As a chronic illness warrior, you instinctively know that stress is not good for you. Depending on your illness, you may experience worsening of symptoms when you’re under stress. For me, in stressful situations, I often feel a wave of exhaustion, pain, weakness, and anxiety. Since stress drastically increased my symptoms, I had to eliminate all unnecessary stressors in my life, which included quitting my challenging but lucrative 10 to 6 marketing job. This wasn’t an easy decision, as my family had grown dependent on the income. But every day I would force myself to work and every night I would crash. So, I made a decision to put my health first. I devised and implemented a six-month exit strategy.
If you currently work a job you hate or experience an increase in symptoms due to your current work situation, it may be time for you to follow my lead. After all, life with a chronic illness is hard enough to work a job that robs you of your happiness. If you agree with me – and I hope you do – now is the time to act! Now is the time to implement my clear-cut six-month exit strategy. Are you ready? Let’s do it now!
Step 1 – Identify Your Goals (Month 1)
First and foremost, identify your goals. You can’t very well chase your dreams if you aren’t sure what those dreams are. For most people, it is easier to figure out what they don’t want instead of what they do. Therefore, take a moment to think about the last time you were truly happy. Think back to when you were younger or when you really excelled at something. Better yet, ask yourself: When was the last time you were truly excited? What career or opportunity would make you eager to get out of bed each morning? Do you enjoy working for yourself or someone else?
You may discover that the thing that excites you is the very thing you’ve been avoiding out of pure fear! Take it from me – never let fear stand in the way of achieving your goals. Once you have that one thing in mind, it’s time to move on to the next step.
Step 2 – Test the Market (Months 2-3)
For a lot of people, quitting their job and pursuing their goals will mean starting their own business or entrepreneurial enterprise. This venture may sound very scary, but you don’t have to quit your job until you’re 100% confident that your entrepreneurial venture will be successful.
For instance, if you want to give up your job to start selling homemade jewelry made out of seashells, then why not start selling some jewelry on the side as your side hustle? You can sell them on eBay or Amazon. Start small and see how much you can earn from your side business. Once you have a viable income source, you can focus on working out the kinks in your business model. In less than six months, you may find that you’re earning a good subsidiary income that will replace your full-time pay. Then you might want to start talking to your boss about leaving.
Step 3 – Set Aside Fears (Month 4-5)
Fear setting is a concept that was outlined by Tim Ferriss in the book The Four Hour Workweek. Essentially, it’s just a way of using the ideas of CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy).
During fear setting, you sit down and write on a piece of paper all of the things that you’re afraid of that are holding you back. For instance, if you want to leave your job but are afraid of the loss of income, even though you have enough set aside to live off of for one full-year, you need to dig deeper. Why aren’t you quitting your job? Are you avoiding it simply because you like the security? Is it because you enjoy your coworkers? Whatever it is, figure it out and write it down. Are you afraid of how your friends and family members might react? Are you afraid they might think you’re irresponsible? Whatever your fears are, write them down.
Write your answers down and include your fears. Rate each fear for how likely it is that it might happen. Write down your contingency plan for each fear and how you might avoid it.
What you’ll mostly likely find in 99% of cases is that your ‘fears’ are largely unfounded. So no excuses – it’s time to live your dreams!
Step 4- Go for it (Month 6)
Once you have completed all of the above, it is now time to implement your action plan. Determine a budget and begin planning for your job termination. Then, draft a two-week notice to your boss, set aside a specific time and date when you’re going to send it, and mark that date on your calendar. If you think you’ll chicken out, you may even choose to send a scheduled email, so that it will automatically send your message on the chosen date. Be careful with this method, however, if you’re not committed to the plan.
In conclusion, quitting your job to pursue your goals can be scary. However, if you implement and follow an action plan, you’ll likely experience greater success than you ever deemed possible. Now, go out there and make it happen!