1. GET THE POINT – OF LIFE, THAT IS. How many of us will look back in our old age and wish we'd gone to more meetings or put in more overtime. The point? Despite pressure to “play it safe" by sticking with your day job (". . . but dear, you have a good job, you want to be HAPPY too?") you have every right to follow your entrepreneurial dreams. With the realization that life is for living comes the understanding that it is up to you – and you alone – to create the kind of life you really want.
2. GET THE RIGHT PICTURE. Be honest. How much time do you spend bitching about your lousy boss, hellish commute and on and on? As satisfying as a good gripe session is, you're wasting precious energy on the wrong picture. Five minutes a day spent visualizing your ideal work-life and fashioning a plan to get you there will move you far closer to your goal than 30 minutes of complaining about what you don't want. Bottom line: You won't see yourself doing it until you can see yourself doing it.
3. GET CLUED INTO YOUR PASSION. The most successful entrepreneurs love what they do. Haven't quite figured out where your passion lies? Start paying attention to situations or things that grab and keep your attention. Focus less on your skills (what you CAN do) or your resume (what you HAVE done) and instead, try to tune into what it is you really LOVE and WANT to do. What types of things did you love to do as a child? What kinds of characteristics or talents do people compliment you on? What kind of work or lifestyles do you envy? If you don't yet have the knowledge or skills to turn your heart work into a business venture, make it your business to fill the gaps.
4. GET A GRIP ON “IT. " In her book Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, Susan Jeffers says IT is what scares you – and ultimately, what's holding you back from going after your dream. Perhaps your fear centers on money, or that you're not “smart enough, " or that you'll fall flat on your face. Let's face it – shaking up your life is scary. Yet, “Unless you walk out into the unknown, " says Tom Peters, “the odds of making a profound difference in your life are pretty low. " So go ahead and indulge in your worst-case fantasy. Then get busy figuring out what steps you can take to prevent it from happening.
5. GET REAL. You've seen the easy money pitches: “Earn $1,000 a week stuffing envelopes in the comfort of your own home. " Sounds great, right? Now, snap out of it! Launching your own business takes time and effort. You should also expect a drop in income – at least in the beginning. Now is the time to revisit the ideal life you outlined in Step 2 and ask yourself, “How much do I really want my ideal life? What am I willing to do or give up to get it?" If you are serious about living life on your own terms, the sacrifice will be worth it.
6. GET INFORMED. Change always seems scarier when you have either inadequate, or worse, inaccurate information. Go to the library. Join associations. Talk to people who have started similar businesses. Take classes. Read trade publications. Subscribe to ezines. The more informed you are, the less “risky" the risks become.
7. GET READY. A goal has been described as a dream with a deadline. Take out a calendar. Even if you haven't nailed down all the details, you should still go ahead and set a target date for when you want your “new life" to begin. Besides being a great source of motivation, knowing how much time you have between now and “D-ream day" lets you create a realistic plan for hitting it.
8. GET SUPPORT. Enthusiasm is contagious, but so is pessimism. Avoid the nay Sayers and try to seek out others who share your passion for living life on your own terms. Consider meeting weekly with other aspiring entrepreneurs to generate ideas, share information and help each other stay on track.
9. GET GOING. To keep from being overwhelmed – yet still make headway – break your larger goal down into more manageable steps. Then, no matter how hectic thing get, pledge to take at least one action a day. Even the smallest actions – jotting down a new idea, reading a single page, or making one phone call – start to add up. And, once you actually get the ball rolling, it's hard to stop!
10. GET GRATITUDE. At the same time you're setting your sights on achieving your future goal, be mindful of how much abundance you have in your life RIGHT NOW! Changing course is a journey. Count your blessings and enjoy the ride. When you think about it, it's all we really have.
“Off the beaten career path” consultant, Valerie Young, abandoned her corporate cubicle to become the Dreamer in Residence at http://www.ChangingCourse.com , offering free resources to help you discover your life mission and live it. Her career change tips have been cited The Wall Street Journal, USA Today Weekend, Redbook, Entrepreneur’s Business Start Ups, and on-line at MSN, CareerBuilder, and iVillage.com. An expert on the Impostor Syndrome, she’s presented her How to Feel as Bright and Capable as Everyone Seems to Think You Are program to thousands of people.