7 Reasons Why You’re Still in That Boring Job

by Amy on February 24, 2016

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Five years ago when I was pregnant with my third kid I decided to become a Virtual Assistant (VA). Which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense because I was supposed to be growing my coaching practice.

My logic went something like…

“Well since I won’t technically have as much time growing my coaching practice while I’m pregnant, I’ll have an easier time making money and getting clients as a virtual assistant.”

Here’s what really happened:

I did have a pretty easy time getting clients. In fact, I got to work for one of my favorite coaches in the industry (and take her classes for free!).

BUT I found myself so busy with this one client that, even though others wanted to hire me, I couldn’t take them on. And even though I was busy with this one client, I wasn’t making much money as a VA because I had no idea how to run a profitable VA business (because I was a coach NOT a VA). PLUS I didn’t love the work.

So instead of building my coaching practice, which was what I really wanted to do, I put all my time and energy working as a VA, NOT making great money, NOT doing what I do best.

What I’m realizing is this:  I’m not the only one who does this.

I’m remembering a client who desperately wanted to grow her coaching practice helping women lose weight without dieting, BUT spent most of her time and energy working as a tutor making a pittance and feeling like a fraud.

I have a friend who toils away at a job she hates. She’s done it for years. She’s a single mom so she has no choice she tells me. Yet I know she’s smart enough to build a business doing something she loves to do.

Another coach I know is putting tons of time and energy teaching yoga classes when what she really wants to do is grow her coaching biz.

Another coach I know is teaching college classes — grading papers, doing office hours, prepping lessons, etc. instead of doing what she does best as a book coach.

I think I know why we do this to ourselves…

7 Reasons Why I Think You’re Settling for the Boring Gig (instead of the work that gets you high):

1. You choose the “sure thing” – You already know you have the job. And… you DON’T have to do anything uncomfortable to get it (even though you fail to recognize that doing “boring” work is, in fact, uncomfortable because it’s… BORING!)

2. You choose the steady paycheck – Enrolling just one client into a coaching program might mean thousands of dollars in revenue but some coaches choose the “sure thing” even if it means getting paid next to nothing doing something boring. I put quotes around “sure thing” because nothing is ever really a “sure thing.” Good to remember that too.

3. You choose to look good – You stick with work that you know you can do well all the while knowing that going for what you really want means you’ll most likely have to look hopelessly incompetent (at least for awhile until you figure things out). In short you don’t want to look like an asshat so you do the boring thing because you’re sure you won’t. Ego anyone?

4. You choose to believe you have control – sticking with the “sure thing” albeit boring option means you can continue to believe — for a little longer anyway — that you have control over your life. Going for what you really want means you’ll have to venture out into the land where nothing feels comfortable or predictable. And that means coming face to face with the reality that nothing – NOTHING – is ever in your control. A scary thought for us control freaks.

5. You choose to stay in your zone of excellence instead of moving toward your zone of brilliance. Reminds me of something I wrote in my journal other day:

I used to listen to audios of my mentors with a combination of fascination and greed. Fascination because I could hear the genius in what they were able to do and greed because I desperately wanted to be able to do it too. Years later I might be considered one of them. I now mentor the ones who listen to me with that same combination of fascination and greed. Some of them will become like me. Others won’t. But now things are different. MY fascination and greed are gone. Then today it happened. I stumbled across the same old feeling. At first I was intimidated. “I could never do that,” I thought. But then I remembered a time when I experienced the same fascination, the same greed for that level of mastery. And I knew: this is not out of reach, this is an invitation.

The thing is you don’t often know you’re moving towards your zone of brilliance when you go for what you really want. The truth is you often have to start out feeling really awkward and crappy at the thing you eventually realize is your destiny. Which is why you stick with your zone of excellence instead.

You can’t keep believing the myth that brilliance is easy to recognize. You have to find it by feel. It has to be unearthed like a buried treasure that you almost don’t recognize because the chest is covered in mud and rubble and barnacles and seaweed.

6. You choose to believe you have no choice — I get it. You have responsibilities. I respect that. Sometimes we have to do what we have to do. You are the one who has to be honest with yourself: Are you really out of options? When does this line of thinking become a cop out?

7. And last but not least: You choose not to believe it’s possible – You choose to hang out in mediocrity or even your zone of excellence because you just don’t believe that your big dream could really ever actually come true. Where you decide to play is where you will stay. The environment you chose for yourself is what you believe is really possible for yourself. So take a good hard look around.

Notice that all 7 reasons above are CHOICES. Tough love time: Doing nothing about your boring job is also a choice.

And now here’s my confession:

I’ve noticed that I’ve been busy chasing the lowest hanging fruit in my business for awhile, getting caught up in the numbers and the goals. It’s a great way to stay focused on what is “predictable.”

Conveniently, I don’t have to do the scary thing that I really want to do which is write. I want to write a memoir about motherhood. But writing a memoir about motherhood totally brings up my shit:

  1. I don’t feel competent as a writer, especially a memoir writer.
  2. It’s definitely NOT a sure thing, nor is it a steady paycheck.
  3. I may for certain look like an asshat.
  4. I definitely can’t control the outcome.
  5. Plus I’m pretty excellent at what I’m doing now.

AND, if we’re being honest, a part of me doesn’t actually believe it’s possible.

There.

I’m officially out of the closet.

Time to make some choices.

How about you? What is it that you really want to do with your one wild and precious life? And are you actually doing it? Post a comment below!

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Virginia Reeves February 25, 2016 at 5:30 pm

Where you decide to play is where you will stay. Amy – this is a good summation of all your points.
Don’t write your book – speak it. That’s more where your comfort level is. Have somebody interview you if that is easier. Make a list of questions, main points, etc. Get a book on writing memoirs or a life story – they have lots of tips.
Root canal – it sounds worse than it is. Last year I just kept myself calm beforehand and reminded my brain and emotions that it was going to be much better fixed than having the pain. While in the chair I sang to myself, envisioned nice places I’ve seen, and breathed as deeply as I could. When it was done I realized the worst of it was the noise of the drill.

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Amy February 9, 2018 at 8:28 pm

I love this blog post!! This is exactly where I am at in my life today. I am working at a job I have come to dread going to every day. Because I know that’s it’s a steady paycheck. But I am so burned out on it. I love the part of my job where I am helping other people, but it is definitely not my passion! I am so glad I found your blog.. I have been reading a few posts and you have already inspired me!! Bookmarked your site so that I can come back after work and binge on your posts!!

Thank you for inspiring me! I really needed to read this today!!

~Amy

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Amy February 10, 2018 at 4:56 am

Well you just made my day. Thanks for reading!

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