“A big thank you to Phil Bolton – our very own Escape Coach – for this practical and inspirational article. Phil has been through the very same transition he now helps people with. Which is one of the many reasons why he is the right person for Esc to be working with and we are thrilled to have him on board. Rob”
Introducing Phil Bolton – Escape Coach…
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re seriously thinking about making your Escape and doing something different. Congratulations.
I’m here to tell you that it is possible – and I’m living proof.
I made my own Escape five years ago and now I’m part of the Esc Team providing coaching and support to the next wave of Escapees.
I wanted to share a little bit of my story with you and my five key steps you need to make your own Escape.
Picture this – a grey office complex on a cold, rainy Sunday morning in November.
In 2005, a lone figure is sitting in front of a cardboard box – one of hundreds in the storeroom – rummaging through thousands of expense receipts.
In the background the radio is playing Sheryl Crow. The First Cut is the Deepest.
A single tear rolls down the cheek of the young man.
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably had your moment when the corporate dream came crashing down – this was mine.
I spent a decade working at a Big Four firm as a forensic accountant. I met some inspiring people, learned a huge amount and had some amazing experiences along the way.
In many ways it was the making of me, yet deep down I knew it wasn’t forever. Too many important ingredients were missing – passion, joy, excitement, balance and challenge.
I knew it was time to start my Great Escape. To read more about my Escape, check out my hero profile.
Five years later I’ve trained as a professional coach and built my own practice Less Ordinary Living. I’ve helped hundreds of professionals to find work they love and do something different and more impactful.
I’m proud to be an Escape Coach and partnering with ESC members to make their Great Escapes.
Based on my experience and watching my inspiring clients who’ve found work they live, here are five steps to make your Great Escape:
1. Get your head straight
Making a fresh start, a complete career change or setting up your own business will take courage and a positive attitude.
My family and friends thought I was nuts to give up a “secure” and established career path to train as a coach and I needed to be strong to stick to my guns.
I also know that the biggest barrier for many of my clients is in their own head. The voices of doubt and fear they face can be major challenges to making a significant change.
Getting your head straight means believing in yourself, understanding exactly why you are ready for your Escape and being convinced that it is possible.
With the right attitude, you’ll find that everything starts to become possible.
Your conviction will also be infectious to everyone you meet. You’ll start to generate the right opportunities to Escape.
2. Figure out what makes you tick
The ancient Greeks advised to “Know Thyself”, and never has this held more true.
When I knew I’d had enough of the corporate world, my biggest challenge was that I had no idea what I should be doing.
I was encouraged by my coach to spend time getting clear on what makes me tick. I got clear on my values, strengths, skills, passions and requirements from work.
I developed my story so far and considered what I love to do at work (helping other people make the most of their potential).
Once I knew what made me tick, it became much easier to identify career options that could provide that.
3. Create your vision of success
One of the best things I did back in 2005 was to set a vision for how I wanted my career and life to look in five years time.
Looking into the future is not always easy, however I started to paint a picture of what an ideal life might look like.
I saw a life where I was helping others to live life to the full and where I had a more flexible workplace, and a better balance between work and life.
It was so motivating to visualize that ideal future and to get an understanding of how I might feel if it was a reality.
4. Get support from others
After my moment of truth, I felt pretty daunted. I knew I wanted to escape but I didn’t know where to start.
I talked to friends and family who helped encourage me that making a change was possible.
One of them recommended working with a coach (something I hadn’t heard of).
My coach guided me through my Escape, providing me with support, an objective viewpoint, motivation and importantly a framework for making the change.
I built up a team of a few trusted people to support me in my transition and there were times when they kept me going.
Although it’s tempting to think we have to do everything for ourselves, I now know that getting help was the smartest move I made.
5. Take action
The biggest enemy to your success will probably be procrastination.
Making a big career change can be scary and overwhelming.
When you’re a busy professional that fear can manifest in the “I’m too busy with my important job (that I really dislike) to have time to make my career change (that I really want).”
I know I got stuck in this doom loop at a couple of points – usually when I was most concerned about failing or looking stupid to the world.
The best advice I got is to break down the big change into bite-size chunks.
Making change one small action at a time reduces the daunting nature of an Escape and removes the excuses about being too busy.
Before you know it, momentum starts to build and you’ll be on the verge of your Escape.
What are you waiting for?
If you’re ready to take action and think you might like some support, please visit the Coaching section on the site to find out more about how we can support you.