My Double Life
I have a confession to make. I'm living a double life. I have a day job that I've had for six years. I truly do enjoy it, and I'm good at it. It's comfortable and flexible and was a wonderful source of support and stability in the years that I had two children, and two almost back-to-back maternity leaves. I've met some incredible people and I've learned a lot.
I started doing sales consulting because of this group of wonderful mama entrepreneurs that I met. They were interesting and passionate and so smart but most of them didn’t know much about sales. I believed in them and I wanted to see them do well and make money doing what they loved. So I did a few sales workshops for the mamas and got hooked. I started consulting on the side of my side job and my day job (and raising two kids and running a household).
I confess it is these two side projects that I love more. And while I'm not keeping any of this a secret, it still feels as if I'm living a lie.
When I'm at my day job I feel 100% focused and energized about what I'm doing there. But then when it calls for it, I have to very suddenly switch gears into another mode, and it’s this switching gears that can be the hardest part. It’s something I’ve been working on and will continue to work on for likely the rest of my days.
I'm not a huge fan of living a double life. And while I'm surrounded by people who support me in all my ventures, I feel at some point something has to give.
Self Employed, Employee, or Both
The key is that you don't always have to decide. I know a lot of successful people that gave up the security of a day job and threw themselves full force into their new life. Other people I know are happily employed by someone else, who pursue their passions on the side. And I know many women who don’t have to work because they are financially fortunate in some way or another, but they still want something for themselves, be it an Etsy shop or a direct sales role. The options are endless.
So while I don't love living a double life, it's definitely possible to do it. It's tempting, being surrounded by all of these incredible female entrepreneurs as I am, to just give up the day job and be 100% self-employed. I'm constantly being inspired and motivated by the women around me. I say to myself “If they can do it so can I".
There are many women in Mamas & Co. that are quite lucratively, 100% self-employed and I look up to them. Other members are earlier on in their entrepreneurial journeys, and are equally satisfied. And others, like myself, are juggling several different enterprises at once.
There's no right or wrong way to approach the topic of career. Each approach will have many different choices along the way, many obstacles to surmount and many times it is called for to change course.
Ask Yourself 3 Questions
Wherever you are in your work life, there are 3 things I think everyone should be asking themselves about the path they have chosen:
1. Does this make me feel fulfilled?
When you are doing your work of choice, does it make you feel alive? Do you have a good time at least 80% of the time? Do you feel like you’re fulfilling your life goal or purpose? Would you still do it even if no one paid you to do it? (Although I don’t recommend that!)
If you can answer yes to some or all of these, then I’d say you’re on the right track (or at least better off than most).
2. Am I contributing?
I don’t think we were all cut out to devote our entire lives to emulating Mother Theresa, but I do think that having a sense of purpose in life stems from serving others in some way. Maybe you create beautiful art that brings a smile to your client’s face and makes them feel good. Maybe you’re a coach or consultant helping people improve their bodies or minds.
Whatever it is you do, if you are suffering from a lack of enthusiasm it may be because you haven’t found a meaningful way to give to others.
3. Is there room to grow?
As Tony Robbins says “If you’re not growing, you’re dying” and I couldn’t agree more. People prosper through progress and if you are 38 and at the top of your game, but can’t see how you can grow in your current vocation or position, then it’s time for a change. You don’t have to know all the details of how you will grow, but make sure that there is opportunity for future challenge down the line.
If you can answer yes to these 3 questions there is a good chance you found the right role (or roles) for you and you’re in exactly the right spot. If not, try different things, see what works. Eventually by pursuing the things you love, you will find the right balance for you.