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The Exit Strategy

 

It seems like something so simple.  Drinking my coffee from my favorite mug instead of a travel cup. It’s the little things that begin to add up.  Being able to sit at my desk with no shoes. Listening to music while I work. Taking lunch and breaks when I want. My definition of freedom.

I’m at that point where the exit strategy check list has become more important. It is no longer a desire, but a reality. An exit strategy check list is my “what would it take” list to go from my current career to my new career. From a 9 to 5’er to a freelancer.

We take happiness for granted. We may even misconstrue what it actually is or how it really feels. Or maybe we have become so robotic, we assume we are happy because we have numbed ourselves with TV, video games, alcohol and legal marijuana. However, when you realize the most challenging part of your job is not knowing how to add a hyperlink to an email signature, which was actually more frustrating than challenging, it is time to move on.

Resistance

The art of reinvention is not always a linear path. Sometimes you have to try a few things just to find out that you circled back around to what you wanted to do when you were a kid. I now understand the saying that youth is wasted on the young, but I also know that you are never to old to start something new. After reading The War of Art, I was even more convinced that I was not crazy. Resistance is part of the natural order.

As adults, we are not always attuned to our fear of change. Even I thought I was immune to   it being the child of a military father. I learned back then to never get comfortable. A move was always on the horizon. Resistance is very real. Unfortunately, what usually comes with it is self-sabotage. We have no idea that we are doing everything in our power to prevent reaching the goal we set for ourselves. As much as I might be ready for a new career, it’s scary stepping away from the comfort of being an expert at what I’m doing, with the exception of that darn email platform, and jumping into something brand new.

I will always tell you to trust the process. Part of the process is checking in daily. Daily I look at my exit strategy and ask myself if I am doing everything I need to do to meet the next thing on my list. If I’m not, I have to ask myself what do I need. Am I willing to make the changes to get to what I want? Am I willing to push past the fear and take the next step? These are questions that you can ask yourself. Listen for your answer. Sit with how the answer makes you feel. Are you more tense than confident? That’s resistance.

What’s Your Focus?

I can tell you from experience it takes more than wanting it really bad. Will power alone will not get you there. It takes action. Action brings on fear. It’s okay. It will only be uncomfortable for a moment. The first call I took I kept saying megabit instead of megabyte and the user let me know how wrong I was.  I wanted to quit right then. I told myself I was stupid. It was uncomfortable, but you know what? I survived.

I encourage the same for you. Remember your first time? Or your first mistake. Even the thousands you’ve made since that one. They were learning moments. Don’t use them as excuses to not keep going.

Daily focusing on what really matters does help to combat resistance. I try not to repeat the constant self-help quotes, but there is some truth to “what you think about, comes about”. I told myself I did not have the money to self-publish my book. Then I looked at my bank and credit card statements. It’s not that I didn’t have the money, I just didn’t have it as a priority. I was spending my money on my ego instead of my goals. Did I really need three pairs of shoes at $90 each? Of course not.

When I focused on my money “problem”, I only saw what I was not capable of doing. When I focused on a solution, I saw that there was no problem, but that I needed to make a correction. That brings me back to the question, am I willing to make the changes to get what I want? What corrections are you willing to make? Less TV? Less video games?

So I challenge you to sit down and start creating an exit strategy. What would it take to transition to your dreams? Visit your list daily. Don’t numb yourself. Don’t allow excuses to give you permission to keep doing the same things. Instead, take action.

You are so worth it!

Time For Your Own Q&A

Somewhere between my teenage years and today, we started saying no thank you. No thank you to settling. No thank you to doing what makes everyone else happy. We redefined normal. We decided we no longer needed permission to become fashion designers, photographers, models or anything else we choose.

With sites like Amazon, EBay and Etsy, we can easily set up a store front. With sites like Instagram and Twitter, we can create a following. With web hosting, we can build http://www.insertyournamehere.com to create our platform.

You are an expert at something, and someone needs your knowledge. Many someone’s need your knowledge. For example, I love to buy clothes and shoes, but I have no idea how to put them together. I’m the girl that buys what the mannequin is wearing. So I go to YouTube to watch videos of experts to get ideas. I can go to Thumbtack and hire a stylist to help me use my wardrobe to be more stylish.

My point here is this, you don’t have to rely or wait on major corporations to give you a chance. You can create your own conditions. Your own dream job. You don’t have to play it small. You do, however, have to put yourself out there.

Have you put into thought about who you want to serve?

If not, then today I challenge you to do just that. Find a quiet spot and sit down and meditate. Fifteen to 20 minutes would be ideal, but if you are not a meditator, then start with five minutes.

I try not to use the word meditate because people think mystic and religious. The only thing you are truly doing is giving yourself time to hear your own thoughts. You are shutting off the noise of the world and the opinions of others. When the noise creeps back in, start to breathe and count each breath. This brings you back to focus.

Lets get your creative juices flowing and get clear about what you want. I always want to put emphasis on changing your mindset. It’s time to start thinking like a CEO and not like an employee.

Ask, what does your next career look like?

What kind of people are you seeking out?

What would it take to get started?

How does it feel as you are performing your task?

Keep asking and answering yourself questions until the picture is clear. Use that picture to make your next move. Don’t feel like you have to go at it alone.

Who can you reach out to for help?

What books can you read by subject matter experts?

Are there any podcast out there on the subject? A YouTube video?

What Meetup groups can you join?

Its not like it was 20, 30, 40 years ago. There are people willing to share the path they took to get where they are now. Don’t allow yourself to be held back by excuses of not knowing what you can do. Each time you find yourself giving an excuse, ask, what would it take?

Keep asking. Keep trusting. It’s a process. Mistakes will happen, but lessons will be learned. Don’t stop.

You are so worth it!

 

National Women’s Month

It’s National Women’s Month! We’ve come so far over the past few centuries. The strives we’ve made in the workforce have been astonishing. With all the “first” we have achieved, we are not done.

It wasn’t until 1972 that Katharine Graham became the first woman to become CEO of a Fortune 500 company. That’s only 46 years ago! Today that number has grown to 32. As of 2017, there are more than 9.4 million reported business owned by woman in the United States. That’s over a trillion dollars being put back into the economy.

A Woman’s Work

For years we have been fighting, marching and vocalizing for the chance to show what we are capable of. Constantly being told that we don’t belong, we ignored the negative talk and did it anyway. Even with the #Metoo movement, they’ve tried to use it against us to say we should not have been there. You know what, we were there and we are staying.

Jen Welter was the first woman on a coaching staff in the NFL. She has opened the door for more women to be hired in those positions in a male dominated league. Sometimes it just takes one fearless warrior queen to breakdown the walls.

The first African-American woman to practice law in the U.S. was Charlotte E. Ray. She was admitted to the bar in 1872. Although considered a great lawyer, not enough people trusted to higher a black woman to represent them. According to the American Bar, as of 2017, 36% of legal professionals are women. We might hit obstacles, but we don’t quit!

Jobs for the 21st Century

The most in demand jobs for this century are still in technology and health care. However, with social media being boss, new job titles such as Social Media Marketing, Social Media Content Writer and Stock Photographers have allowed more opportunity for freelancers to stay busy.

Woman like Ann Handley of Marketing Profs, a company that offers training in modern marketing, according to their website, is looked at as a premier expert in digital marketing with 22 years of experience. Liliach Bullock was voted #1 Digital Marketing Influencer by Career Expert and is listed as a Top 20 Women Social Media Influencers in Forbes Magazine. Both of these women help companies grow their brand online and teach others to do the same. Jobs that have evolved faster over the last few years. Reinventing yourself has never been easier.

So, in celebration of women everywhere, be bold. No matter your gender, know that the thing you truly want is possible. So many have paved the way. Our job is to go for it!

Remember, you are so worth it!

Can I Start a Business

“You are giving me excuses when I am looking for solutions,” I yelled at my teenager when he was late for curfew, again. It’s always easy to get angry at his list of excuses for not doing what he needed to do. However, I need to get angry at myself for my own excuses. I should yell at my own self, “Stop giving me excuses, Portia!”

Excuses are the choices we give ourselves to not take action. In a recent webinar, the main excuse for not starting a business was, “I don’t have the money.” How much does it really cost to start a business with today’s technology? Not very much. A matter of fact, probably less than what you pay to eat out for lunch all week.

I want to change how you think successful businesses got started. You don’t always need to take out a second mortgage. But you do have to be hungry. You have to move your goals from your wish list to your to do list. It’s time to reach out to an accountability partner. I love that my kids will ask me where I’m at with my book. Since I’m their role model, I have to stay on top of it. An accountability partner will do the same for you.

It takes action

Getting started is action. Here are some steps to take and the excuses you may be giving them.

Step 1 Building your website:

– Today, websites can be built with little to no money. In the beginning it won’t look as grand as, let’s say Amazon. But let me ask you, why are you comparing yourself to anyone at all? Comparing yourself is just another excuse for not taking action. With a quick Google search, you will find a list of web hosting sites that will get you started. Research them and find the one that is easiest for you to set up and most affordable for you.

My point here is this, just get started. Be bold and put yourself out there. If you are waiting for perfection, I’m here to tell you, it will never happen. There is no such a thing. So, start where you are at. Now.

Step 2 What equipment will you need?

– It takes an internet connection and a device that connects to the internet. I’m serious. It’s that easy. That could be your cell phone, your tablet or a computer.

When I started taking a copywriting course, I was motivated by another woman who had been using the computers at her public library to complete the course. She was able to get her first client and complete an assignment them using the public library. When you are hungry, you find a way. There is no excuse to say you can’t do this.

Excuses are never ending 

Another excuse I hear is, “But, Portia, I have to look professional.” No, actually you have to be professional. Stop worrying about how you look. That’s just our way of procrastinating.

Put your emphasis on perfecting your craft. Get in your 10,000 hours. Clients/Customers bring in money. Money leads to growth. To grow, you have to do to become professional.

Another excuse holding you back is, “But Portia, what about the naysayers?” My answer is, what about them? They aren’t going anywhere. I know, I know. It’s not always easy to drown them out either. Sometimes I am even the only naysayer in my own head. However, the hardest ones are those closes to us. The ones you love, trust and confide in.

I was watching someone’s YouTube channel when I read a comment that struck me hard. The young lady questioned how to handle her mother telling her she would go to the retreat and come back broke and no better off. I wanted to comment, but I didn’t. No one did. That I regret.

Here is what I wished I had told her. Say thank you. They obviously love you enough to give their opinion. Show your gratitude for their concerns. Now ask yourself, did they say anything at all of value? If yes, make a note of how you can use it. Everything else can be discarded. If nothing was of value, discard it all.

My point here is this. It’s not about them. This is about you. This isn’t their goal or dream. This is your goal and dream. I have learned that naysayers are just their to test us. To make us prove how bad we want this.

The final step

Step 3 Be courageous.

– It’s going to be scary. As Dr. Wayne Dyer always said, “Do it anyway.” With each action you take to get closer to starting your own business, pat yourself on the back. I have a journal I labeled bravery box. I journal any successes I have, no matter how big or small. When I feel like I am getting no where, I read how much I have accomplished to remind me how far I’ve come.

So, yes, you can get started as an entrepreneur with little to no money. Invest where you can. Sacrifice where you need to. Most importantly, start now.

Leave a comment with what excuses you are giving yourself and I would love to talk you through pushing pass them.

You are so worth it!

You can make a living as a…

navigation-car-drive-road.jpg      I am putting you on alert. You are not stuck. You are, however, on the hamster wheel of self-doubt and excuses. One of my favorite online coaches is Molesey Crawford of The Queen Code.  Her advice was always if you are feeling stuck, it’s because you are not saying yes to something.

How do you get to yes? You have to learn the art of asking the right questions. Asking yourself “why” is not the right question. Asking yourself why do I get pleasure from being a insert your dream job here, i.e. travel writer, personal vegetarian chef, a tour guide for local haunted hot spots. It’s the specifics in the questions that count. The first letter of the S.M.A.R.T. Goal acronym is Specific.

If you pull out your phone or tablet and tap on the Google Map app, you are going to have to type in a destination. The same with your career. If you don’t know the why of what you are doing, then where exactly are you going? I’ve played the game of get the job and see where I can grow in the company. But when I got the position, I realized I didn’t really like the job. I didn’t like the the work. And if I was truthful with myself, I didn’t like the company. I only had a map open, but no destination.

I was just going where the wind took me. Then I felt stuck. My only goal was to provide for my family. As important as that goal is, there was no specifics to it. Besides, what good am I providing financially if I’m not providing emotionally because I am miserable.

If I tell the truth, my goal is not to just only provide for my family.  My truth is happiness. You can be happy AND provide for your family.

Here are examples of the questions I used to get on my path:

1. Why do I get pleasure from again, insert dream job here.

  • Think about the root of the pleasure you get when you are doing what makes you happy.

For me, the root of my pleasure in writing stems from one particular memory. It was junior high school, PE, an audience of five or six of us walking around the track over a span of three days. I told a story disguised as a dream. My pleasure, or happiness, came from the creativity of my imagination and the range of emotions on my friend’s faces. I wanted to relive that moment over and over.

2. What would it take to live in bliss?

  • Sacrifice. Ask, what am I willing to give up to make it happen?

If you have a why, than now you need a plan. Sacrifice looks like giving up time, money, television, rearranging priorities, etc. It requires a plan of action and yes, more questions.

Do I need to take some courses at the local college? is there an online course? Is there some software I need to purchase? Do I need money for a website? A photographer? A copywriter? Will I want to get up earlier in the morning, or stay up later at night?

Of course, these questions will be different based on what your why is. Not all why’s require a website or more schooling. But all why’s require questions and a plan. You are going to have to give up some habits you have on autopilot. That is sacrifice.

Now that you’ve gotten going, knowing your why, written your plan, we have another question.

3. What’s working?

  • Revisit your strategy and ask what’s working and what’s not working?
  • Refine as needed to stay on course.

Just like in corporate, you have to schedule regular reviews. I still like to stick to the every 90 day plan.

Reviewing taught me that I write better in the afternoon when my teenager is out of the house. It also meant sacrificing spending my lunch hour  with coworkers and eating alone so I can write or research.

The point of these questions is to check in and make sure you are aligning yourself with your goals.

The hardest part of all of this? Every day life will happen. It will feel like it’s taking forever. Some days will feel fruitless. Your family will look at you and tell you that you are wasting your time.

Don’t quit! Measure your progress. You are closer than you know. I always remind people that when they look at their mentors and idols, they are seeing the results of the “long, boring, drawn out process” of getting to the end.

Recap: Why do we get pleasure from that one thing?

What would it take to accomplish it?

And finally, what’s working? What’s not working?

Don’t ever stop asking yourself questions.

You are so worth it!

Take Inventory – Who do you want to be?

When it’s time to look for another job, there are two steps we all take.  One, we will usually reach out to the people in our network, including family and friends.  Two, we hit the job boards and start blindly submitting our resumes.  We’ve done it this way for years.  If you are an accountant, you search accountant with a few keywords based on your software skills and any expertise you may focus on.

True, some take it a step further.  There are those who update their LinkedIn profile and those who have their own personal website.  All of these things do work.  They can take time to see success.  As long as you keep at it and work hard for it.

What if time is not a luxury because you’ve just lost or quit your job?

So what is a person to do?

How do you stand out?

Get the job you want?

Find your bliss?

This story comes from experience.  I’ve been laid off three times and fired twice.  Three out of those five times didn’t go so well emotionally or financially. As a recruiter, I was laid off twice in less than two years.  That took a toll on my savings account.

Let’s come back to the present moment.  Start now!  Believe it or not, the first step has nothing to do with job boards, networks or resumes.  It has to do with you.

What do you believe you are worth?

How much confidence do you have in yourself?  Your skills?  Your actual first step should be personal development.  We have the tendency to become complacent.  I know I myself can go into auto-pilot.  Or, as I’ve seen in my own department, we become discouraged thinking this is it.  There is no upward mobility.

This all comes on the eve of my stable, growing company announcing that they are laying off 60 people in my department.  Luckily, I’m not going through my fourth layoff, but I am watching people I have grown to know having to face an unknown future.

They’ve started to take the two actions I discussed in the first paragraph.  The worry lines have started forming across their foreheads.  At work, I get to step in and make sure they stay motivated even with the fear of no income being less than two months away.

On a personal level, the ones that I’m close to, I get to make sure they are feeling whole and staying whole. Them, I get review that they are ready and offer to prepare them for their interviews. I get to remind them of their strengths, not just professional, but what they bring to the world.

I know from experience, you have to look within first. After that, it’s okay to update the resume, the LinkedIn profile and job boards and websites.  Then you see with clear eyes and not eyes filled with fear and worry. You don’t accept just any job, but you go after what you want. You realize that there is an entrepreneur waiting to break out and be free. You pull the artist from your heart and emerge your hands in clay as your foot works the potter’s wheel. It’s then, and then only, you become the real you.

It’s time to break free of the conventional way of doing things. We no longer “hit the pavement” in search of our next paycheck. We are in an era where the sky isn’t even the limit. We can go even further.

My challenge to you, and my co-workers facing uncertainty is to take inventory. Who are you for real? Who do you want to be?

It took me 10 years to write a book, not because I lacked time, or know how, but because I thought, this is it. So, I’m here to tell you, it’s not it.

Be-Do-Have

Portia