I’ve thought long and hard about whether I really want to write this blog, that perhaps I might offend people. But in two weeks and two days my book Kapp to Cape will be out, and in it I disclose my personal journey publicly. So I’ve decided that now is the time to finally write and share this blog.
Since the broadcast of my TV series last year, I have been approached by many people telling me that they are unhappy with their job, that they don’t have career satisfaction. The majority of these people are educated, middle-class, stuck in the 9-5 daily grind, earning a good level of disposable income. I always ask them what they are going to do about it, and I normally get one of two answers. The first group tend to come up with some valid reasons for sticking with their jobs: the mortgage or rent needs paying; they have mouths to feed; they’re established in their career and can’t think of alternative work which would earn them the same; they have great benefits and a pension pot which they are loath to give up. The second group have grand plans and are looking for an escape. These are the ones who tell me, I want to travel the world for a year or I want to take some time to think things through and see what I can do with my life.
If you belong to either of the above groups, I have to say that you are one of the lucky ones, because at least you question things. Most people don’t.
I was the same. Ten years of my life were wasted on travelling to work, sitting behind the office desk, ignoring my passions, being institutionalized and wrapped in the cotton wool of a comfortable life. Along the way, I lost confidence in my own abilities. When I finally decided that enough was enough, I had to go a long way to validate those abilities once more. Perhaps I cycled the length of the planet and set a world record just to make myself believe that I can do anything.
Now that I look back at things, I’ve come to realise that the cliché makes sense. Comfort kills ambition. It killed mine and, if you are curious enough to read this blog, there’s a chance it may have killed yours too.
This is the living model of the 21st century. Comfortable and unhappy. But happiness is your right. You should be happy. You deserve to have a career that you love. Work should be a pleasure.
For many years I lived for my holidays. It was my compromise. I had a job that I didn’t like, but I could afford to travel the world. It was great to be able to do that, but it meant spending 235 days unhappy for only 25 days of happiness each year. Was it really worth it? The honest answer is no. 235 days a year, working on average 9 hours a day for 10 years equates to 21,150 hours of my life spent on something that I didn’t believe in. Isn’t that crazy? Can you imagine how many worthwhile things I could have achieved in those precious hours?
I spent hours and hours in conferences and presentations, client meetings, crunching numbers, rushing to meet crazy deadlines that I never enjoyed. Every single day, I couldn’t wait for my work to finish so I could get out of the office, to go and find someone to drink with, or to go to the gym and sweat it out.
And now look at my life. These days, work is a pleasure. It brings a smile to my face. I don’t even know how many hours I do each day and each week. But I know that I love it, and that I love the people I work with. Life is exciting. I am happy. I may not have the same levels of money I used to have, but I do have a TV series which was broadcast in ten countries, another on the way, and my book Kapp to Cape is about to be released. This all makes me happier than money ever could.
If this is the kind of change you are after in your life, then let me share what I have learned with you. Changing my life took me through some difficult years, and so I hope the advice I can offer now will make things easier for you than they were for me. Over the next two weeks I’ll be sharing my 20 steps on how to change your career, the first ten of which will go live on this blog next Sunday (29th Jan). See you then!
‘Kapp to Cape’ is available for pre-order here and will be released on 9th Feb.
If you’d like to meet me in person, feel free to come along to my book launch – 6.30pm-8.00pm, 15th Feb, Stanford’s Bookshop, Covent Garden, London.