By Juna Guetter
Are you working in a “safe” job and dreaming of an inspirational one?
Life’s too short to be stuck working hard just for the notion of security and paying the bills! If you’re ready for a work life change, read about how I left my safe job for an inspirational one and how you can refresh your work life too. Learn the five stepping stones I used to walk out the door of my “secure” job and into my dream job. Also, please enjoy six juicy tips to refresh your work life in the meantime.
From Social Worker to…?
Many years ago, my safe job was working as a social worker. It was safe because it was something I could rely on to pay the bills and plan for a secure future. Referring to it as safe was ironic because my life was threatened more than once while on the job. Those few terrifying incidents got me to look at who I was and what I was doing this job for anyway.
After a bit of introspection, it didn’t take long to realize I was fulfilling expectations of female family roles that dictated what a good person might do with their life. It took me a while to get the courage to leave and to get over the guilt of “wasting” my university degree. I even tried job sharing to reduce the workload, but needless to say, I was out-growing this job. There was more juicy work for me to do in the world, but I didn’t know what exactly.
While I was waiting out those last couple of years at my safe job, dancing and fitness became my growing passion. I wasn’t thinking initially that dance would be my new career, especially because I was 36 and most dancers I knew were ending their careers by then. Yet, truth be told, if someone asked me what my dream job would be at that time, I would have said, “Dancing every day!” Essentially, I followed that inspiration out the doors of my safe job and onto the dance floor of the Great Unknown.
It wasn’t easy, making that change. My husband was upset with me for leaving a good job because I no longer brought in an income, initially. I certainly had no clue about how I could possibly earn a living from dancing, so I tried not to think about it. The only thing that kept me going was this phrase: “Do what you love and the money will follow.” It was like a guidepost or an arrow pointing me away from safe toward inspirational. I knew it could be possible, and I held on to that mantra like a dog on a bone.
Taking that advice to heart, I believed that if I just started dancing, something would happen. And it did. Dancing in my living room led to dancing in clubs, which led to performing in a modern sacred dance company! Even so, I grew restless with only that to stimulate me, and what I really hungered for was to teach my own kind of dance class. Once I realized that, I found Nia® and started teaching dance/fitness classes. Nia pulled all my “loves” together, including my love of theatre, drama, dance, music, and teaching!
Once I started my inspirational work in the world, nothing could stop me! If something didn’t work, I’d find a way to change it. The next ten years I danced up a storm, and at my peak, taught 275 students weekly. As part of that creative streak, I created and taught the Theatre Arts Dance component of a two-year theater arts degree at a local college. I pinched myself with the dance career I had created in my forties! My dream of working with happy successful people who were pleased to pay me for my expertise was my new reality.
As part of this phase, I also co-created Synergy In Motion, a coaching business that had my partner and me traveling the globe for another ten years. And on and on it goes! Daring to change and having the courage to say “no” to some things and “yes” to others makes way for you to live out your wildest dreams. Is it simple? Yes. Easy? No. Worth it? Totally!
In those times when the fear to make a change seems bigger than the gain awaiting you, I hope my story moves you from safe to inspirational in your work life.
My Five Stepping Stones from Safe to Inspirational
1) I took an honest in-depth look at my current job.
I asked, “Who am I doing this for? Why am I doing it? What else could I choose that would be more aligned with ‘me,’ and would make money too?” In addition, I realized I needed to move my body a lot more—all that sitting couldn’t have been good for me.
2) I got clear about who I wanted to work with. My social work clients were mandated to see me and didn’t always desire to change. In any case, I imagined the possibility of working with happy, successful people who wanted to pay me for my expertise.
3) I trusted myself to explore greater possibilities. I didn’t give up. I kept asking, “What else can I learn, where else can I share the dance?” In fact, that query led me on all kinds of adventures, like teaching dance to 20-year-old acting students, teen figure-skating champions, and many more.
4) I was willing to lose the security of a regular paycheck. Being extremely uncomfortable waiting it out in the unknown was my new MO. In effect, I was willing to fail.
5) I let go of striving for perfection and followed the call of my spirit. Starting a dance career in my late thirties was courageous. Dancing in spandex in front of my peers was daunting. And yet, my inner voice telling me to do this was louder than all my protestations!
Summing up, the truth is that after making that initial choice from safe to inspirational, I didn’t just take steps—I leapt!
I get that not everyone is ready to leap yet, so I’ve left you some things you can do to freshen up your work life right now!
Six Tips to Refresh Your Work Life
- Connect to why you’re doing this job. Even if it’s only about the paycheck, let it fill your heart with gratitude.
- Ask what you can change about your current job to keep it fresh. Maybe change your office decor, change locations or companies, or pitch a new idea to your team?
- Be sure to ask, “What can I do today to put smiles on the faces of everyone I meet?”
- Cultivate interests and friendships outside of work that nurture you.
- Go within and ask, “What else is possible that I haven’t considered? What can I enjoy and accomplish with my unique work in the world?” Then listen.
- Refresh your style. Get a new hairstyle or a new look that reflects the new you you’re becoming, then strut your stuff with confidence!
Juna Guetter is a Michigander at heart, born in Grand Rapids and living there until her early twenties. Raising her family and living and working in Canada for the last 35 years, she’s the proud owner of Synergy In Motion, a coaching business that helps people bring their sparkle back. Right about now, she’s eager to get on the road and travel North America in her 25’ Airstream with her partner, two dogs, and gypsy cat, Nikita. What does she want more than diamonds? For you to know that you are a gift and an untapped resource for the changes you’ve been seeking.
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