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How to Leave the Corporate World and Live Successfully

Kathleen Byars | October 8, 2016

99% of the fears most people have about leaving the corporate world to create a more fulfilling life are flawed.

And if you follow that same thinking you’re likely to jump from the corporate frying pan into the entrepreneurial fire. Or worse, you’ll stay chained to the corporate desk until retirement. I’ve lost count of how many people who have told me “I’m going to leave the corporate world, but I can’t just yet…” And it’s (usually) because they’re clinging to a false sense of security.

Preparing to leave the perceived stability of a corporate career for a life built on your own terms isn’t about the trade off between financial security and happiness. Because you don’t have to sacrifice financial means at all. You can have your cake and eat it, too!

I didn’t understand this when I left my skyrocketing executive career at the age of thirty-four to go live on an island. And I spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost income and many years figuring it out.

Here’s the bottom line: forget about starting over and working for peanuts while you build your own business. That’s flawed thinking. While building a successful business may be fulfilling, if you start from scratch you lifestyle would take a bit hit. That sucks. You’ve come too far in life to scrap your success and start anew. And forget about taking a sabbatical with the understanding that someday you’ll have to return to the grind. Why? Life should never be a grind.

The good news is that living life on your own terms, contrary to popular belief, does not have to wait until the kids are grown.

Instead, you’ve got to THINK DIFFERENTLY about what is possible. No, I don’t mean that you just need to do some meditation and visioning (although that helps). You need to RECOGNIZE that you have the ability to leap without starting over. You need to have CLARITY about what exactly you are capable of creating for yourself and your family. The reality is that it is MUCH GREATER than you think. And you need to set yourself up for success NOW so when you pull the ripcord you’ve got a solid game plan already in motion.

  1. Understand why you are leaving. Do you want to be creative and build your own company? Or will that simply trade one stressful environment for another? Maybe you’ll find more fulfillment in becoming a sought-after public speaker or an exclusive, high-paid consultant.
  2. Clarify what else in your life may be missing. Are you tired of only seeing your family at night and on the weekends? I bet you have skills and talents that can be marketed at scale to free you up for more family time, while simultaneously providing a comfortable income.
  3. Clearly define your passion. Even if you’ll be your own boss, you don’t want just another job. In order to create a sustainable financial situation that supports a fulfilling life, you’ve got to make sure that you are totally passionate about what you’ll be doing and also ensure that your passion aligns with the rest of your life goals.
  4. Lay the groundwork now. Rather than jumping off the cliff in a few years time, share your passion with the world now. Become known for it. Write about it. Share articles about it. Become “that guy/girl” who is the definitive expert on “X” and you’ll have a tribe of raving fans waiting for you when you take the leap.

Do this and you won’t think twice about creating change in your life. You will have such clarity and confidence that you will wonder why you didn’t redefine your life sooner.

But if you cling to the notion that the corporate life is a safety net you’ll never get there. That two-year time horizon you’ve slated as your “future departure date” will morph into four-years. Then six, then eight. Before you know it you are facing retirement and still not sure what life is all about. Maybe you’ll play golf. Or travel. Visit the grand-kids. All very enjoyable indeed. Yet, what you’ll never experience is creating a life on your own terms.

Think about that. An exciting, limitless life where you and your family can revel in the world you create. Where you can live the life of your dreams now before old age, poor health, and time catch up with you.

It’s entirely possible. I did it. You can, too.

One of the most poignant emails I’ve ever received was from a businessman who wrote, “Kate, I don’t want to die in a cubicle!”

I totally get that. And you don’t have to.


If you want to make the transition from working behind a desk to redefining your life call me and we’ll sort out the steps you need to do just that.Click here to schedule a free callCheers!

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