By Bella Zanesco
Body and Soul, May 22, 2018 —
Career transition coach Bella Zanesco on why choosing ‘soul value’ in your career could be the key to happiness at work.
Sure, we all want to find a job that both lights our soul on fire and fills our bank balance (preferably with six figures, thank you very much). But the reality is, many of us are often struggling to tick just one of those boxes.
According to the Global Executive Women’s Wellbeing Report I founded, six in 10 women would forge a different career if they had the courage to start over and seven in 10 don’t pursue the work that would make their soul sing because of the money. Oh, and one in two are regularly unhappy about going to work. Not great, huh?
What it all comes down to is making the choice between “soul value” and “economic value” when it comes to our career path.
Those seeking economic value focus on making money and achieving financial security. They’re prepared to accept some level of discomfort and hard work to build someone else’s vision.
On the other end of the spectrum are those who prioritise “soul value”. These people focus on giving, serving and following their true passions regardless of financial gain.
Chances are you’re in the middle – you know you need to make a career change towards soul value, even if it means you might have to make short to medium term sacrifices in economic value to get there. Typically, women end up choosing soul value after burnout, a crisis of values, the birth of a child or a thirst for the unknown or adventure.
So, if you’re in the majority and are considering quitting your beige job and waking up inspired on a Monday morning here are seven proven steps to help you get started.
#1 Be brutal
Seek out the root cause as to why you’re regularly unhappy about going to work. Before you throw in the towel maybe you need to change a few things; the industry, your boss, your hours, your working practices, your commute or the subject matter. Many find by changing a few of these dimensions they are nudged towards their soul value without going broke in the process.
#2 Chase your tennis balls
In the words of Drew Houston, co-founder and CEO of Dropbox, ‘It’s not about pushing yourself. It’s about finding your tennis balls.’ Your tennis balls are your curiosities — things that you require zero motivation to pursue. Before setting off into soul value territory list five things you’re passionate about exploring and start exploring them in a low touch way – volunteer at a charity, take a holiday where you give back or do a night class after work.
#3 Create a transition vision
Once you’ve done some experiments, decide a holistic vision for your life and create your soul work to align to your overall vision. If you want to be wild and free ensure you choose a work that can travel with you. Remember you’re going to live to 100 if you stay healthy so there’s much time to get it right.
#4 Set yourself up for success
Before you quit your job, register that business name, write the business plan, get real comfortable with what you’re willing to trade off in pursuit of your soul work, I’m talking money, assets, relationships, schedules etc. And then write another list of what you’re not willing to trade off. Use this to help you guide your decisions about what’s next, maybe it’s time to negotiate a four-day week or set up a partnership or collaboration. Remember baby steps will set you up for success.
#5 Get your side hustle on
If you’re not flush with cash, earn at least your basic annual living expenses from a soul value side hustle before you step into it full time. Remember financial stress is proven to trump any ounce of soul value for most people.
#6 Decide is it your own business or something else
In the first three years of business you’ll think back to your corporate job and see it as a dream. Plan for five years of hard yards as you set up your business, be prepared to dial back your lifestyle and know the number one tool to your success in business is your ability to influence and sell and if you don’t want to do that well consider something different…
#7 Go in with your eyes wide open
Have at least 12 months of living expenses and $50,000 or the ability to redraw it from your mortgage or raise startup capital or feel confident you can access funding for your idea. Find someone who has done what you want to do and ask them how much it cost them.
This is an edited extract from the best-selling book Smart Girls Screw Up Too by Bella Zanesco. Bella is a career and wellbeing expert, researcher and keynote speaker.