I had always found it hard to settle in institutions. Often pointless rules and routines created and imposed by others irked me.
Although I could not see it at the time, these were perhaps the first fledgling signs of the Rebel within me. The Rebel that would eventually make my fortune.
Anyway, one day I just decided that I’d had enough. I’d spent too long forcing myself to do work that was meaningless and unfulfilling.
Why quitting my job was scary
When you quit your job you slash the umbilical cord to a monthly wage that pays the bills. The day I quit I had to face a future of zero income.
I left behind all my work mates. Most of them thought I was mad. The future was me versus the world.
I had no idea what to do next. I had researched loads of “opportunities” but none of them seemed to be right for me.
What was really Exciting
I remember that as I walked away I felt immensely proud. It was partly that I’d had the courage to assert myself and say, “Stuff your job.” And it was partly that, at last, I had started the journey to live life on my own terms. It was a really liberating feeling. It was like I was expressing a deep-felt need.
There were now no limits to what I might do. Every avenue was open to me. I would never have to attend another meeting.
The First Few Days
The first two days of my new life were a Saturday and Sunday. I played golf, did a few chores around the house, set up an old pinewood table in the spare bedroom and installed a telephone line up there. Then I went to the pub and chewed the fat with friends.
Monday was the first real day of reckoning. I dressed in jeans, an old teeshirt and trainers. But when I sat at my new desk it felt strange that there was nothing pressing that needed doing. It was up to me to decide what I wanted to do. I didn’t know where to start.
My First Decision
When I took stock of my situation I realised that my first need was to create an income stream. I only had sufficient savings to last a couple of months.
It’s funny how strong a hold conditioning has on us; all I could think of was getting another job. Fortunately that idea horrified me. Visions floated across my mind of all the worst bosses I’d ever encountered.
Several days passed in fruitless thinking and research. I scoured the papers for interesting employment and business opportunities. (There was no internet back in those days.) There was nothing that appealed to me or nothing that I though I was qualified to do.
Self Detective work opened a door
Everything started to change when I decided to do a Self Audit. I made 5 lists. For illustrative purposes I have only included one result for each of my lists. This was the first list I made:
Note 1: when you do this, do not compare yourself with world beaters. You don’t have to be “best in class”, just list what you do well.
Note 2: It’s really easy to miss what’s right under your nose. You need alternative viewpoints. When you think you have completed your Self Audit run it by three or four friends and close family to get their input. Their views could prove invaluable.
My results started me thinking about how I could develop a business or career in golf. At first I hesitated because I was daunted by the superior ability of playing and teaching professionals. (At the time I had an 8 handicap. So I was better than average, but nowhere near the top of the tree.)
Two possible directions opened up for me
Looking at the results of my audit I began to think about starting a business as in golf vacations. The idea excited me, I could see myself playing golf on great courses in top resorts. But, the more I researched this avenue, the more it seemed like a daunting amount of work and commitment for a business newbie like me.
My second idea was to publish a golf newsletter. This seemed a lot more feasible. I immediately started to write. It felt good to be writing about something that I felt I knew about loved. My enthusiasm took control. I could literally feel the energy exploding inside of me.
For the first time in a long time I was really enjoying my work. Before I knew it the first edition was completed and ready for publication.
I was so charged up that I omitted to ask myself some basic questions
You’re maybe going to think me a bit stupid, but in my enthusiasm I just never got round to thinking about some important basics.
I never thought about the exact person that my newsletter was intended to benefit. It seems crazy when I look back, but I promise you, I just wrote about what interested me.
It gets worse; I never gave any consideration to what would make my newsletter uniquely appealing.
In retrospect I was just writing for the joy of writing, for my own gratification.
Yeh, you guessed it, my newsletter bombed. I had wasted a lot of time and lost a chunk of my limited savings.
The need to find an income source had just ramped up from “need” to “urgent”.
How I capitalised on my mistakes and my knowledge
Once I got my tail out from between my legs and stopped feeling sorry for myself an inner determination asserted itself. I simply would not allow myself to fall at the first hurdle.
The thought of what all the smug, employed know-alls would say spurred me on. In desperation I went back to my audit.
These were the results on which I now focussed my attention:
You will notice that I have only changed the last two results, the ones highlighted in red. These changes were significant for me because they made me ask myself: “who needs someone with a talent for developing others and my marketing skills?”
I started to dig deeper by asking myself two further questions:
- who would find my talents and knowledge valuable?
- Where would my previous experience give me credibility and authority?
You have probably noticed that this time I was taking a greater interest in my prospective clients and in how I could influence them.
I still wasn’t prepared to give up on being independent
All the signs pointed me back into the advertising industry that I had just left. That was where I had spent 15 years building up knowledge and reputation. But wild horses were not going to drag me back into an employed situation. The Rebel in my nature had experienced the elation of being free. I was not prepared to surrender that feeling.
It was a friend down at the pub who suggested that I should become a consultant.
I immediately bought a book about how to become a consultant.
After much thought I decided to become a marketing consultant. I had the idea of specialising in promoting small to medium sized advertising agencies.
I ordered some stationary and sent out a mail shot.
One small agency took the bait. I now had a monthly retainer fee. Phew, relief!
Thirty years later I am still in touch with the boss of that agency, now retired. We did good work together. Both of us benefitted.
I was surviving, but it still didn’t feel right
During the five years that I worked as a consultant I quickly learned another important lesson. The consultant must know more than their client.
You don’t have to know about everything in your field. But you do need to know a few things that your client does not know. Or you need better sources of information than your client has. Knowledge gives you credibility and authority. I made it my business to read a lot of books and articles.
The knowledge and experience of being an independent consultant would stand me in good stead later. However, I could feel inside of myself that I still had not found my niche.
The proof that I still needed to challenge myself to find my niche was that I was not entirely happy and I often found the work a slog. I had no desire to expand my consultancy.
How I knew for certain that I was on the wrong path
There was something else going on inside of me that I couldn’t identify. It was a dissatisfaction. It was an itch that needed scratching.
Don’t misunderstand me, I was making a reasonable living. I extended my house and the family enjoyed some good vacations. I also paid all my taxes.
But I knew that this was not my ultimate destination because my energy was not in it. My heart was not in it. I was not fully committed. There was not enough of me in what I was doing. There was a lack of energy. I was not in love with what I was doing.
As part of my marketing consultant training I had started to read a lot of psychology books. I was particularly interested in human behaviour. I told myself that I needed to understand people better in order to be able to influence them. I enjoyed reading about psychology and found the books very interesting.
More sophisticated self-discovery tests suggested new possibilities
I decided to get professional analysis of my skills, abilities and personality.
First I paid for a battery of psychometric tests designed to suggest a career path. After completing the tests I had an interview with an Industrial Psychologist. He told me that I would make a great teacher.
These tests had not been cheap and I was seriously angered by the result. How could I become a teacher in middle age? I had a family to support. To become a teacher would require 2 years training with no income. And when I eventually qualified I would be poorly paid. It was a bum suggestion, poorly presented. But it turned out to be nearly correct.
When I had regained my composure I committed myself to the more reasonably priced Talent Assessment test developed by the Gallup analytics and advice firm. The StrengthsFinder test proved to be gold dust for me.
How I used one of my strengths to solve the riddle of me
It transpired from my StrengthsFinder test that I had a strength known as “Ideation”. People with the Ideation strength love ideas and our minds are always looking to make connections between ideas and bits of information.
Problems can be solved in two ways. You either use logic, stats and precedents, or you use ideas and intuition. I am firmly in the ideas and intuition camp.
When I looked at my self-analysis in combination with my psychometric test results and my strengths, I eventually saw a connection. This did not happen as a sudden “road to Damascus” revelation. It took maybe a year of constantly studying my results. I was trying to make sense of them and to get a feel for what they meant.
How I decided on a new career
I realised that I was trying to be too conventional. This was wrong for me because my mind does not work along conventional lines. I need a way to express my uniqueness. I need to allow “who I am” to drive me.
During my 5 years as a consultant, I had met and talked with a lot of people. I realised that many people feel confined by conventional jobs. They feel frustrated because they cannot express themselves. I can relate to these people – I am one of them.
I started to think about how I could help people find ways to express themselves so that they could feel more fulfilled.
At last I discovered a fulfilling and rewarding occupation
My reading and research planted a seed in my mind. It was a coaching seed. I fertilised the seed by reading even more. I qualified as a Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (how to programme the human mind). I became a consultant with a company that coached people to make career changes.
It transpired that I am a good coach. Through self-knowledge had found my niche, my vocation.
The only issue now was that being a consultant for someone else didn’t suit my temperament. So, after a couple of years, I branched out on my own as a Performance Coach.
Within a Year I’d Doubled My Income and Bought a New Mercedes Car
Once I’d found my work identity my confidence grew markedly.
I now know that most people restrict themselves. Over the 25 years that I have now been a Personal Performance Coach I have helped over a thousand people. They have grown in self-belief and their performance has improved markedly. This happens when they release themselves from trying to be something or someone they are not.
There’s a rebel inside of you that wants to break out and express who you are. I will be writing more, in future articles, about How To Release Yourself from your restrictions. My purpose it to help my readers find happiness, meaning, fulfilment and prosperity.
Everyone can enjoy a fulfilling, prosperous and happy life – all you need is to know yourself, express yourself and be yourself. Keep learning from successful people.
I write about what works based on what I have learned during 10,000 hours of Life Coaching and on my personal life experiences. 95% of my clients are recommended by happy former clients. I am a $ Million Entrepreneur. Hang around with me, become a Rebel and I’ll let you know whenever I write anything new. Join the revolution below.