Have you ever struggled to be present and engaged with your day job (when you’re bored out of your mind)? Are you fed-up with performing trivial tasks in support of someone else’s dream? Are you feeling called to devote your time and energy into building your dream?

You are not alone.

Many of my clients have been there. I’ve been there myself. From 1994-2005, I worked several day jobs while acting at night. Most of the time it was “fine.” These jobs supported me and my acting habit. I studied all of the personalities I came across in the corporate world during the day, and then turned around and modeled many a character on them on stage at night. There was an alignment there … until there wasn’t…

Working 80 hours a week while spending another twenty or more doing theatre at night and on the weekends was great when I was a 20-something. After hitting 30, I felt intuitively that that arc was over. The costs outweighed the benefits.

In 2005 I walked away from my high-paying, corporate, benefits-included, executive assistant job. I got an MFA in theatre, studied voice work with Catherine Fitzmaurice, and then found the final pieces of what I was meant to do in the world in coaching and leadership at CTI.

While assisting a CTI class, one of the participants asked the panel “How did you build your business?” (This happened during every single class without fail.) During this particular class, one of the founders looked perplexed by the conversation, the variety of answers, and how long this topic was taking. He interrupted and said,

“Every new business requires funding. That’s a fact. There are a number of ways to fund your new business. You can continue working a day job. You can take out loans. You can put things on credit cards. You can tap into your savings. You can borrow money from friends or family members. The important thing to remember is that you are completely at choice as to how you fund your business. Let’s move on.”

Did you catch that?: You are at choice as to how you fund your dream business.

You have a choice.

You are not “trapped” in your day job. You can walk away from your day job and choose one of the other options. You can also choose to stay with that day job.

Every choice we make has costs and benefits. That day job is giving you something (money, health benefits, an un-heard of amount of flexibility that you’ve earned while putting in 5, 10, 15 years with them). If those benefits are important to you as you build your dream, you may choose to stay. Once you’ve outgrown the benefits (and the costs) of that day job, you can choose to leave.

Try it right now: Remind yourself you are choosing your current situation at this time for what it gives you. Also remind yourself that you do not have to choose these circumstances forever. “Today I’m choosing this. Tomorrow, I may choose something else.”

What shifts for you when you own that you are choosing your current circumstances?

If you’re still working the day job, it can feel a lot like climbing a mountain. The climb is challenging. The top of this particular mountain will be the moment that you quit the day job. You will feel full of accomplishment as you look out from the mountain top.

While climbing a mountain, there are often many vistas along the way, where you can look back over where you’ve been. It may be helpful to stop at the end of your work day, as if you were standing on a vista, and celebrate. Look back at how hard you worked to climb that day. Appreciate yourself for the many trivial tasks you performed for someone else’s dream as you climbed the mountain of funding your own.

Now try these two things for one week.
1) Remind yourself daily that you are choosing to use the day job in order to fund your dreams.
2) Celebrate the accomplishments and the progress toward your dream daily.

Notice how that’s different… Then email me or comment on the blog and share your experience.

With passion & love,

PS – When you do reach the final vista at the top of the mountain, celebrate the heck out of that one too! … Because there will soon be another mountain to climb 😉

PPS – Thank you to the Voice Matters Tribe member who submitted the question that inspired this blog.