If you want to change your life in a positive way then you will actually need to MAKE some uncomfortable changes. I know this is really stating the obvious but I am often surprised by the the amount of people who are desperate to change their lives but they are either scared, unwilling or not seeing the fact we need to actively make changes to improve.
I think this is partly down to how some changes might seem like backwards steps before we can go forward. It’s a bit like being stuck at a dead end in a maze; you have to go back to find your way out.
This can be a big problem for some people, especially if the place they are is not terrible. We are creatures of habit, so even if things are not ideal but are OK, we will just maintain the status quo instead of trying to find another way. This is the essence of the treadmill life that everyone hates; working hard but not getting anywhere.
This article was originally inspired by a response I wrote to a comment on my article Work Life Balance. Melanie Kissell described to me how she loved her work but she was stuck in a vicious cycle because she had to work hard every day as an independent contractor and couldn’t afford a single day off otherwise she couldn’t cover her bills. This has been going on for 30 years and she wants alternative options so she can start enriching how own life instead of continuing to make someone else rich.
What Melanie described about working flat out to make ends meet is a common problem that many people will associate with. Quite often the reason this occurs is because no matter what we earn we will buy or rent the biggest and best home we can stretch ourselves to and/or the best car we can get with the monthly income we have and this keeps us enslaved to the job. So with our monthly income spent or allocated before we have even earned it we live in fear of a lower income or losing our job all together. What I did (any many other entrepreneurs have done) to tackle this was strip away my outgoings, downsize my home and car, postpone my expensive foreign vacation and I even sold my big TV. This was just a temporary measure to leap to the next level that you can’t get to if you get stuck on the treadmill. Just like I described above with the maze; you need to go back to find a better way, not to keep banging your head on the same dead end.
I have even stayed with family for a while when starting a big new project and all my money was tied up in the venture and I had a very limited monthly income for a while until it took off. I could only have done this temporarily (any longer and I would have gone nuts) but it can be done and there’s no shame in it. At this particular time I also got rid of my 50k luxury car and got by using a 15 year old family car. That year of my life was one of the most enjoyable I have ever had before or since, I had the least amount of commitments (financially, work or otherwise) than I have had in my life. I was free to concentrate on my new business but more importantly I had so much time and energy for myself and my family. If you speak to a lot of successful entrepreneurs, many of them have been through a similar experience at one time or another in their business career but now they are much farther forward than they would have been before.
Being in control of your life, your future and your lifestyle is not just about having buckets of money to make it happen, it’s about making positive decisions to take the control for yourself. It doesn’t have to be about starting your own business it could be about changing jobs or relocating to a nicer area, never be afraid to minimize your outgoings and take a small backward step to find a better direction and make your dreams come true.
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