So you’re thankful to still have a job in these current economic times, but you’re miserable in it. You’d love to escape the golden handcuffs to start your own thing.
Now could be a good time to start plotting your escape so your business idea can be ready when the economy opens back up.
But before you do, you need to evaluate your personal goals. And even if you’re not looking to start your own business, but instead want to change jobs or careers, I recommend you also evaluate your personal goals first.
If you don’t take into account your goals in other areas of your life before focusing on your new career goal, you could find yourself more miserable than you currently are.
This goal review should include a detailed plan outlining the kind of life you want for you and your family. Here’s how to start.
Evaluate your goals
1. Write down your goals
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It’s statistically proven you’re 50% more likely to achieve your goals when you write them down.
When plotting your golden handcuff escape, you want to write down more than just your career or financial goals. You also want to write down your goals for all aspects of your life. This includes your spiritual, family, health, social, and personal development goals. Focusing only on career or financial goals can lead to burnout real fast!
For help with all types of goals, download my 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan. It’s free when you choose any of my subscription options.
2. Look for complementary goals
Once you’ve written down your goals, look for areas where the achievement of one goal will result in the achievement of another goal.
For example, you may have a goal to become healthier by exercising more, while your new business venture will require some regular physical work.
3. Pay attention to competing goals
Don’t ignore where you may have competing goals.
For instance, you may want to have more time with your family, but your career goal will require a lot of business travel.
I’m currently working with a client who, when we first began working together, had a short-term goal of starting her own consulting business. But, after working with her on her goals, she realized this goal was in competition with her new family dynamic. She recently gained custody of her 13-year-old nephew and wants to provide a solid, stable home for him for the next five years.
Her goal for her consulting business hasn’t been dashed. It’s just been changed to a long-term goal. Her new short-term goal is to find a stable job that will put her in front of future clients and strategic partners for her long-term goal.
Author Pamela Slim says in her book, Escape From Cubicle Nation:
“Over time, as your life changes, you can adjust the plan. The important thing is to think about your ideal life before you make any serious decisions.”
4. Include your family’s input
For this reason, you’ll need to include your family in your goal-setting and goal review process. Their input is essential because your choices will significantly impact them as well.
Consideration needs to be made not only for your spouse, but also for your children and/or aging parents under your care. Each member of the family should weigh in on what an ideal life would look like.
You won’t all agree on everything, but there should be agreement on some major areas. Creating a family mission statement (or personal mission statement if you’re single) can help you in making big decisions and coming to agreement in those decisions.
Once you have a personal or family mission statement, you can use it to weigh important decisions. You do this by observing which decisions best support your mission statement.
My Personal Branding program works in conjunction with the 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan, and can be adapted to families as well. You can also use it to help you flesh out your business idea or next career move.
5. Find room for your life
Your original reason for trying to escape the golden handcuffs likely had something to do with wanting more work-life balance.
Use your evaluation of your personal goals to find creative ways of making room for the life part of your work-life balance goals. Do this before you get so wrapped up in your new career goal you have no time for life. You’ll be glad you did.
Things that will thwart your escape from the golden handcuffs
1. Not trusting the process
Some clients who come to me wanting to break out of their current job to start their own thing, often want to jump ahead of the process listed above. This is usually because they’ve waited so long to start making such plans, either because of fear or lack of confidence. Which leads to a desperation to jump into something new without doing the necessary research and prep work. As a career adviser, I have to say this is a dangerous reason to start something new.
If you’ve overstayed in your current job and you’re now anxious to get out, resist the temptation to:
- Skip the goal evaluation process all together.
- Get impatient with the process and quit before you’ve completed it.
- Forgo your due diligence and research
- Become inflexible about your business idea.
While passion is important, your business idea should also be something people need and can benefit from. This is why the Personal Branding program includes the process of figuring out if there’s a market for your idea, who your market is, and how you help solve your market’s need or problem.
2. Unwillingness to make necessary financial sacrifices
Other clients who come to me wanting to leave their current job for something new, such as starting their own business, will often say they’re ready to make the transition. However, they attach a condition to it. They say they must immediately earn the same amount of money they’ve been making, or more. This is an unrealistic expectation.
Therefore, it’s important to do the goal evaluation first and to include your family in the process, as suggested above. You must look at your finances to make sure you can afford to start something new. But, you need to be realistic about this as well.
If you say you need to earn the same amount because you’re putting your children through college or have some large medical bills, that’s one thing. But if it’s because you think you can’t live without your current lifestyle of a fancy car or the latest big screen TV, that’s another thing. Working for such things is what’s keeping you in your golden handcuffs, and keeping you from a more fulfilled life.
Speaking from personal experience, when I left my job to start my own business, I had to cut out A LOT of things I thought I couldn’t live without. This included both big things and little things. And guess what? Not only do I not miss those things, I feel freer without them.
My life has become more simplified, allowing me time for more important things in life. Plus, making short-term financial sacrifices has led to a more secure financial future. I’ve been able to pay off my debt and put myself on a more solid financial footing.
Don’t get so enamored with financial success and making more money that you can’t see a new career move as a means to a great life. Sometimes you have to sacrifice more in the short-run to have more in the long-run. But if your goal is only to serve your bank account, you won’t find fulfillment in your current job, your next job, or your own business.
Although no one starts a company or changes careers without the goal of making money, the ultimate goal should always be, first and foremost, to serve others. As you do, you’ll find the fulfillment you’re seeking, even if you’re making less or more than you currently are.
I love serving my clients and people like you who want to have more balance in their lives and career. This includes not only providing you one-on-one career coaching services, but also online resources available on-demand.
Resources to help you escape the golden handcuffs
You can start with the 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan, free with any paNASH subscription option. In addition, you can purchase the Personal Branding book for as little as $9.99. Or, you can get it free with your purchase of the Personal Branding on-demand course.
In addition, I’ve listed below some books and classes helpful in escaping the golden handcuffs and starting your own thing.
- Book – Escape From Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur, by Pamela Slim
- Book – Will It Fly? How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don’t Waste Your Time or Money, by Pat Flynn
- Nashville Community Education Commission virtual class: Start Your Own Business
- Nashville Community Education Commission virtual class: How to Write a Business Plan
- How to Go From Burned Out to Fired Up!
- How to Know if Your Burnout is Killing You
- You Don’t Have to Be a Slave to a Paycheck
- 5 Common Fears (and Myths) of Quitting a Job You Hate
- How to Make the Risk of Starting Your Own Business Doable