Do you know what you want?
I didn’t. In fact, in 1993 I was totally lost.
Back then I was commuting 90 miles a day to my corporate job.
I knew I needed a change… The problem was I had no idea what I wanted to be “when I grew up.” (Sound familiar?!)
Then I got one of life’s unwelcome wake up calls. My Mom passed away totally unexpectedly of a heart attack.
My mother was just 61 years old and a mere five months short of her much awaited retirement.
Perhaps you’ve had a wake call of your own.
A lay-off. Divorce. Serious medical diagnosis – yours or someone close to you. Or like me, losing someone you love.
For me it was the catalyst to take a job at a smaller company with a much shorter commute.
It took only a few months to realize that career-wise, I’d just traded deck chairs on the Titanic.
My new boss was a door slamming, table pounder with a short fuse. The VP of customer service referred to a new hire as “the colored girl” Seriously?!?
To be fair, I also worked with some wonderful people. And gratefully I was paid well.
I feel for people who work in a toxic environment and earn very little for their trouble.
Here’s what that experience taught me.
If being miserable was all it took to change course – the world would be full of empty cubicles and commuter traffic would cease to exist. Right?
Up until then I was hoping for the self-employment of Mr. or Ms. Job to fall in my lap.
That’s when I began to do something I now refer to as…
It’s one thing to be wandering aimlessly with no direction or roadmap.
It’s quite another to meander with the intention of gathering insight and information that can lead you to a specific destination.
At that particular moment I only knew things:
1) I desperately wanted to be my own boss and
2) Whatever I did for work, I wanted to be able to do it from home.
I just needed some kind of direction.
I got it from when Parade magazine featured a story about an enormously successful newsletter called the Tightwad Gazette.
Amy Dacyczyn and her husband put the newsletter together to share the frugal tips that allowed them to raise six kids on a Navy pension and pay cash for their home and acreage in Maine.
Their millions of devoted readers learned ways to make your money go further by making things you use last longer. Things like cutting your scrubbing pads in half (great idea) and re-using your dental floss (uh, no thanks).
The newsletter ran from 1990 to 1996 and soon after became a series of best-selling books. It stopped because the couple made so much money – they no longer needed to live frugally or publish a newsletter!
That was my aha moment!
What if I created a newsletter for people who wanted the same thing I did?
A newsletter that offered ideas and information for people who also wanted to change course from having a boss to being their own boss.
Now that the ship pointed in the right direction it was a matter of figuring out how to get to my destination.
Keep in mind this was before the internet. Back when the way to learn things was to buy a book.
So I bought a book that listed resources for people who want to start a business.
That led me to a company that specialized in newsletters. So I mailed them a check for a cassette tape on how to start a newsletter.
From that recording, I learned about a company called the Newsletter Factory that offered day-long classes on how to launch a successful newsletter. So I was off to Boston.
I was still wandering… exploring… figuring things out. But I was far from lost. In fact, I’d never felt so alive.
Because now I was wandering with a purpose.
The late comedian Jonathan Winters said, “If you’re ship doesn’t come in, swim out to it.”
Being lost is draining. Having a clear direction is energizing. So stop waiting and start doing.
Head to your local bookstore and notice which section you gravitate to…
If you prefer to buy books online, go to Amazon and enter some key words that speak to your gifts or interests and see what pops up…
Check out the magazine rack at a large grocery or bookstore to see what catches your eye…
Pay attention to what television shows interest you…
These are all small things you can do to purposely wander in the direction of your dream.
What about you – do you have a direction?
If not, I invite you to take moment and post below one small thing you can do this week to purposefully wander closer to clarity?
If yes, what’s one small thing you can do this very day to get to your desired destination?