I recently had a conversation with a woman who is smart, hard-working, and juggling it all. She loves what she does but feels burned out, overwhelmed, and barely treading water on most days.  She told me she dreams of walking away from it all but then what’s next. And she emphasized, “This is not about money, I just want to share my gifts with the world and live life on my terms.”

She’s not alone. According to a new workplace study conducted by Herbalife Nutrition, two in five Americans dream about the day that they can say, “I quit.” But what may surprise you is that not all of them hate their jobs. More than 60% want to leave to fuel their passion, follow their dream, and contribute in a bigger way.

I believe when things go back to “normal” (whatever that looks like) we’ll step back and realize that this global pandemic has given us an incredible gift. The gift of time and space away from the crazy to slow down, give up the frenetic pace, and spend some quality time thinking of what we want our life to look like as we move forward.

I expect we’ll see new businesses springing up with offers we’ve never imagined because people have been given the space to hit the reset button. They’ll reset from defaulting to what they’ve always done, or been expected to do, and instead begin designing a life they truly want – on their terms.

This pandemic will bring more than gloves and masks to the workplace. Covid 19 could be a tipping point for the traditional corporate environment. With home being the new office, it may be just enough to push people into dreaming beyond what they ever imagined for themselves, and committing to building their own dream vs. building someone else’s.

If you’ve been thinking about, or have decided that you’re ready to make the leap then use our 10 steps to help you design your escape plan.

1. Compare your present to your future

In order to define your future, you have to know where you’re starting. One of the easiest ways to do this is to plan a date with yourself and spend a little time envisioning what the perfect workday looks like for you. Then compare that to your actual work day and start making a list.  What’s different? What’s missing? What are the must haves? What are the non-negotiables? These pieces will begin shaping your future vocation.

2. Determine the potential obstacles

Think about the obstacles that could pop up and prevent you from being successful. Anticipating what could derail you will allow you to prepare for the unexpected so you’re ready to respond. Most often the barriers are fear of failing, losing a steady paycheck, losing friends/ support group, and dealing with the emotional aspect of making a change.

3. Dig in and do your research

Begin thinking about what type of work you love doing, the people you love working with, and what makes you light up. Can you turn what you love doing into a business and make money doing it? Who’s already doing it out in the marketplace? How would you do it differently?

4. Create a plan

A plan will turn your dreams into a reality. This is where working with someone (like a coach) can be a lifesaver. They can help take your overarching dream and break it down into bite sized pieces including goals, milestones, timelines, while providing the accountability and support to make sure you get there.

5. Get your finances in order

Money can be a huge source of stress so before you make the leap make sure you have at least 6-12 months of living expenses set aside. Reduce your debt, create a budget and begin to plan out what your business expenses will be in the beginning.

6. Schedule “real talk” with family members

Life will not only change for you it’ll change for your entire family. Sitting down and discussing boundaries, roles, and what life will look like for all of you after you make the leap will be time well spent. Realign and reassign duties so that everyone is on the same page about what work looks like for you now.

7. Start building your new network

Reality check. The people you’ve been working with for the last 15 years will not provide the support you’ll need on this new journey.  These people know the old you, not the new you. They know what you’ve accomplished in the past, but have no idea what you’re capable of creating in the future. They’ve gotten you to where you are now but may not be able to get you to where you ultimately want to go.

Surround yourself with people who are working toward the same goal and can encourage, as well as challenge you as you rise to a new level.

8. Reconnect with yourself

Everything changes with time, even you. Too often we see people confined to a career or job because that’s what they chose 25 years ago. Let it go. You’re not the same person you were at 20. Take time to reconnect with the person you are today and what she wants vs. being shackled to the decisions that a 23-year-old year made.

9. Go on a treasure hunt

This one is so much fun. Our memories tend to be only as long as our last job. Dig in and go back to the beginning looking for treasure and nuggets you may have forgotten about. Take a peek at all of your jobs you’ve had, volunteer assignments you’ve taken on and leadership positions you’ve held. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at all that you’ve learned, accomplished, and overcome to be where you are today.  Now step back, look in the mirror and say, “I can handle anything that’s thrown my way. I’ve got this!”

10. Give yourself a deadline

A goal without a deadline is just a dream. Prepare and put in the work to make it happen and then set a date to make the leap. Will it be scary? Yes! Will it be worth it? Absolutely!

If you’re finding yourself at a career crossroads and you’re ready to make the leap we’d love to help with that transition. Let’s jump on a free call and discuss where you are, where you want to go, and how we can get you to where you want to go.

Smart Girl until next time be present, be strong, be you.

Prefer to listen? We’ve got you, Smart Girl. Click on the Podcast icon and you’re golden!