You’re stuck. There’s nothing you can do. You simply wake up every morning looking at yourself in the mirror. And you realize you are stuck. If you didn’t need to, would you go to work in the morning? People wait for the weekend so badly because a) they can do what they really want for the whole day or b) they get to rest because the week was so exhausting. This is the time to build your exit strategy.
I felt stuck at a job I did for more than five years. It felt that I wasn’t getting anywhere and there was nothing to learn. I then had an opportunity and grabbed it. It was another dead end corporate job. It had new challenges and it seemed like a way to be happy again. Then I got a cubicle. And then I got around working on my real exit strategy. This is how to do it.
1) Always start with why. I need an exit strategy because I am not happy. Actually I need an exit strategy even if I am happy because in a year I might not be. And I’m not happy because I am not doing the things I enjoy the most. And knowing what you enjoy is the first step of a successful strategy. What do you enjoy? What is it that you really want to do? Make a list, a mind map or a collage. Really think it through and visualize. I love my family, I love extreme sports and warm weather. But go deeper, go to the details. This is a form of creation so you’ll get your daily dosage of that as well. (You need to use your creativity muscle to stay happy.)
2) Once you’ve figured out what you really want to do you need to calculate the costs. Life isn’t as expensive as it seems. A complete parachute set costs around 3000 €. But then it might actually be only 250 a month if you divide it for a year. Or traveling for a month around Europe costs only around 1200 €. In Helsinki 70 % of that might be your rent. See how much it really costs to live your lifestyle and put it down to numbers.
3) Figure out what you really need and what is nice to have. Go through your expenses. One by one, divide them into groups and see what you can live without. You can live well without eating out so much. Or spending all that money in the bar for drinks. Calculate how much is it that you really need. And when you combine 2) and 3) you can figure out how much money you really need to live your happy lifestyle. It’s much less than you think.
4) Now you know what you want. Find out how to do it - can you work only 3 days a week? Or maybe you should start a company and sell those hand-made chairs that you enjoy making? Find a way to finance your lifestyle. If you can do it with your current job, good. But think of an alternative. This is your real exit strategy. Try and see how and what to do when you need to take or are forced to take the leap of faith.
Making these steps will not only prepare you for the evident. They’ll make you think and reevaluate everything you do. Ask yourself: is this really something I want to be doing today? If not, you should back up and start working on step 1.Tweet