15 Things I believe about work that you might not

What drives Rethink Work? Why does the world need this site? Why is it different to any other?

To  answer those questions, I created a list of 15 things I believe about jobs, work and making a living.

It’s probably not comprehensive, but it mostly covers it.

Do you believe the same things?

1 — Life is too short to be miserable in your job

It’s a total cliche but that’s because it’s true. And if you’re miserable in your job, you’ll be less happy in all aspects of your life.

2 — The alternative to being miserable in your job isn’t just to quit

Quitting could be a good option, but it’s never the only one, and it’s rarely the first one your should try. If you’re prepared to quit, you have the ultimate leverage to change your current situation. Worth a try first don’t you think?

3— You must be crystal clear about what success is for you

Most people who end up in a miserable job got there because they were chasing someone else’s definition of success. Driven people achieve stuff. Few spend enough time being clear about what their version of success is. They achieve what others think success is, not what makes them happy. That sucks.

4 — Money should not be the thing tying you to your job

Yes, you need money to live. But you probably need less of it than you use now. You can make some changes (either short term or permanent) to get by with less that you think. There are always other ways than your current job to make enough money to live.

5 — A job isn’t a battle between employer and employee

Employees who are happier do more, better work. It’s in your employers best interest for you to be happy too. Remember this!

6 — Small changes to your job can make a big difference to your happiness

And making changes to your job is rarely as hard as you think it might be. If you don’t ask, you don’t get, and if you do ask, you often do get.

7 — Employees are more valuable to their employers than they think

Replacing you would be hard, expensive and time consuming. This works is in your favour if you want to ask for a change. Remember, happier employees are more productive, a small change could make you happier and replacing you would be painful. That’s enough leverage to ask for what you want.

8 — You don’t have to quit to start something new

You can (and should) make steps towards your new goal before you quit your existing job. Your salary is great for giving you the room you need to get started. And when you have a new plan to focus on, your job often becomes more bearable. Light at the end of the tunnel and all that.

9 — Time is not the thing holding you back

We all feel like there isn’t enough time. There’s always time for something new if you prioritise it. And you can achieve a lot with a little time if you focus, and do the things that matter.

10— If you do quit, there’s always a way to use your existing experience

You don’t have to start from nothing — your skills, experience, network and know how all mean that you can create a job or a company that pays the bills. Ignore the “10 step systems to build a business”, and figure out your own way.

11—Not having a good idea is a terrible excuse to stay miserable

Have lots of ideas, even if they’re bad. Copy other peoples ideas. Try some of the “bad” ideas. You’ll find better ones along the way.

12 — If you’re waiting for something to happen, you’re making excuses

Seriously — there is no reason to wait, you can start small, but if you start now, you win.

13 — You can’t figure out your purpose in life

Not by thinking things through. No amount of coaching, blog reading, self development or personality testing can give you your purpose. You can discover it by trying things. Doing always beats thinking about doing.

14 — Jobs as we know them won’t always exist

Who knows when it’s going to happen, but it will. Freelancing, remote working, flexible hours and all kinds of things that are not mainstream today will become the norm. You can choose to wait for that, or get ahead of the curve.

15 — There is so much opportunity, there is no excuse to be miserable

There really is no excuse for sitting bemoaning your lot. This is the time in our history when there is the most opportunity for the most people. Everything you need to make a change is there. Don’t stand for you own excuses.

So, do you think the same way as me, or completely disagree? Let me know in the comments…

What if your ambition is just too big?

You don’t hear that too often, do you?

The Internet is full of “dream big, don’t stay small, manifest your huge goals”.

But what if the size of your dream is the very thing that’s stopping you from making it real?

If the size of the change we want to make is huge, it scares us. When all we see is the big, shiny completed vision, it obscures our first step.

We get scared into doing nothing.

We do need that vision of what could be. We absolutely need it.

But on it’s own, it’s not enough. Great things don’t come in one giant step. They take time and lots of small steps along the way.

If we ask our brain to move from 0 to 100% complete in one swoop, it’s too much. It shuts down and we do nothing about that dream.

This happens all the time when contemplating a career move, or starting our own business. On one hand we see our current reality of an unfulfilling job. On the other we see our perfect future: Us as a successful company owner, non-profit founder, or whatever our big beautiful dream is.

We fantasise for a while, but we don’t think about the steps on the way, so we remain stuck.

We wouldn’t do this in the rest of our lives.

If we were planning to run a marathon, we wouldn’t just attempt it without preparation and training.

Running 26.2 miles is a huge goal, so if we were going to try it, we’d put in the hours of preparation, training and hard work needed to get ready.

But, when we’re thinking about a big career move, or starting out on our own, the way we think is often more like showing up on the starting line for that marathon still wearing our office shoes.

The reality of making a different move in your career is that it can be a process where you take small steps and make incremental progress. We need a plan for how all of those small steps come together. That’s how we start to imagine actually achieving our dreams, no matter how big they are.

Your next move doesn’t have to be a big, scary leap. Yes, there are people who just quit with no plan and figure it out as they go, just like I’m sure there are people who start a marathon with no training, but it’s not the recommended or sensible way.

If you want to ease gradually into doing something else, start small, but start now.

Here are 3 steps you can start right now without getting daunted by the size of the change you want to make.

1 – Start listing ideas

Any ideas will do. Even if you’re sure of what your next step will be, I still recommend coming up with lots of variations of it. It gets your brain in the kind of problem solving / creative frame that you’ll need.

2 – Use your network

Once you have an idea of your next step, start talking to people about it. It doesn’t have to be public, or overtly obvious, but you can potentially find new opportunities, future clients and great tweaks to your idea just by talking to those you know.

3 –  Start the new before you leave the old

In the same way as you’re going to train before doing that marathon, dip into your new thing before you leave your current job.

If you dream of quitting to build a software product, start building a prototype.

If you want to move into freelancing, take some clients in the evenings / weekends.

If you want a job in a completely unrelated field, get some experience by volunteering or making new connections.

You can take this as far as you like – some of the best, least scary moves happen by establishing something on the side, so there’s no big move to make, it’s just a natural progression.

Whatever path you choose, don’t see it as a leap of faith. See it as a challenge you can train for, practice and tackle ever-bigger goals in until you make it.

Don’t let the size of your ambition stop you from making the first step