I get a lot of questions about how to get out of ruts and how to build a life and career you love. There might be a ton of voices in your head telling you that you can’t do it. There might be real people in your life who try to dissuade you from taking a risk.
Today, I am going to break down the top five lies that will keep you stuck in that boring job or will keep you from taking the leap. AND, because I’ve been there, I am going to share what worked for me to push through those lies.
This is a long one, but I think you’ll see it is worth reading!
Lie #1: I am Scared to Fail if I Go After My Dream
When my husband was debating quitting his day job to work with me at Classy Career Girl, we had a lot of negative thoughts. What if it doesn’t work out? People thought we were crazy. People close to us went so far as to tell me that going into business with each other would ruin our marriage and that the internet might break.
It really got me down. People I’ve respected my entire life were putting these negative thoughts in my head. I knew I could do it, but was I crazy? I mean I wasn’t making much money in my business but I loved every single second of my side hustle, and I hated my day job. My husband was the same.
We were excited about the possibilities for our family. He realized he would have to go to a job he didn’t like, just to pay for childcare. And after that, he wouldn’t even see our daughter. So he was more than happy to quit his job and spend more time with our daughter and start figuring out how he could help us grow our small little business together. It was a challenging decision, but ultimately, the pros won.
Because what if your life does work out? What if the fantastic things you are visualizing do come true? What if they are even better than you could even think right now?
That’s my life right now. My life is WAY better than I ever could have visualized. The freedom I have to spend with my daughters and family is unbelievable. I didn’t know what it was like to be a mom when I visualized myself as a happy working mom. I had no idea that I would find so much joy answering my reader’s questions on Instagram stories 8 years ago when Instagram wasn’t even a thing.
I never would know how much joy, happiness, and fulfillment I have right now in my work and life, but I knew there was something better. I knew I had to take daily action to get me to reach my dream life. I knew I had to take baby steps. And here I am. Through so many twists and turns, I ended up here. I needed to go through all the hard stuff to be able to get here and write this.
But what if I hadn’t started? What if you don’t start! You’ll never be able to see the dream that is waiting for you.
You’ll never live the life that God designed for you. You were created for a purpose. There is some career out there for you will make you so incredibly happy. You may not know it yet, and it may not have anything to do with what you think it might. But it takes that first step. It takes getting over the fear of “what if it doesn’t work out?”
Because what if it does work out? What if it is even better than you can imagine? I’m here to tell you it can be.
How I Got Unstuck:
Asking myself these three questions. What is the worst that can happen? What is the best that can happen? Is it worth it to go all in? When I asked myself these questions, I realized the worst that could happen is that my husband and I would have to go back and get another job. The best that could happen is that we would be able to pursue careers we loved and have the freedom to spend with our family. Was it worth it to go all in? HECK YES! The dream is always worth it.
Getting feedback from the right people. Obviously, the people telling me about all the things that could wrong were not the right people to take advice from. Luckily, I had some supportive group of female entrepreneurs that I could seek advice from as well. At the time, I even had a coach who believed in me and knew I could do it. You have to get around the people who cheer you on!
Start or find a mastermind group. The first day I started writing this book I was scared. What if a publisher doesn’t pick up this book? What if I can’t find an agent? What if this book is not on a topic that anyone cares about and it’s a complete waste of time.
That’s when I went to my mastermind group and told them my goal for the year. To submit a book proposal by the end of the year. Whoa, there’s no backing out now. They will hold me to it. Darnit!! Now, I regret doing that. Oh well. At least my mastermind group will buy the book and probably my mom too! And I’m on my way writing the first chapter and making my dream happen.
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Lie #2: I Don’t Have Enough Money To Reach My Dreams
The fact that you need money to make your dream happen is a complete lie. These days that’s just not true. My blog started with $0. On a whim, I followed my gut and started a website on blogger.com. That’s right, the original site was classycareergirl.blogger.com. A few months later I spent $10, won a website build competition and had my website built on classycareergirl.com for free.
Now you might not win a competition, but that’s ok because to build a website it’s no more than $100 on WordPress.org (which I recommend). If you want to get serious and build an email list, it’s $0 with MailChimp. No excuses here.
Oh wait, you think you need capital, a bank loan or investors? I would urge you to think again. How can you cash flow your business? How can you start with a beta product and get some money coming in so you can begin testing your idea and know for sure that it’s going to work? The worst thing you can do when building a business is to take out a huge loan to create a product that no one wants. Don’t do that to yourself!
We recently were talking to some family friends who were considering taking out a loan to buy a franchise. I told them this same thing. When I was just getting started I cash flowed my business. I put every spare cent I made into the business. So if I made $25 on putting an ad up on my site, you better believe that $25 went to pay for something having to do with my business.
I didn’t take a paycheck for many years. You want to know why? Because you have to invest every spare penny back into your business to be able to watch it grow. Got a $100 client? Spend it on taking a $100 class. Invest in you. But know that you don’t need cash to start a business.
You don’t need money to make your first offer and make a sale. You can make a sale today! You don’t even need a website to make your first sale. These days with social media the way it is, you can create an Instagram profile or a Facebook page and be a business. Get some social proof on there, work with a handful of free clients and help them solve their problem, and in no time you’ll be growing like crazy. Don’t make money an excuse. Because it’s not stopping you.
How I Got Unstuck:
Staying at my day job as long as I could. Not quitting my day job so it could support me while I grew my business. Your day job doesn’t have to be something you’ll enjoy or you are passionate about. It’s for a purpose. Funding your dreams and paying off debt.
Tracking my income and expenses. Not buying unnecessary things. Don’t be the person who buys everything. You don’t need everything. Maybe someday you’ll need the fancy app to make cool videos. But if you are just starting, you don’t need it.
The Lie #3: I’m Not Good Enough To Make My Dream Happen
I was stuck in this world of finance. Thanks to the professor and my student advisor that said since I got an A in his class, I should make it my major. Bad idea. Just because I was good at something doesn’t mean I would enjoy it and it would be my fulfilling career!! After more time in finance and hating it and more time outside of my job researching interesting careers, I decided I wanted to learn more about HR and organizational development.
Back when I was in finance, I was once given the lead of our government team to put together our mission statement and values. I kid you notnot to let think everyone on my team wanted to kill me because I was like a giddy school kid trying to get everyone to work better together and come up with a mission that would excite them. These were people who were 5 years away from retirement with retirement countdown timers on their desk. No way these people were getting excited about a mission statement.
I was bummed. I wanted to be around people happy and excited to do their work. I was a new kid out of college and a career was something I had been working towards for far too long. I realized quickly that wasn’t the place for me and I needed to work on a team that had a mission and passion.
The next job I moved to, I was the dumbest person in the room. I felt so inadequate with all these people who knew way more than me. I was just trying to keep up and as my introvert ways showed, I started being labeled as the shy girl. I had a hard time speaking up. Most of the time I had nothing to say because I really had no idea what I was doing.
I was managing the finances for a satellite program for the Navy, and most of the words they said were foreign to me. So please don’t make me speak! I was the quiet girl and completely shocked everyone when I had to give a presentation. It was for my development meeting. Everyone was nervous for me. I could feel it. They all walked in the room waiting for disaster to strike and me to bomb the presentation.
Little did they know that introverts put a lot of prep work into preparing for presentations….and I knocked it out of the park. I can still remember the shock on their faces when I nailed the presentation and came off confident and cool. “Wow, this girl actually is smart. Maybe we should give her more responsibilities.”
I tell this story because I myself didn’t think I was good enough. That’s why I never spoke up and got labeled the shy, quiet girl who probably didn’t know anything. I had to step up and prove myself and learn how to nail that presentation to be seen as good enough for the next level in my career.
That shy girl had to step up and ask to become an Adjunct Professor at the same company to start teaching online in her spare time. That change started the career I have today. I wasn’t good enough, but I continually sought out opportunities where I could add to my skill set and become a little more knowledgeable and ready for where my career was taking me.
Then one day when I was really serious about transferring into another career I knew nothing about, HR, I asked my boss to let me have a day to learn. A day where they would actually pay me to go to the HR division and watch them work. Study them, and see if I enjoyed it. He said YES!
How I Got Unstuck:
The only way you can get better at anything is by practicing and taking action. You probably won’t be good enough at first, but imagine how great you can become if you consistently work on it! Take a practice client, an internship or provide a free service. Do something and learn!
Lie #4: Others Are Doing It Already
No one can do it quite like you. No one has your prior experiences, strengths, and skills. People will be attracted to you over others. I’ll never forget the time when I felt like this. There are so many career coaches out there. Why would someone ever pick me over others?
I’ll tell you why. Because I was blogging. Others weren’t getting their content out there. One woman found my blog and read all about me. She was just considering leaving her corporate stressed out crazy job and really liked that my past experience was also stressful corporate and crazy. She didn’t necessarily care about my systems, processes, etc. she just knew that I had made a similar transition that she wanted to make and came from a very male-dominated corporate environment. I built trust with her by sharing my experiences, and that’s why she picked me out of the crowd.
That’s why it’s important not to copy everyone out there and to truly be yourself. Yeah, you might have to do some competitive analysis to see what other people are doing similar things, but don’t copy their website or their words. Your content needs to come from you. This is why I hardly follow anyone. I remember getting asked what my favorite career websites were. I didn’t have any recommendations.
Why? Because I can’t follow other people in my niche. I get jealous or feel like I can’t keep up. Plus, I want to be a different website than anything else out there! That’s when you need to unsubscribe, unfollow, and delete. You don’t need to be following a ton of people. I only follow a few people who truly build me up. I hardly have anyone coming at me in my inbox. If you have too much information coming in, you can’t get out there and create what you are meant to create in this world.
There was one point where I felt stuck and really scared to put me out into the world. Here’s why it was. It was because I was reading too much. I know I am a huge proponent of reading. It’s good for you, I know! But there is a time when you have to STOP filling your brain with other people’s stuff.
I got to the point where I had read so many business books I was like I know all this stuff and I am ready to create my own book. I had to stop. So that was in June and for the rest of the year, I stopped reading books. For 6 months I didn’t read one book. And it felt great! Because for the first time ever, the content I was creating was 100% me. I was inspired more than ever before and I created things that were better than I have ever created before.
It’s that time that my business grew as well, because I was being more of myself and standing out. During that time I created our membership sites and my 90-day planner. To this day I am extremely picky about the books I read because my time is so limited, they have to really rock. And if they aren’t doing it for me, I don’t need to finish!
Note: If you want to quit your day job and grow your business, make sure you download my free guide with the 5 critical pieces that must be in place before you quit.
Lie #5: I Don’t Have Time
Time, oh girl. I hear you. I am writing a book as my side hustle. My husband and I sat down and looked at our company goals for the year. I wanted to write a book and thought that it should be one of our top three priorities. Guess what? It got pushed to the back burner. It became a personal goal, not a company goal.
So writing the book is happening in my spare time. Pursuing my dream is happening when I can pretend I’m taking a long shower, but really my shower was like 1 minute and I can then fit in 29 minutes of writing. Writing this book is happening when I can wake up 14 minutes before my 5-month-old daughter.
Because, hey, 14 minutes is better than nothing!
Those small amounts of time can and do add up! I’ll be the first to tell you that you don’t need a ton of time. You just need to have to have the right priorities and say no to the things that don’t matter. Recently, I listened to a podcast on planning out your year. The woman said that you need an entire day of no distractions to plan out your year.
Well, I’m sorry but that’s just not going to happen with my daughter feeding every 2 hours. So, here. You and I, we can make it work. We can commit to not let time be an excuse. You and I can be so intentional about those 14 minutes we can get each day. Because, let me tell you, they add up!
When I first started my blog I had no time. I had a full time intense and stressful day job as a consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton. That meant that I had a client who called me all day every day and I had to be at his beck and call at all times. Because, hello, I wanted to be superwoman and get promoted! So my hours from 7-5pm to work were out the window.
I also was an overachiever who decided to get an MBA in the evenings. So two nights a week I would drive 30 minutes away and attend an evening MBA program at University of California San Diego. I’d eat dinner with my classmates and then go to class until 9:45 p.m. and then drive home. No free time on those days, either.
But somehow that little blog grew while doing all my work and school work. How? About 30 minutes in the morning when I could. And an hour or two on Saturday mornings before I had to work on my homework, and Sunday nights when my husband was watching football. I’m here to say it all adds up and I wouldn’t be here today if I would have let no time be the excuse.
The truth is it might not work out. You might have to change direction or ask for a lot of help. If you don’t take action though, you won’t know what you need to do next and the clarity won’t come. Don’t be in the same place a year from now. This needs to be your year of moving past the fear.
How I Got Unstuck:
I hired a virtual assistant. Within six months of having my blog, the emails I was getting were overwhelming. I couldn’t keep up. I needed to replace myself. So I read The Four Hour Workweek and learned that there are people out there who could help me! Enter Lor, my incredible Virtual Assistant who has been with our team since that first day in 2011. I gave her the tasks I couldn’t finish in my day and she would finish them while I slept. I’d wake up and my business was moving forward….without me. Watch out world!
I wrote down three priorities each week. I created a weekly plan where every week I knew the top 3 things I needed to do each week. I didn’t go to number 2 until number 1 was done and I didn’t let myself get bogged down with the 100 items on my to-do list on Monday morning. We can’t do it all. It’s just not possible. But we can make our dreams happen when we are focused on the right things.
I batched similar tasks. Batching is when you group similar tasks together. So for instance, I’m writing my book in blocks of time and don’t have social media up so I don’t get distracted. I answer emails only once per week and I answer questions in my Facebook group certain times per week. You’ll get more done if you can group these tasks together and don’t get distracted.
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