbor’s basketball goal. I’ve been a Tar Heel fan ever since.

When I was 8 years old, I remember rooting for the ’82 Carolina team in the NCAA championship game against Georgetown. That team included the great Michael Jordan. I was allowed to stay up late to watch Carolina beat Georgetown and be crowned the national champions.

A year later, I got to stay up late again to watch NC State (one of Carolina’s conference rivals) play in the ’83 championship game. That night, there was a bit of a shift in our household.

Doing the unthinkable, accomplishing the impossible

While we had always pulled for Carolina, my mother loved the coaching style of NC State’s Jim Valvano. She loved his enthusiasm and excitement. She loved how he wasn’t afraid to show emotion, unlike the even-keeled (which she called “boring”) coaches Dean Smith and Mike Krzyzewski.

Jimmy V’s enthusiasm and determination led an unlikely team to a national championship. The team was off to a bad start in the regular season, losing a total of 10 games. The only way they could even get to the NCAA tournament was to win the conference tournament, which seemed nearly impossible with their record.

Practice your victory

But Jimmy V was a big dreamer and a big believer in his dreams. He would schedule a practice every so often where his team would leave the basketballs on the ball rack, and instead grab a pair of scissors and practice cutting down the nets.

(For those of you who don’t know much about basketball, cutting down the nets is a celebratory ritual the winning team does when they’ve won a championship title.)

As the season went on, the NC State Wolfpack started improving their game, and were able to get past the previous year’s national champions, the UNC Tar Heels, to win the ACC tournament and make it to the national NCAA tournament. They got their first chance to cut down the nets!

Never give up

However, when they got to the national tournament, they weren’t expected to make it past the first round because they were the “Cinderella” team. They were one of the lowest-seeded teams in the tournament. One loss and they would be out. And they were up against some big giants.

But Jimmy V never gave up hope his team could win the whole thing. And guess what? They did! No other team has gone from such a low ranking to becoming the champions. Never before, and never since. NC State was such an underdog team. But they had so much heart, so much emotion, and so much enthusiasm.

On the night of the championship game, our household became Wolfpack fans. Everybody in North Carolina was so excited to see history being made, it didn’t matter if you were also a Duke or Carolina fan. That night, if you were a North Carolinian, you were an NC State fan.

I’ll never forget those last nail-biting seconds of the final game. When the winning basket was made, I remember my dad jumping out of his chair and raising his hands to the ceiling. I’ve never seen him look so tall!

I also remember seeing the now-famous scene of Jimmy V running around the court with unbridled emotion and excitement. And the Wolfpack got to do what they had practiced. They cut down those nets!

 
NCAA Tournament
Image courtesy of Unsplash

 

An inspiring example

This past weekend, my dad was visiting me from North Carolina and together we watched the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary of Jimmy V and his team accomplishing the impossible. I’ve personally seen the Survive and Advance documentary several times, and I always smile at Jimmy V’s passion for life and his love for his players, and I always cry when it shows his inspiring “Never Give Up” ESPY speech.

It was in this documentary where I first learned of the team practicing cutting down the nets. It was also in this documentary I first learned from the interview with Jimmy’s wife how he kept note cards of his goals in the inner pockets of his sports jackets. One said, “Win a national championship,” and one said, “Beat cancer.”

We know Jimmy V accomplished the first goal. And while we all know he didn’t beat his own personal battle with cancer, he is accomplishing his second goal through his Jimmy V Foundation he set up from his hospital room to help fund research to find a cure for cancer.

Cut down your nets

I share all this to remind you that life is short. Cancer cut both Jimmy V’s life and my mother’s life short. I also share this to ask you:

Are you living a life of passion and enthusiasm?

Are you putting your goals in writing?

Are you carrying them close to your heart?

Are you practicing for your own victories?

Are you practicing what it will be like and look like when you accomplish your goals and victories?

Those are pretty inspiring and powerful practices, especially when you see such an inspiring and powerful example of how those practices work.

If you’d like to watch the story of Jim Valvano and his ’83 Wolfpack team, you can watch Survive and Advance on YouTube. Even if you’re not a sports fan, I encourage you to watch it.

Jimmy V always said every day you should do three things:

  1. Laugh.
  2. Spend time in thought.
  3. Have your emotions moved to tears.

He said:

“If you laugh, think and cry in the same day, then you’ve had one heck of a day.” (Jim Valvano)

I guarantee the documentary will make you laugh, will make you cry, and will inspire you.

And if you’d like to set big goals for your own life, goals that lead to victory, join the paNASH mailing list to receive a complimentary Goal-Achievement Plan. Your practice for victory will lead to your victory.

Title photo source: http://southerntorch.com/area-champions-crowned-sub-regionals-set/

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5 Things to Put on Your To-Don’t List

This is the time of year when people start making to-do lists. Perhaps you’re one of those people who always makes to-do lists and relishes the feeling that comes with checking off each item. But to be successful and less stressed in our day-to-day lives, we also need a TO-DON’T list.

What Is a TO-DON’T List?

A TO-DON’T list has on it those things we shouldn’t waste our time and energy doing. It’s probably the harder of the two types of lists to follow since most items are ones we have to remember time and time again not to do. We can’t just not do it once and check it off. We have to refer back to it, remember it, and develop it as a habit. That can also take a lot of energy. But, if you spend your energy working on your TO-DON’T list, you’ll save more energy in the long-run.

Below is an example of a TO-DON’T list. It’s my own personal TO-DON’T list for 2017. Feel free to copy it, add to it, or tweak it any way you need to so you can de-stress and focus your energies on what’s more important in life.

My TO-DON’T List:

  1. Apologize when I’ve done nothing wrong.
  2. Say “that’s okay” when someone apologizes to me. Instead say, “I accept your apology.” Think about the difference between the two. Saying, “That’s okay,” is giving people permission to repeat the offense. Saying, “I accept your apology,” shows forgiveness and at the same time sets a healthy boundary.
  3. Just say “I’m sorry” when I apologize to someone. Instead add to that, “How can I make it right?” and try to do so. Otherwise, my apology is insincere and has no action behind it.
  4. Censor myself too much on my blog. I want to be more transparent so others can learn from my experiences instead of worrying they will think I’m talking too much about myself.
  5. Do anything that doesn’t support or line up with my personal mission statement. Do you have a personal mission statement? If not, add that to your to-do list! It can serve as the basis for helping make difficult choices easier to decide. I’ll teach you how in to come up with your own mission statement in my coaching services and soon-to-be-released on-demand programs.

Your TO-DON’T List

What should you add to your own TO-DON’T list? Perhaps you don’t need to continue feeling stuck in your current job. Maybe you don’t need to keep putting off pursuing your passions or letting lack of confidence stand in your way. Or, you don’t need to put off any longer getting help in these areas. If this is the case for you, add to your to-do list, “Fill out the paNASH intake form.” It’s a simple item you can check off your list to get you started on a brighter future!