Perhaps the most common problem that draws people to financial coaching is the challenge of finding the right livelihood. Although it is one of the Buddha’s prescribed requirements for a happy life, the endeavor to find right livelihood is a process that baffles many in our culture.
How can a sincere, willing (perhaps frazzled or doubtful) seeker create, and open to, an income-generating situation that provides security, freedom and satisfaction?
I want to be clear here that right livelihood can mean widely different things for different people. Some clients have a clear dream for the type of work they feel born to do — like designing clothing, opening a retreat center, coaching, healing, or creating art, and they need to figure out viable ways to make a consistent income doing what they love. Others are less attached to the type of work they do, but feel very clear about other factors, like the need to work from home in order to be more available to raise a family, or the need to double their current income in order to save for an upcoming retirement or to pay for legal or medical bills.
Whether you are recently graduated, attached to a high-paying (but high-stress or low satisfaction) job, recently unemployed, re-entering the income-generating role after a hiatus to raise children, dreaming but not acting, or completely stuck, you have the ability to open to new possibilities for prosperity — and to find your right livelihood.
In my 7 years of experience as a financial coach, I have found the following steps to be very powerful vehicles to transition clients from jobs that aren’t working, into finding their unique right livelihood:
1. Commit to a transition.
When you become clear that whatever you are currently doing is not satisfying, not in alignment with your goals, or doesn’t meet your financial needs, and you are ready to open to something different, there will be a transition on your horizon. This can feel scary and exciting at the same time. In order to move from where you currently are, into where you want to go, you will need to let go of what is familiar, known and routine, and open to what is as of yet unknown. You may not know the timing, how it is going to happen or the specific outcome, but when you take a risk and commit to changing your current situation, you will be opening to possibilities that had no room to come into your life before you made the commitment to transition.
2. Set a clear intention.
Even if you don’t know exactly what your goals are yet, you can still set an intention that will initiate your new journey and start the process of change. Your intention may be a simple as “I now commit to make a transition into greater flow of financial resources so I can experience freedom and feel supported” or “Thank you (Universe) for giving me everything I need to make a successful transition into right livelihood”.
Always include your intention plus the reason you want the intention to manifest. This will strengthen the power of your ability to attract and create what you desire. Also, don’t focus too much on the “how” or the specific outcome. When we get too hung up on the specifics, we may get stuck trying to control our lives and miss doors that are opening. Read your intentions when you first wake up and right before you go to bed each night.
3. Set yourself up to be supported during the transition.
Moving from the familiar to the unknown is always a leap, but you can take steps to ensure that the leap is more easeful, more secure, and more successful. I’ve seen people quit their job and start their dream business all at once, only to return to their job a year later because they didn’t have a clear plan for their transition. Don’t let this happen to you! Set up a clear financial plan for yourself. Make sure to set aside resources, or have a plan to make money part time while you build your business. Make the transition gradual, and make sure to get the quality support you need, either from a coach, teacher or mentor, to form a solid platform for your business.
4. Figure out what challenges you can solve.
Don’t know what skills or talents you have, that people would pay you to share with them? Look first at your own challenges and remember how you solved them. Maybe you didn’t have the resources to hire someone to help you design a website, so you figured out how to do it yourself. Or perhaps you had high cholesterol, and learned to apply diet and exercise methods that successfully lowered your cholesterol. If you needed to solve these problems for yourself, I guarantee that there are other people who are struggling as well — and would pay you lots of money to help them find solutions!
5. Be willing to walk through the doors that open.
Remember that the doors that open may not be exactly where your vision or inspiration lay. I had a client once who was dead set on earning his living as an actor. He went to audition after audition, landing a few gigs here and there, but was suffering over his lack of a consistent income. Meanwhile, he was a genius with computers. His friends always asked him to fix whatever technology meltdowns they were having, and he could help them almost effortlessly.
He spent a few months refusing to charge people for his services while he tried to force his acting career to take off. Finally one day, an acquaintance in a huge jam begged him to step on as a last minute tech support for a project, and offered him $2,000 for 2 days of work! A door that had been quietly opening, yet was ignored again and again, finally swung open and hit him in the face! My client decided to start a freelance IT support business and audition on the side. His IT business was full in less than 3 months and he accepted a non-paying, but wildly satisfying role at a community theater in his free time. He was able to arrange his freelance schedule to include the time to do what he loves, and earn a consistent, abundant income working for himself.
Be willing to open to what is showing up for you, even if it’s not what you think it “should” be, and you will be on the road to prosperity and your unique right livelihood.