On a recent call-in show, I shared with the listeners four strategies they could begin using immediately to start doing what they love.
One of the principles I shared is that it is never too early or too late to begin living our dreams. We can all begin the process right now wherever we find ourselves.
For some of us, this may require moving in a new direction, starting a new job, or perhaps beginning a new relationship.
For others, a radical life change isn't necessary. You can begin living with zest and passion right now, right where you are. I call it, “growing where you are planted.” Let me tell you the story of a recent client of mine.
He’s a corporate manager and by all measures, very successful. But he confided that he was bored; he wanted something more in his life. He had caught the entrepreneurial bug — he wanted to start his own consulting business. But he wasn’t ready to leave his current job because of the financial security it provided him and his family.
I suggested one option was to become an internal consultant, positioning himself as an authority in his area of expertise. We talked through how to do this, and he went back to his employer and shared his desire and plan. His boss caught the vision.
My client is now the go-to person in his company in his area of expertise. As a result, internal customers seek him out for advice, and he feels more enthusiastic about his work. And most importantly, he's now doing what he loves.
This is a perfect example of “growing where you are planted.” By becoming an “intrapreneur” (in this case, as an internal consultant), my client achieved both of his goals. He continued to benefit from the financial security of his current job while also pursuing his passion for consulting.
After I shared this story, a caller to the program asked what specific steps I suggested to my client. Like my client, the caller also wanted to become an intrapreneur so he could pursue his entrepreneurial passion while staying employed. I suspect many of you want something similar.
Here’s how to do it.
I should mention, these steps work equally well for budding entrepreneurs. If you're considering setting out on your own, the only thing that changes are the people you talk with and the ecosystem you'll be entering.
1. Identify a need
First, identify a need in your company, business unit, or office, that is not being met (identify the level of your organization that makes sense). This is the so called, "pain-point." Then, estimate the bottom-line impact that the unmet need is costing your company or unit. Whatever metric you choose, it must resonate with leaders in your company. Otherwise, your proposal won’t make it very far.
2. Create plan
Second, develop a detailed plan of how you will address the need, and how it will either reduce costs or boost revenue for your organization. A coach can help you devise the plan if you find you need some accountability and guidance to get it done.
3. Make the pitch
Third, pitch your plan to your boss (be careful here if you don’t trust your boss) or other key stakeholder(s) in your company or unit. Make it professional and focus on the positive financial impact of your proposal. Whomever you connect with, remember that if you are going to be successful, you need an internal sponsor, or at least an influential ally.
4. Follow through
Fourth, if your proposal is accepted, make it happen. Failure to execute is the #1 thing that derails success. Don’t get stuck in the planning stage. Work tirelessly to make your dream a reality. Be sure to under-promise and over-deliver. If you are weak in some area, again, hire a coach to help. And throughout, set realistic benchmarks and keep detailed metrics documenting your progress.
Keep in mind that some companies are more open to innovative ideas than others. So the process I describe may look different in different companies. But, if you can identify a need, put a dollar amount on it not being met, come up with an actionable plan, and then make it happen, you can become the internal expert that your company needs. And in the process, you will live out your passion and experience zest in your life and work.
By identifying a need, creating a plan, making a pitch, and following through, you can begin doing what you love. If you need help taking the next steps, I invite you to contact me. Let me know what you need and together we'll get you moving in the right direction.
Until then, remember that it is never too early or too late to begin living the life that you desire.
A previous version of the post appeared on barriedavenport.com