With cliches like "do what you love" and "follow your passion" surfacing lately in blogs, Pinterest boards, and brand mottos, it's no wonder our society is yearning to love our jobs. However, let's not forget though, employee engagement is down, with only 25 percent of companies having an engagement strategy for their employees.
Most of us want a career path that we choose and that is not chosen for us. We want a path that aligns with our passions, talents and strengths. Over the course of our life, our passions and strengths can change, which can often influence our career interests.
So if we want to love going to work on Monday's and feel inspired, why do we spend most of our time complaining and do nothing about it?
The answer: finding your niche is not easy. Generally, finding your niche requires taking a risk or stepping out of your comfort zone. Unfortunately, society has trained us that you may fail if you take a risk and failure can be difficult. Thankfully, Brene Brown is teaching us that not only is it ok to fail, but you can get back up stronger than ever.
I'm writing to tell you if you take the right risk (the kind that is part calculated, part strategic, and let's be honest, part crazy) and you run towards it with an optimistic attitude and strong work ethic, you may just be surprised at how gracious the world is in return.
On October 6th, a special day for the The Niche Movement and I, I used the word "unpredictable" to describe the last year since going out on my own full time.
Feelings of uncertainty and what-if's scares a lot of people, including me, even today as I write this. That is one of the reasons many of us are held back from loving what we do. Now, I'm not saying you should quit your job to become an entrepreneur.
As I wrote about in my book, "The truth is that we will stay in a job we hate because it’s comfortable and because we have a fear of the unknown. How can something we hate be considered comfortable? Think about it. While our boss might drive us nuts, we know that we can live off the salary provided. We know the shortcuts necessary to finish the day by 4:30pm, or the ways to avoid the annoying co-worker. The known, even if it’s bad, is often seen as being better than the unknown. We stay in these jobs, come home frustrated and angry and live in this perpetual cycle of figuring out ways to just deal with it. The truth is that our fear of failure is probably our biggest obstacle to growth. When we were kids we had no fears. Our curiosity and lack of fear led to many adventures and accelerated growth."
Let me ask you this:
What if you had the difficult conversation with your boss/co-worker and let them know they are stifling your work and keeping you from being your most creative and productive self for the organization (and for your well-being)?
What if you spent 3-5 hours a week on your passion project for the next 3 months to turn it into a side hustle or as an outlet to feel fulfilled?
What if you try to build your network and line up a new job, making it a priority to have coffee or lunch with 30 different people in 60 days? Better yet, what if you reached out to that person who you think is unreachable and they actually get back to you?
These what if's tend to lead to the unknown and require a lot patience, tack, creativity, guts, and to be honest little bit of serendipity.
When you push your comfort zone and do something that makes you uncomfortable, 9 times out of 10 you are on the path to something that makes you happier. What if these scenarios we play in our head actually work out?
I talk about communication being disrupted and our connections being limitless but I also feel strongly that we all have the same "at-bat" to create the life we want whether that working for ourselves or for an organization. Sure, there are circumstances that may limit the level of risk but we are all facing some type of adversity or challenge to overcome. Generally speaking though, we have the same amount of time in a day and with an internet connection, access to many of the same resources.
So, if you need to have that difficult conversation, there are resources and people out there that can help you. When you are ready to work on your passion project, there are unlimited platforms and tools, mostly free or low cost to spread your message (TweetDeck, Squarespace, Medium). When you're ready to grow your network or get in touch with someone, you are just a click or a tweet away.
All it requires is action on your part.
I'll admit, when it comes to taking action on my own personal projects and ideas, including this blog post, I procrastinate and find all other work to tackle (including helping others first) before pushing my own comfort zone. However, I remind myself that we are only one piece of content away from connecting with the next person or opportunity that will lead to an even more fulfilled and happy life.
What action will you take to help you find your niche?