Don't be afraid to go out on a limb. That's where the fruit is. ~ H Jackson Browne
Opportunity Knocks: Creative Ways to Make a Living Without A Job
Afraid to Take the Leap? Simple Ways to Face Down Your Fears
Valerie and her wonder dog,
By Valerie Young
The so-called safe path is always “easier.” Just ask Ursula Clay. Ursula tried to take the secure career path her immigrant parents had chosen for her. In fact, she worked incredibly hard to achieve a level of financial success and security her parents, both high school dropouts, never had. Says Ursula:
“I worked very hard to get through law school at night, all the while working full time and struggling financially. When I finally achieved what I thought was the brass ring - i.e., good salary, fancy title, etc. - it was a thoroughly disappointing revelation that this was the end result of all the hard work. It felt very empty and meaningless, further made so by the birth of my two beautiful children. I just felt as though I could not possibly have been put on this earth to toil way for 12 hour days at a job that kept me away from my family, and which I dreaded going to every day.”
“Unless you walk out into the unknown,” says Tom Peters, “the odds of making a profound difference in your life are pretty low.” After two years of executing her escape plan which included many moments of fear and uncertainty, Ursula is embracing the unknown. “It’s like getting out of college again, and having a clean slate. I do not know where I am going to end up, or what might come my way. In fact, staying home with my kids right now may be the next calling, and after that, who knows!”
Laugh in the Face of Fear
Anyone who has ever ventured out of their safe little world will tell you they had doubts. When it comes to making a major life change, not only is a certain amount of fear perfectly normal, it’s actually helpful. For example, it’s our healthy fears that keep us from jumping off cliffs. And the great thing about fear is that there are always ways to get around it.
So try laughing in the face of fear. Am I kidding? No. Ridiculing your fears is actually a very effective technique for banishing them. Let me show you what I mean.
If I told you the U.S. Senate had just voted to relocate the capital from Washington, D.C. to Las Vegas, your response would probably be something like, “No way!” That’s because the mind rejects that which it considers absurd. It’s the same with fear. The trick is to turn your fears into a ridiculous event in your mind. That way, you allow your natural human reaction to absurdity to take over and dismiss them.
Try it yourself. Take your biggest fear and take it to extremes. Really exaggerate it. Let’s say you’re paralyzed by the fear of failure. Try picturing your entire family, all of your friends, your neighbors, everyone you went to high school with, even your boss, standing outside your cardboard-box home holding up signs that read: We Told You So!
Pretty ridiculous, right? When you realize that your worst-case fantasy is just that – a fantasy – what felt overwhelming will now feel much more manageable.
Change Is Easy – When You Take It One Step at a Time
Another way to manage the fear of venturing out on your own is to start small. If the thought of just up and quitting your day job frightens you, start building your freelance career on the side. Begin with low-risk steps and gradually work your way up to the harder stuff.
You never know what is going to move you to action. It can be a book, something you saw on television, a chance conversation, a workshop… I was flattered to learn that, for Ursula, that chance encounter happened in 2003 when she “stumbled upon” the Changing Course Web site. That was enough to move Ursula to start “formulating an escape plan.” She writes, “My plan consisted of figuring what I wanted to do after I quit my job, and putting myself in a financial position that would allow me to walk away from a well-paying, but unsatisfying career.”
Receiving a consistent message that change was possible says Ursula, “had the effect of pulling me back to my escape plan whenever I started fearing the unknown again, or just got lazy.” For Ursula that message came in the form of this newsletter. For you it might be a support group, a coach, or even a buddy who can check in to see how your plan is progressing.
Even though Ursula has taken the leap, she’s now working on the second part of her goal – coming up with ideas for multiple income streams. The good news is that having faced down her fears once means Ursula can approach her new goal from a far more desirable vantage point. “Now,” she says, “I can read the newsletter on my home computer in my sweatpants while my daughter naps, instead of on my Blackberry while riding the 8:02 pm train back to the suburbs from work.” And just to underscore how excited she is to be embarking on this new chapter in her life, Ursula signed off with, “Regards from the other side.”
Remember, courage is not a matter of losing your fear so you can take action; courage comes from taking action. And that, in turn, helps you overcome your fear. When you can act despite your fears, you will be rewarded many times over. That’s because, as Anais Nin once observed, “Life shrinks or expands according to one’s courage.” Once I found the courage to escape job jail my life expanded in ways I never imagined possible. Life really is better over here on the “other side.” I encourage you to take one small step today to join those of us are enjoying the view from the other side.
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About the Author
"Profiting From Your Passions" expert Valerie Young abandoned her corporate cubicle to become the Dreamer in Residence at ChangingCourse.com offering resources to help you discover your life mission and live it. Her career change tips have been cited in Kiplinger's, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today Weekend, Woman's Day, and elsewhere and on-line at MSN, CareerBuilder, and iVillage.com. An expert on the Impostor Syndrome, Valerie has spoken on the topic of How to Feel as Bright and Capable as Everyone Seems to Think You Are to such diverse organizations as Daimler Chrysler, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Harvard, and American Women in Radio and Television.
To read more articles about how to work at what you love without a job go to ChangingCourse.com/articles
Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity. They seem to be more afraid of life than death. ~ James Bymes
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Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we often might win, by fearing to attempt.~ Jane Addams
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.~ Marianne Williamson
Making the Most of a Seminar By Jennifer Manlowe
I've just returned from an outstanding seminar put on by Changing Course entitled Work at What You Love conducted by my two favorite creative entrepreneurs, Valerie Young at ChangingCourse.com and Barbara Winter at BarbaraWinter.com
What helped me make the most of this seminar was to take each one of the workshop handouts and use the back-pages for noting fresh insights that were not mentioned specifically in the handout.
My colleague, Diane of WeaveDiva.com, was determined to learn something new from this seminar, something she had been sure would be a repeat of other seminars she'd attended on similar topics. She challenged herself to write down 100 New Insights or to-do's that emerged as a result of reading the handouts and listening to each speaker/panelist (10 in all). During the closing speech, she wrote her 100th insight. Talk about the power of intention!
I, too, found myself approaching things anew simply by breathing deeply, drinking lots of water, and stretching more often to remain more alert to what I was hearing. Getting the oxygen moving may have also helped me be present to the interactive exercises with my new colleagues in the Creative Career Counseling field.
Here are my 11 tips for making the most of your future professional development seminars:
1. Take interesting notes.
Even if you think you know it all, there's always more to learn. As Harry S Truman would say, "The only things worth learning are the things you learn after you know it all."
2. Translate your notes by writing them down in a journal or on your computer.
You can do this in ways that "make them your own" or at least more relevant to your own business style/needs.
3. Save the best quotes that you hear or read.
You know, those quotes that undergird your own philosophy, mission and values.
I found my favorite ones were:
"Being in business is not about making money, it's a way to become who you are."
~ Paul Hawken
"Entrepreneur is not a job title. It is the state of mind of people who want to alter the future." ~ Guy Kawasaki
"If you're to succeed, you must understand that your rewards in life will be in direct proportion to the contribution you'll make." ~ Dave McNally
"By the year 2020 the largest employer in the developed world will be the self."
~ Nicholas Negroponte
"Owning a business and working for one are as different as chalk and cheese."
~ Paul Hawken
4. “Get into the conversation!” was something I heard Barbara Winter say again and again.
But, if you're like me, you'd prefer to slink out after the last workshop and run upstairs for an already-seen HBO movie and room service. But, if you want to experience support from like-minded entrepreneurs, troubleshoot with others, swap funny stories or share the struggle with fellow business indies, hanging out afterward is one of the quickest ways to build a durable network and it makes the next gathering much more fun. Swiftly swapping business cards is not enough, nor is it a form of authentic sharing.
5. Speak up when you are invited to do so by the presenters.
Don't be shy to share what you know or to ask questions about what you don't know yet. The only way to grow is to admit you don't know it all. Even Socrates, the wisest man of Athens - according to the Delphic Oracle - knew that wisdom comes when you can admit to not knowing. But, if you only want to share what you know, it's okay to resist the urge to play it small. When you shine with sincerity, you are inviting others to do so as well. Just avoid dominating the discussion. I hear my mate squawking - "Talk about the cat calling the kettle black!"
6. Clarify your "elevator speech" by listening to others communicate their own.
Ask about ways each person makes herself/himself visible in a unique way in their area and nationally/internationally (if that applies). People who remain true to themselves often have ways of standing out simply by being themselves. So much of reaching out to others - marketing - is based on our capacity for authentic relationship and an authentic desire to be of service. If we don't know ourselves very well or know how to connect with (rather than impress) others we might as well commit to working in a Kodak™ photo booth, remember those?
7. Be willing to learn from the pros.
Too often I can lean back in my chair in the back of the room, like those students whom I now detest, and say, "I'm 45, I have a PhD; I've heard it all before, marketing-schmarketing!" But the ones who are still hanging in there after 12 to 20 years have a lot to teach me about how to avoid my first, second and third-year pitfalls. No matter what their age, young upstarts, (startups!), or those made wise by experience, they can save me a ton of mistakes and spare me from false starts or premature defeat.
8. Don't give up before the miracle.
As Thomas Edison said, "Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." Most indies don't learn who they are and what they're REALLY offering until year three or four.
9. Stay curious and resilient.
Success is about remaining curious and willing to grow and learn from others - including clients. If we're not willing to change as needed, as in "follow the cheese," we'll be the ones who remain hungry and resentful. As Barbara Winter says, “What you start out with offering in your business most likely will not be what you end up offering in the long run.”
10. Take an ongoing inventory of your assets and desires to clarify your purpose after the conference.
What skills can you now see in yourself that were reflected in the presenters and other colleagues? What do you still feel enthusiasm for doing? Are there aspects of what you've done in the past that you now want to shift, delegate, or drop altogether because they're a big drag and are better executed by other people? Are you sure you want to remain offering what you say you’re offering to your clients? Are you willing to ask your clients what else they may need and adjust accordingly? Are you willing to change course as need be in order to remain alive to what you do and context-relevant? As Cardinal Suenens says, "The important thing is this: to be willing at any moment to sacrifice what you are for what you could become."
11. Last but not least, keep building your network.
Your network includes not only clients but as many supportive peers as you can. As Barbara Sher says, "Isolation is a dream killer.” Without people who believe in you, it’s hard to believe in yourself - especially during the “salad days.” “Remember,” says Sher, “you don't need a positive attitude or self-confidence to make your dreams come true. You just need a lot of friends who want to see you get your dreams. With that support, your world will turn around." Receiving encouragement is a major investment in your Self. Without you, there is no Indie business that has your unique offerings. As hippy-dippy as it sounds, you are one necessary and unique piece in the big mosaic-of-life and this cosmic "work of art" is not as powerful, beautiful or complete without your unrepeatable contribution.
NOTE: If you enjoy writing and would love to self-publish, it’s not too late to join my half-day seminar called "Getting Into Print for Beginners" held at LIFE DESIGN U. on Bainbridge Island, Washington or via teleconference. For more information, see: www.lifedesignunlimited.citymax.com/page/page/4705152.htm
My latest book may be of help to those wishing they knew what they wanted to be when they grow up. It’s called Polishing the Mirror: 90 Days to Vocational Clarity. See other publications by Jennifer Manlowe, Founder of Life Design Unlimited at: www.lifedesignunlimited.citymax.com/page/page/3433435.htm
About the Author
Jennifer Manlowe is an "outside the job box" creative career counselor. She is also an author, educator, and self-publishing-coach with over 20 years of experience helping people create a life (and livelihood) that brings joy, self-sufficiency and a sense of contribution. Manlowe says, "I'd love to hear from you to help you launch your creativity in ways that pay!" Visit Jennifer online at www.lifedesignunlimited.citymax.com
I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear. ~ Rosa Parks
Upcoming Workshops and Teleclasses
The Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop
Over Three Power-Packed Days, you’ll...
Learn the secrets of writing travel articles you can sell from a group of the best editors and writers in the business...
Discover little-known techniques travel writers use to land concert tickets... meals... vacations... and more... without paying a dime...
Walk away with a short publishable article in hand... and the contact information for editors we know who are happy to work with you, even if you've never sold a story before…
See for yourself how you can have the time, adventure, and freedom you’re looking for as a freelance travel writer…
The Ultimate Travel Writer's Workshop
San Francisco, CA
July 24 – 26, 2008
Go here ChangingCourse.com/recommends/travelconf and for more details about this event, or contact Terry Frank toll-free at (866)415-1425 or local at (202)370-6459 from 8:00am-5:00pm Eastern Standard Time.
Travel to Ecuador this Summer and Learn How Easy it Can Be to Turn Your Vacation Snapshots into Cash… Plus Master Spanish in Just a Week!
Join us and you’ll:
Learn how to take beautiful photographs in a dream setting with professional photographer, Rich Wagner as your guide...
Explore and photograph colorful leather and craft markets...
Try out a Spanish immersion + "Super Thinking" program, geared to teach you Spanish in just days...
Capture breathtaking views of the Andes and local villages...
Plus, enjoy a relaxing soak in a healing thermal spa...
Hotel, some meals, and all adventure included.
Get the details here: ChangingCourse.com/recommends/ecuador
August 23-31, 2008
Courage is not the lack of fear but the ability to face it. ~ Lt. John B. Putnam Jr.
The View From theOther Side
"In the pursuit of the life we dream of, this journey we are on for successful living, the focus is usually on figuring out what it is exactly that we want and then setting ourselves on course for going and getting it. This is very important: Know what you want to get for your life and then pursue it."
~ Chris Widener, motivational speaker, author
Resources for a Change
I've got five resources specific to artists this week:
Surtex Held twice a year at the Javits Convention Center in New York City, this event is a key place where artists come together with manufacturers who are looking for art to adorn their products (see next resource). The spring show is probably the best place for a new artist to start out. (Surtex.com)
Art Licensing Program Guru Michael Woodward spells out step how to get paid for your artwork. He ought to know. Over the past 30 years he’s licensed over $600 million in retail goods. Given that the artist earns a percentage of these sales, suffice it to say, Michael is not your stereotypical “starving artist.” By combining his personal “tricks of the trade” with a storehouse of information on the art licensing world, he’s compiled the most comprehensive course available today to guide artists and photographers through the licensing maze so they can start earning money from their art and beautifying the world in the process. Click here to read my complete review of Michael Woodward’s Art Licensing Course or visit him online atChangingCourse.com/recommends/art
Concept ArtThis Web site is full of resources from workshops, forums to talk with other artists, schooling, industry jobs and more. (ConceptArt.org)
eToon Cartoon licensing for businesses and individuals who would like to license their cartoons for use in presentations, publications, newsletters, promotions, etc. (eToon.com)
Cartoon Stock Similar to whatiStock does for photographers, Cartoon Stock offers a database of 100,000 quality cartoons. They also have the option for to hire artists directly for commissioned work. (CartoonStock.com)
Note: Changing Course does not accept paid advertisements from any of the resources listed here. This list is provided to expand your thinking about just how many interesting ways there are to make a living without a job!