I spoke to a banker friend recently. It’s been a while since I quit the corporate world; I now work as a self-employed finance professional. When I asked my banker friend how her working life was, she seemed dissatisfied and discontent. She quickly added, “I have to feed my family and pay the bills!” It almost felt like she was justifying her decision.

How many times have we used reasons like this to justify staying in a job that doesn’t make our hearts sing?

Reasons such as these make absolute sense, but they can constrain us to a draining life. It makes us settle for less than we deserve.

I have been in a similar situation before. I played hide and seek by changing jobs. This tactic may have offered a ray of hope initially, but this didn’t help either-it only put the problem under the rug. I am more empathic to my friend because I know how choices like these can steal the joy out of your life and suck your energy.

So, how can you get out of the cycle and create a career you love?

1. Face fear head-on.

Most of us make choices out of fear. Our Reptilian brain loves to play it safe and hates to threaten the status quo. It gives safety a priority because of our instincts to keep ourselves alive. While those instincts are handy in life-threatening situations, changing our status quo is not that dangerous. Still, our Reptilian brain cannot comprehend it. We only see all the possible downfalls of giving up the job because the security it offers keeps us hostage. Who in their right mind would leave a job that provides a lot of perks?

The truth is that our valid reasons and excuses are just fear-talking. We are afraid to change, ruffle feathers, take a stand for ourselves, put ourselves first and make it about us.

2. Know the bigger picture.

Most of us don’t know what we want out of life or even how to get it. I was unfulfilled in my earlier roles because I did not work on my terms. I always wanted to have flexible working and live the rest of the day doing the other things I love. But I didn’t.

I had my aha moment one day, in boredom and utter frustration. I was scribbling on a scrap piece of paper what I thought my ideal job would look like. It went like this: I was working in a finance-related job, with flexible hours, where I controlled the hours. When I wasn’t working, I could do the things I love like spending more time with my kids, family, and friends, and read, write, eat healthily-all while making a decent amount of money.

Only when I wrote that lofty idea on a scrap piece of paper did my life plan come right in front of me. That’s when everything came together, and I finally realized my bigger life picture.

3. Take strategic action.

Without action, everything is wishful thinking. As soon as I was aware of what I wanted, I shaped my actions to ensure I could get there. Soon I started working three days a week with a broker. It wasn’t as fulfilling as I would have liked to be, but it helped me gain the rest of the other things I wanted.

With the time I had, I started enriching myself with my hobbies. I started reading books on spirituality, psychology and philosophy. Soon I felt inspired to write and I did it on a small scale. I soon figured out that I wanted to work independently and be the captain of my ship.

As I contemplated how to make that desire become a reality, I realized that I had already been in the mortgage industry, through various banks, for over 15 years. It was time to be my boss. I got certified and licensed as a Mortgage Adviser and became a self-employed professional and a partner in my business.

Now, I am doing the job I love, at my hours, earning enough money while having time to do the rest of the things that fulfil me. I’ve also started a blog and write to inspire people to live life on their terms.

Aristotle said, “Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives — choice, not chance, determines your destiny.”

I too learned that the key to having the career of your dreams is to know what you want-then act strategically without letting fear and limiting beliefs stand in your way. If we don’t, we allow others to decide on how we live our lives.

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Lana is the founder of The return of the Lion Queen, where she gives life to her ambition of making people believe in themselves. Besides blogging, she is a mum, a Finance Professional, and a book lover. To know more about Lana, you can visit her on her website or follow her on social media on Facebook or Instagram.

Originally published at https://fairygodboss.com.