WHAT IS YOUR MEASURE OF SUCCESS?
A client told me this week, rather matter of factly that “the more I get paid, the more happiness my employer is entitled to take from me”.
This got me thinking, do you also actually feel like this after accepting a big promotion or step up? Do you believe the more you're paid, the more stress and unhappiness you'll be exposed to?
GROWTH IN YOUR CAREER ≠ GROWTH IN YOUR STRESS
I've shared my personal career journey where I took a significant pay cut to switch careers from accountant to recruiter (well before I became a side hustler). This wasn’t something that was easy. It actually meant I had to sacrifice on quite a bit financially but you know what?... I was HAPPY.
What sacrifices I hear you ask?
Well, not only did my financial situation shift a lot, I had to sacrifice my time. Time to study a Masters in HR so I could skill up as a recruiter. This meant I couldn’t hang with my family and friends as much.
Yet I was so energised and determined to get my career on a path I believed in. I had to keep reminding myself that these sacrifices were only short term. Best of all, I loved Mondays again because I was pumped for a new week in a career where deep down I knew I belong.
The beauty of all this was that I began to feel successful again. I was in control and following my #ownyourhustle mantra.
The people around me began to see how happy I was. The enthusiasm for my new role began to open up doors for me and within 6 months I was receiving recognition from my managers and peers. After 12 months or so, I was receiving company awards and was offered and encouraged to apply for more senior roles.
My happiness led me to success and as a secondary result, more money!
The more money you make in the corporate world (often) means a higher expectation of your employer to perform at a higher standard. There's absolutely nothing wrong with this notion.
What I am encouraging you to think about is, how much of this extra responsibility is energising you? The pressure you're facing should also be getting you excited to face the challenges rather than feel miserable, stressed and at a loss.
Success feeds off happiness.
We’ve been conditioned to think that the more money you earn, the more successful you must be. I once believed this but now I use a different measure – my level of happiness.
I used to measure my success by the number of promotions and pay rises I got. Now it is based on performing meaningful and fulfilling work.
Too many people are staying in jobs that they don’t like for the money and are miserable doing it.
I want to emphasise that working in a job that you love will instantly reduce the bad stress you place on yourself.
ENTER THE SIDE HUSTLE
Fast forward a few years and as much as I loved recruiting, interviewing new people for roles, meeting managers and discussing their business challenges, I was getting a calling… the calling to start my own business and be an entrepreneur.
Unfortunately, there was not much opportunity to be an entrepreneur working as a recruiter for a large corporate. An inner feeling of restlessness and frustration started to creep in.
So I started my side hustle.
And all that stress melted away. The expectation of my employer ticking all of my boxes dissipated. My side hustle enabled me to be entrepreneurial.
I get that not everything that interests you can be turned into a career at a drop of a hat. It involves work, your commitment and your energy to name a few.
I’m talking about striking a balance. So I encourage you to start your dream side hustle.
And before you give me a reason that you can’t, here is my retort to your reasons:
Money always seems to be the big fat blocker. Us humans aren’t wired to enjoy going backwards. Moving forward is an integral part of what makes us function and this applies to money, finances and our livelihood.
But let’s flip that mindset.
Let’s aim for your happiness to be the metric of your success. If your happiness, your job satisfaction, the feeling of being fulfilled in your career goes upwards then your success will follow.
Your side hustle will bring you so much happiness!
I fully understand that as you get older you are more likely to be tied into larger financial commitments such as a mortgage, carer costs and school fees, and this makes a career change seem all the riskier. So there may be the sacrifice of some of your favourite indulgences in the short term and take the time to budget, but maybe not.
That’s why I love the side hustle.
You can start your side business whilst working your 9 to 5 and receiving a salary, eliminating the need to take a financial dip.
Risk. There are 2 main risks that my clients seem to have regarding their side hustle. The first is the financial risk. Sure, there are some costs to start a side hustle but they are not prohibitive.
You may want to set up a website, design a logo, subscribe to some software to manage an email list, but they are not necessary. I’ve seen people run their side hustle through their Instagram account. There are affordable outsourcing options such as Fiverr and Upwork to help you with marketing, logos, admin, etc.
The second risk seems to be the one that concerns my clients the most. Reputational risk. The risk of your side hustle failing and people laughing behind your back. Here’s the thing, we place far too much weight on the opinions of others. This is a mindset challenge that I coach my tribe through. The ones that are judging you are holding you back. You need to let go of their hold on you.
Age. You’re never too old to have a career change, start a side hustle and start something you love doing. Colonel Sanders opened his first KFC in his 60’s. Before that he worked in insurance, with steam engines and as a service station attendant.
If you have the fire in your belly then age doesn’t matter. Start that little online shop you’ve been meaning to do or start giving trumpet lessons. Age is not a barrier.
Fear of change is a legitimate thing. The uncertainty, unknown and what-ifs can get to the best of us. I get it – a side hustle can be scary.
Determine what the basis of your fear is.
Fear, pride, family opinion… name it, face it and talk to people about it. Once you discover what the source of your fear is, you can take action to alleviate it.
Whatever your fear is, you will be amazed by the support you will get when you do decide to change.
Friends, family, whoever it may be, will want you to succeed and will help if you ask. However, you'll find that some people (often those closest) won’t be supportive and won’t understand. Don’t worry about what they think, it’s not for them to understand. Only worry about what you think, it’s your life, your decision and if you really want it to work then you will put the effort in to make it work.
Ask yourself this - what is the worst thing that can happen? If you give this question some sensible thought, you will probably realise that the worst isn’t as bad as you think.
You can even use fear as the motivation you need to succeed.
When I started my side hustle I never thought my life would look like it does today.
From starting a careers blog and now a coaching business is the evolution of my journey and who knows what I’ll be doing in the future.
What’s my measure of success? Well, it's happiness of course!
I encourage you to do a bit of soul-searching on what you really want out of life, plan and execute. Don’t forget to speak with your support network ie the ones that get you – perhaps we need a chat?
If money truly makes you happy, then bravo to you. But if you’re making more money and you’re not getting any happier, then something needs to be done. Otherwise, you could completely stress out, burn out and hurt your mental health. Life is short, do something you love!
So, what’s your measure of success at the moment? Money or Happiness?