#CMchange: Tora’s recipe for change

Let’s assume that you are at a point in your life where you need a new direction, a change in career that goes beyond changing jobs

You want change, need change…How do you do it? Where do you start? How do you even dare? Do you just…quit what you’re doing now? I mean, you have some idea of a plan of what to do, but really? What if it doesn’t work? What if…? The questions go on and on, and you are just stuck.

I was in that position last year, and I was looking for all the answers and advice I could get. I would read blog post after blog post and watch countless YouTube videos on the topic…And I did change paths: from a 9 to 5 career in the corporate financial world to creative freelancing in photography. From being an employee to being my own boss, from having a fixed work schedule to working any time and all the time, from getting a secure monthly income to something much more chaotic. It was one of the hardest and best decisions I have ever taken.

So let me tell you my recipe for change and how I survived it.

1. Be passionate

Passion is the first ingredient. You find/ have something you are deeply passionate about, and this is generally what triggers the frustration in your life.  Passion is what gives the flavour. So add as much of it as you can.

2. Be motivated

Motivation is an extremely important ingredient. You need to understand that real change happens when you realize that keeping the status quo is a far more frightening thought than going through the effort of change. Change is not easy. It was not easy for me, it will probably not be easy for you. But once you have the motivation, what you need to do becomes very clear. You can also add in the mix: will-power, perseverance, determination, and a sprinkle of stubbornness.

3. Rationalize: 

Yes, be smart about what you’re doing, plan ahead, save money, research as much as you can about your new path, do it part time for a while. Change is no joke and you need to take it very seriously. For me, change came with a resignation letter, but it really happened over time. I studied photography, freelanced during summer, I saved money and planned ahead. I knew what I was doing, yet somehow I had no idea what I was getting myself into. My lifestyle changed completely and it really took me a while to get used to it.  

4. Hustle

This is what makes this whole recipe really difficult. I mean, if you aim high (and you should!), you will need to push yourself every day. Let’s say you’re switching from a full time job to freelancing. There are many sleepless nights ahead of you, your social life will most probably suffer, you’ll need to juggle several projects, manage tight deadlines, you’ll need to learn new skills and be better than your competition. The way I see things? Don’t go into freelancing because you expect it to be easier than your day job (it won’t), especially don’t expect to work less (you won’t). Take it as a challenge and accept that failure is an option.

5. Learn new skills

I mentioned it above, but getting new skills is an important ingredient.  Whatever change you’re undertaking, chances are you’ll need to learn some new skills. And I’m not really talking about the obvious ones, the skills for your new trade. Let’s use the freelancing example. Well, if you’re an artist, chances are you don’t know much about business, marketing, sales, and everything behind managing a (small) business. Lucky you, we live in this century and all the information you need is out there on the www. But it takes time, and you’ll much rather finish that design for your client than learning how to use FreshBooks. However, learning these skills might make the difference between success and failure.

6. Enjoy the ride

And don’t tell anyone but this last one is my secret ingredient: enjoy the ride!!! Keep your end goal in mind but don’t forget to live in the moment and be happy with whatever you’re doing. This is what made and makes everything worth it for me! Change is a bumpy road, with ups and downs but I enjoy every step of the way and I try to have fun with every challenge that my new life throws at me. This way, I know that whatever happens, I’ll look back with no regrets thinking: “That was one heck of an amazing experience!“

Text and photography: Tora Chirila