Do you fantasize about how to quit your dead end job?

Are you sure that there are more fulfilling ways to earn a living? Are you looking to connect your career and your values? There are many reasons that people want to quit a dead end job, from the desire for better pay to a dream of making the world a better place. Most importantly, though, is the opportunity to find a way to pursue your own passion.

Taking the leap from a J.O.B. to doing something you love is nerve-wracking at best. There are bills to pay, and there may be other people counting on you to make an income. It’s something that most people can’t just do on a whim. Instead, it takes some preparation. The good news is that if you lay the groundwork, you really can transition into doing something you love and leave that dead end job behind.

Step One – Find Your Passion

Leaving the perceived security of a current job takes a lot of courage, and the best way to muster this is to know that you are truly moving on to something that will nourish your mind and soul, as well as support you financially. Taking the time to identify what you really want to do is a vital step in setting yourself up for success. When you truly love what you do, it seems less like work; and you will be so much more dedicated to making it happen.

Step Two – Build a Dream

When you’ve identified what it is that you’d truly like to do with your life, it’s time to do some research. Outline the details of what you expect from this different approach to life. If you are starting you own business, for example, it makes sense to do some research into the market to determine where you will fit in. Do some calculations to determine how many customers you need, products you must sell, etc. and then consider how you will find them. It’s not going too far to put together a business plan.

Step Three – Find Support

There are, unfortunately, a lot of “naysayers” who are skeptical of the ability to leave a dead end job and do something they love. They are stuck in a certain mind frame, and nothing short of your eventual success will change their minds. These are not the people you want to share your dream with. Instead, enlist your close family, good friends, and others who believe in it. There are online entrepreneur groups, business/personal coaches, and local networking organizations that will not only cheer you on, but will also give you useful advice on how to move forward.

Step Four – Set Yourself Up for Success

There are numerous ways to do this, one of which is to provide yourself with as much of a financial safety net as possible. In the months leading up to your change in direction, consider cutting as much spending as possible and putting aside a bit of a nest egg. In some cases, you will want to use this time to acquire the things you need to follow your passion (tools of the trade, education, good contacts). By putting as much of that into place as possible before making the leap, you are enabling yourself to hit the ground running when the time comes.

Step Five – Give It Your All

Whether you are setting up shop on your own or transitioning to a job that is more in line with your passion, the best way to ensure your success is to give it your all. Be willing to learn new things, and understand that sometimes those lessons come through making mistakes. When you are doing something you love, your enthusiasm will take you further than you ever would have gotten in your dead end job.

It’s interesting that in a world where we are more “connected” than ever, it seems incredibly hard to create new friendships. After all, everyone is so busy rushing from here to there, checking their email, talking on the phone, etc. that it seems to leave little time for actual interaction. Some people lament this fact, while others see it as a jumping-off point for developing deeper relationships.

What follows are five steps to leverage your own experiences in order to find and create new friendships in today’s modern world.

Step One: Who Do You Know?

Chances are, you are surrounded by interesting people. With some obvious examples aside, you wouldn’t spend time around these people if you didn’t have some sort of common interest. For example, you may have made the acquaintance of other parents at your child’s school, people who work for the same company as you, or those who hang out in the same places you do. Of those people, are there any who seem like good candidates for friendship? Who strikes you as particularly interesting or friendly?

Make a list of people you think you might want to get to know better.

Step Two: Finding New People to Meet

There’s certainly something to be said for creating friendships with those you don’t actually know yet, too. Again, it’s a good idea to focus on meeting people in places where you know you have a common interest: business networking groups, social clubs, and sporting events are just some opportunities to meet others who share your passion for a particular subject. The Internet also provides opportunities to meet people. For example, most cities have a Craigslist, and within that is a “strictly platonic” section. If you’re not comfortable creating your own ad, consider responding to someone else’s.

Add these people to your list.

Step Three: Making the First Move

For some reason making new friendships seems to get harder as we grow up. We don’t have the same energy and self-confidence that we did as children to simply walk up to someone and say “wanna be friends?” Instead, adults are a bit more hesitant and protective of themselves. For those who really want to make new friends, however, it’s time to put some of that aside and be brave.

There are quite a few ways to engage someone, depending on the situation. If you want to get to know a coworker better, it might make sense to ask him or her to share your coffee or lunch break. This gives you a chance to chat, but there is a set time limit to keep things from getting uncomfortable.

Another option is to host a small event, whether it’s a Tupperware party or having a few people over to watch a game. The fact that there are multiple people invited and that there are activities (the demonstration, watching the game, eating, etc.) can keep the pressure low while providing some time to mix, mingle, and get to know each other better.

Look at the lists you’ve made and see who you might be able to invite to join you for something like this.

Step Four: Following Up

As you’ve put together a few low-stress “get to know you” activities, you will have the beginnings of a relationship with others. In addition to having spent some time together, you will also have some shared experiences on which to draw for conversation and building a history of your friendship. (“Remember when the Tupperware lady made brownies in the microwave?” “Remember when so-and-so caught that amazing pass and I spilled my chips cheering?”)

Identify the person or people who you felt a connection with and follow up on it by asking them to do something similar.

Step Five: Contain Your Expectations

The way that friendships evolve is highly dependent upon a person’s culture. For example, US Americans tend to make “friends” very quickly, but truly deep friendships take considerable time and cultivation. In other cultures, it may be difficult to create that initial connection or people may quickly become bosom buddies. Each individual is different, as well, so having a certain set of expectation for how a friendship will develop can be an exercise in frustration.

Instead of trying to control every aspect as you create new friendships, allow yourself to be open to the idea that each will develop in its own way. This allows you to enjoy the process much more after you’ve gone to the effort of setting it in motion.

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