Personally, I am always amazed at how much I have changed over the years. I’ve shared how I feel rich now and how just 10 years ago I was lost in life. A rather rapid turnaround you might ask, so what happened in between you ask? Let me share.
So, 5 years ago, my life improvement plan was well underway. I had invested a lot in personal development and self-reflection. And it was paying off – my career was on the upturn and I felt happier with life. I had just gone freelance and landed a contract that would make me six figures a year for the first time.
Let me introduce 32-year-old me
I had moved to London, the big smoke almost 2 years ago. And I had fallen in love with London – everything (ok, most things) about London gelled with me. The culture, theatres and museums really gripped my creative and artistic side. I never knew I needed this cultural void filled, but when it was there, I grabbed the opportunity with both arms. And it made me a better person, and so much happier.
I moved to London accidentally. Nonetheless, it was an amazing decision that to this day I am thankful I made. It helped open up the career opportunities for me. Then the 32 years old me finally struck it big – and landed an elusive six-figure income.
Awesome – so how did I get there from the 27-year old me?
Understanding the Game
In order to succeed, I strongly believe you need to understand the game. And at 27 I was starting to piece together the game of work
In my line of work, there were several paths to success. Getting promoted in permanent jobs which required amazing relationships with your boss and their boss, then being an outstanding employee amongst your peers. The permanent promoted path does bring much more power and stepped salary increases. However, the downside is the workload and pressure can increase exponentially, much more than the compensation.
Or in my industry going freelance is an option. This involved being able to work with a wide range of people and execute at speed, in addition to having flexible top-notch technical skills. This path brings little power but significant riches. Moreover, the downside is not additional hours but the potential to be out of work and the potential for dull work.
Hatching The Plan
Then once you understand the lay of the land, you need a plan. I had worked out there were two options for me to proceed, and I decided I wanted to pursue the freelance option. But ever the realist, I knew I was not ready for this yet. There was no way that 27-year old me had the skills or aptitude yet to go freelance.
Therefore, I began planning on how to get me there. I identified what skills I needed to work on and what experience I needed. And the first thing I needed was a new job with opportunities for more challenging work with varying stakeholders. I knew that I needed another role that would help me move towards my goal, as a sort of stepping stone.
On the personal side, I had realised life was not making me happy. So I started trying to understand what made me happy. And personal happiness is a much harder nut to crack than career growth – it’s just so much more complex. But I understood I needed to undertake a trial and error approach and embrace life.
Executing the Plan
Once I had the plan, it was execution time. I needed to ruthlessly pursue a new role. And work on me to get me into the right place to be successful at landing the next role. Moreover, I need to be strong and not take any job. I needed to only take the right role, that would offer me the opportunities I desperately craved to get to my final goal.
And finally, at the age of 30, I caught a break and got offered the right job. This job would be a great stepping stone to my ultimate freelance dreams and give me the experience I wanted.
Personally, I knew that I need to spend more time doing things I loved. At this time these included getting out in nature, walking and exploring the UK. And I also began to read more widely and really experience the cultural offerings in London.
Staying the Course
I have to say, this is the boring bit. Really. It’s also where the going gets really tough. Rough patches and challenges come out of nowhere. As cliched as it is, you can tell who will succeed by who makes it through the rough patches. Expect the going to get rough and have a plan to deal with it.
I know I had many tough patches. It took a few years to work out what I wanted to do, and then another year to get to the first stepping stone. I had to persevere and keep to the plan, with the end goal always in mind.
And even the stepping stone job was not perfect. There were lots of late nights and 60 hour weeks that made me question if I had made the right choice? But I had the end goal in sight and needed to just keep on going. The end goal was in sight.
And finally, 5 years ago at 32, I managed to get there. The freelance job was mine. After I spent the first 5 years of the plan in the grind, I start to see the benefits.
I still remember that excitement when I realised that I would be earning six figures. It did not seem real to me hence I was afraid it might not last. I certainly had a bit of imposter syndrome then, there is no denying it.
Why am writing this?
I’m sure no-one really cares about 32-year-old me. I know I don’t. But she has an important story to tell us all. If you want to change your life you can – but it might be a long process. Don’t expect immediate results, but the rewards will come to those who stick the course.
This is a call to action. Be bold. You can change.
If I can do it – why can’t you?
Over to you
- What are your thoughts?
- Where were you 5 years ago?
- Are you also amazed at how much you change over the years?