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How To Change Your Life When Your Job Isn’t Right For You

If you’re feeling off track in life and want to live more intentionally, this reflection process will help you identify where you want to go and how to get there. Here is a step by step process for changing your life when you hate your job.


Personal development has always been a part of my life – I am a strong believer in reflecting on where you are, deciding what you’d like to improve, and taking action to get there.

Even though self improvement is one of my greatest values, a year ago I was surprised to see that my life wasn’t bringing me joy and happiness.

Related post: How To Be Happier With Mindfulness

I thought I was being proactive enough to avoid ending up in this exact situation, yet here I was.

I was doing the same routine day after day, week after week, and it wasn’t bringing me joy.

Related post: How To Shake Up A Monotonous Life

I hated my job. I felt no calling to my work, no sense of purpose, and was entirely unfulfilled. Although I was fantastic at WHAT I did, the company itself did not align with my WHY. Their values (or lack thereof) put me in constant conflict with the person I wanted to be. So at that point, I began questioning not ‘how do I make today better’, but ‘am I even on the right track’?

Sadly, because I didn’t have clarity on my values, I couldn’t pinpoint what needed to change, otherwise I would have done it already,

For a while, I avoided making change by justifying this as normal. I mean, who really loves their jobs?

But I couldn’t keep up that lie for long.

I had filled my life (and my social media) with people that inspired me because they were out there doing what they loved. I knew it was possible!

I also knew I wasn’t being intentional with the way I was living my life, and something had to change.

I decided to re-evaluate my priorities and clarify my direction in order to create an actionable plan toward a joyful and fulfilling life.

Spoiler alert! I did NOT sell everything I owned to move across the country on a soul searching mission — although I would have loved to.

I took a more balanced approach to adjust my current situation to point closer to my destination… you know, the thing that responsible people with mortgages and babies have to resort to 😉

So, if you’re not so sure that you’re on the right track yourself, try this process to architect your dream life and see if it works for you.

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Start with the end in mind

If you want to live intentionally today, you must be aware of what you value. Think big picture. Ask yourself:

  • What do you want out of your short existence on this planet?
  • What are your values?
  • What does your dream life look like?
  • What is your definition of success?

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This step can be tricky, because we aren’t used to admitting to ourselves that we want something more. We’ve often spent years squashing our dreams to the point where they are nothing but a quiet whisper in our hearts. Allow yourself to dream big and lay out all your hopes on the table.

If you want to achieve big things, your path will be unclear and hazy. The emotional need for clarity and fear of the unknown leads people to abandon their dreams for more straightforward pursuits in less demanding environments. Having goal clarity is essential to high motivation.

BENJAMIN HARDY

For me, I figured out that the 3 values I held closest to my heart were family, travel, and impact. From there, I was able to build out my 3 life goal statements that I write in my journal every morning as part of my routine.

  • I built a treasure house of happy memories
  • I traveled the entire world, slowly experiencing all of it
  • I motivated a million people to improve their lives by being an example of what is possible

Assess your current situation

By identifying the gaps and highlighting the positive aspects of your life, you know exactly what needs to stay and what needs to change.

What’s missing? What’s working? What are the potential costs of action and inaction?

I liked that I was making lots of money to be able to travel the world, but I wasn’t having an impact and I wasn’t getting enough time with my family.

Don’t evaluate only the potential downside of action. It is equally important to measure the atrocious cost of inaction. If you don’t pursue those things that excite you, where will you be in 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years? How will you feel having allowed circumstance to impose itself upon you and having allowed 10 more years of your finite life to pass doing what you know will not fulfill you? If you telescope out 10 years and know with 100% certainty that it is a path of disappointment and regret, and if we define risk as ‘the likelihood of an irreversible negative outcome,’ inaction is the greatest risk of all.

TIM FERRISS

Determine what you are willing to give up

You can have anything but you can’t have everything.

What are you willing to sacrifice and what are you holding strong to?

I was fortunate enough to be in a financial position where I could sacrifice a substantial amount of income in exchange for a substantial amount of time with my family. It may mean less avocado on toast and more coupons, but I also knew that I wouldn’t do this forever, and that making this change was something that would bring me great joy in the next 3-5 years while my kids are little.

Get wildly creative about your options

We often hold ourselves back with our limiting mental models and our biases. The key to changing your life for the better is getting wildly creative with what you could possibly try.

Brainstorm everything and don’t hold back. Even the craziest ideas are allowed.

You need to take time and be honest with yourself if you’re going to make the best choice.

I explored all the possible part time jobs I could take, I contacted all of my connections and assessed if I could work something out in an established relationship, I debated the types of businesses I could start on my own, I talked to people in my same company to see if a different position would suffice, I debated not working at all – everything was on the table.

Determine the best choice

‘Best’ here means the option that ‘most closely aligns with your values and brings you closest to the life you want to have lived.’ This is why it’s critical to start with the end in mind, and realize that there isn’t just one way to get there.

Success isn’t a straight line, but a roller coaster of decisions.

ANA MCRAE

For me, I knew I could keep the majority of my salary and get a substantial decrease in working hours by leveraging an existing relationship that knew my work ethic and the value I brought to the team. It was a tough choice, but it was the best choice.

Act!

There is nothing more painful than having spent weeks or months evaluating your life and debating making a change, only to resign yourself to exactly the same position you were in before you started.

I handed in my 2 week notice after taking a weekend to make my decision.

It was terrifying and I wish I could say I never looked back but I did, an unhealthy amount of times. However, I am happier now than I have been in years and am so glad I took the plunge to jump outside of my comfort zone.

When I think back to my previous life and imagine today as if I was still there, I am glad I took the time to reevaluate my life but most importantly, I am so grateful that I acted to improve it.

In the moment, analysis paralysis almost kept me from living a life more closely aligned with my values.

Related post: The Key To Making Hard Decisions

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Sadly, most people will choose unhappiness over uncertainty, and I did not want to be one of those people.

Find out what you need to be doing on this planet, why you were put here, and what wakes you up in the mornings.

PETER DIAMANDIS

If you want more guidance on this process, I would love to work with you to help you overcome indecision, perfectionism, and procrastination and build an unbelievable life exploding with joy.

Working with Ana has been such a positive experience. Before starting, I had never worked with a coach before and I didn’t really know what to expect. I had no idea just how beneficial it would be. Before working with her, I felt like I wasn’t making any progress towards my goals and I was starting to feel really discouraged. Even after just one session with Ana, I felt so much more motivated. It felt so great to discuss my dreams with someone who made them feel normal, and who was so supportive of them. She helped me set concrete, actionable goals to help me achieve more in a shorter period of time. I have made more progress in just three months of working with her than I did in the more than six months beforehand that I was doing everything on my own. It has been such a pleasure to work with her and I feel closer than ever before to achieving the life of my dreams.

Samantha Kopelman, 26


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How do you know it’s time for change in your life?

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