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This Is the Best Way to Make Career Decisions

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TomasSereda via Getty Images
TomasSereda via Getty Images

Someone asked me the other day, "If you had to name one thing that helped you build a successful business, what would it be?"

I answered, "Making decisions from where I want to be, and not from where I am."

This concept goes alongside some advice Steve Siebold gave in his article, "What the Middle Class Doesn't Understand About Rich People." The piece talks about how the financially wealthy think differently. According to Siebold, the rich get comfortable with the uncomfortable. Meaning, they are willing to operate in a state of uncertainty; willing to let go of stability and comfort in order to achieve their dreams.

Siebold was talking about financial wealth, but this concept can be applied to many areas of life to help us achieve the kind of happiness and success we want.

In my life, this is what getting comfortable with the uncomfortable looked like:

I was working as a Marketing VP in a high tech company when I decided to start building my own business as a life and business coach on the side. I had the comfort and safety of a full time job, so I slowly started working on my dream of self employment in my spare time.

Suddenly, a bucket of ice cold water splashed over me. From one day to the next, the company I worked for suddenly lost a significant funder. My hours and paycheque were instantly cut in half.

I was a single mom with no safety net!

In that instant, I knew my side project had to get big. I had to come up with strategies to attract my ideal clients... and fast!

Although I had about 20 years of marketing experience and knew how to brand and market myself, I had never run my own company. I was outside my comfort zone! I was told that the fastest way to reach your goals is to get advice from someone who has already successfully done what you want to do.

With this in mind, I looked into investing in a one-year business coaching program. The total cost of the program, including travel to the U.S. four times a year, was about $20 000. What should I do?!

If I had approached the decision from where I was at that moment -- a single mom with no savings -- I would have said no to the program, and no to the possibility of having a full time business doing what I loved.

Instead, I decided to approach the decision from the mindset of where I wanted to be -- a self-employed coach running my own successful business, making a six figure income. I visualized the position I wanted to be in -- a position of success and of living my dream. What would the Melissa of my envisioned future decide? From that mindset, I decided to take a huge leap and invest in the business coaching program.

Now I assure you, this was by no means an easy decision. In fact, it was utterly terrifying. This monumental decision meant ignoring the reality of my bank account, putting this program on my credit card and having constant knots in my stomach. The voices of fear and doubt in my head started to take over...what if I couldn't pay this back? What if my business was not successful? What if I was unable to pay the mortgage? What if I could not support myself and my son? What if I had to move back in with my parents?

I pushed those voices aside.

I thought instead... what if I succeed? What would that look like? Wow. I could work the hours I want. I could organize my schedule around my son's schedule to have more quality time with him. I could do what I loved all day long and inspire others to do the same. I had my vision of where I wanted to be, and it was very clear in my mind.

I chose, and I dove in. Head first.

This was a huge leap for me and it was definitely uncomfortable. Every time fears came up, these are the five things I told myself to keep myself going and to try to get comfortable with the uncomfortable:

1) Do not give in to panic. Do not allow your fears to make your decisions. Make your decisions from the direction you are moving towards and not from where you are.

2) Yes, it's a huge financial investment. But what is the worst case scenario of taking this leap and starting my business? I lose my home? I know I am capable of getting another job at the snap of my fingers if things start to look bad. I owe it to myself to take that risk -- to step into my full potential and make what I truly want happen.

3) I truly believe that I will be running this business for the next 25+ years. If I break down my investment over 25 years, it comes to about $800 a year to have my own business doing what I truly love. It's definitely worth it!

4) I want to be an example for my child. I want to show him, through my own life and actions, that he needs to (and can) do what makes him feel alive. I want to show him that you need to do work that fulfills you and not be handcuffed to a day job you don't feel excited about.

5) The quote "97 per cent of the people who quit chasing their dreams are hired by the 3 p er cent that didn't." I am determined to be the 3 per cent.

What was the end result of setting aside the position I was in, and choosing instead to make such a huge decision from the mindset of where I wanted to be?

By taking that huge leap, by choosing to invest in my future and enrolling in the business coaching program (that I couldn't actually afford), I was able to replace my VP salary within four months.

In less than six months, I was living a completely new reality -- the reality I had dreamed for myself! I was running a full time business doing what I absolutely loved. What a fantastic ROI. Today I am coaching other professionals on how to transition from the security of working at their day jobs to the freedom and fulfillment of operating full time businesses doing what they truly love.


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