How to Live Your Legend WITHOUT Quitting Your Day Job (& 1 free book for each of you – seriously)
“Instead of fantasizing about getting the perfect job, get on a mission to create a job you love.”
– Ben Fanning
Today is a very fun day… My friend Ben is giving away a free hardcover copy of his new book The QUIT Alternative to any and every one of you who want one (until he runs out). No joke. Read below for details. This is the only way to get the book before it hits Amazon or anywhere else. So fun!
Let’s dive in…
“Living Your Legend isn’t just about quitting”
In fact, the “Q” word is often thrown around carelessly and dangerously all over the web. But that’s not what it’s about.
I find myself telling this to people all the time. Living your legend does not have to mean quitting it all and becoming some crazy entrepreneur (unless of course that’s your thing).
Living your legend is about being intentional with the way you spend your time and life. It’s about doing work that embodies who you are and makes some type of a difference – both to you and in turn to the world.
That might mean joining a 100,000-person company, launching a business of exactly one employee (you) or anything in between. The LYL community is full of them all.
And even if you want to to quit and start anew, often that’s not the best immediate idea given current obligations or perhaps your lack of clarity of what’s next.
So I’ve always said that before we can find work we love, we have to start by loving the work we already have.
And the potential for this is incredible – to find the work you can’t not do, while staying inside your current company.
But I’m not nearly as qualified to teach you how, especially compared to my friend Ben Fanning, who just published his first book The QUIT Alternative: The Blueprint for Creating a Job You Love WITHOUT Quitting (like I said, he’s offering to ship free copies of to any of you LYLers who want one – read the below post for details).
As you’re about to see, Ben has been a part of the Live Your Legend Revolution since the beginning. He’s supported, explored and spread everything we’ve created. And I’m grateful for it.
And for me, the ultimate feeling of pride and excitement comes from seeing one of you find your “thing” and then going on to absolutely nail it.
That’s exactly what Ben has done over the past few years.
His article on LYL couldn’t come at a better time.
One, because his book just went live, and he’s giving us all a free copy.
But also because next week we are releasing a massive update to the Live Your Legend website that I think is going to help you all in a huge way.
Our online home here has needed a facelift for at least a couple years, and after seeing the new site on our staging servers today, I can proudly say that I think it has been well worth the wait. But you’ll be the judge next week (I might even quietly release it over the weekend, so come back and check the site if you want a sneak peak).
The reason the new site launch is so relevant to Ben’s book launch is that a huge focus of the next phase of LYL is to give massive attention to all you incredible Living Legends who are out there making magic happen. Let Ben’s article below not only be a guide to help us with a critically important topic, but also to kick off a case study and success story of what it means to Live Your Legend.
With that said, I’ll let Ben take it away – starting with a panic attack…
How to Live Your Legend WITHOUT Ever Quitting Your Day Job
By Ben Fanning
I woke up sweating in the middle of the night with the weight of a bowling ball on my chest. I had a premonition of having a heart attack one day because of my daily stress, job and family history, but I never dreamed it would happen in my 30’s!
I was ashamed to tell anyone, so I hurried alone into the ER. After some tests the doctor said, “Ben, you’re having a panic attack.”
This wake-up jolt helped me recognize that I was headed for a meltdown. Something had to change. This terrifying moment became my turning point into an amazing journey toward more job satisfaction, success in my day job, and eventually launching a business to help others do the same…all WITHOUT QUITTING.
From Meltdown to Coach and Author with a Full-Time Job
I’ve been part of the Live Your Legend community since its inception. In fact, I was one of the founding members of How to Connect With Anyone, and even stayed up all night to be one of the first to enroll in Live Off Your Passion. I share the values of Live Your Legend, and now I’m happy to be the founder of Live Your Legend Local in my hometown of Charleston, South Carolina.
I did all of this with the intention of quitting my job. I even still have the email I sent Scott:
“Hey Scott, I’m about to quit my job!”
But the closer I got to my quit date, the more overwhelmed and unsure of it I became.
Right before I was going to quit, an inner voice challenged me: “Why not have it both ways?”
Keep the steady paycheck, insurance, 401k but begin to live my own legend to its potential at my day job.
This mental shift changed my whole trajectory and quickly increased my enjoyment and success. Now I’m the recipient of some of the highest awards in my company.
I’ve just launched my empowering book around this idea — The QUIT Alternative: The Blueprint for Creating the Job You Love WITHOUT QUITTING.
I learned that I could live my legend without quitting my day job, and now I help others as a coach, consultant, and author.
Today, I’ll offer you three tips on how you can…
- Engage with the potential of your current job
- Discover the work that doesn’t feel like work
- Campaign for the work that motivates you
My intention is to make these steps so straightforward that you can improve your day job within 2 hours of completing the article.
If you’re skeptical, I encourage you to open yourself to the possibility that you hold the key to living your legend in your current job.
You can try these tips today. Why wait?
Step 1: Engage with the potential of your current job
Instead of focusing on how limiting your job is or fantasizing about quitting, make a conscious decision to make your current job something worth investing in.
A. Shake yourself out of the debate of “Should I stay or leave?” The narrowness of this perspective is a trap. Staying implies that you’ve accepted the status quo and decided to put up with the same job frustrations. Leaving implies that the next job or business pursuit will turn out better. But a superior solution usually lies between those perspectives, and it turns out that where you are may be the best place for you to make a stand.
Right Now: Ask yourself, “How can I stay?”
B. Treat your job description as “clay on the wheel”. It’s easy to let a job description confine you to work you’re tired of or just don’t like. Instead of your job description being finite, consider it to be the “clay on the wheel” that you will mold in a way that not only meets your company’s needs BUT ALSO satisfies your potential.
If you’re thinking, “That won’t happen inside my company,” allow me to debunk a couple of common myths about job descriptions.
- Myth #1 – “My job is just to do my work and nothing else.” In many companies, this kind of statement will get you a very low annual review rating and maybe even fired or forced into early retirement. In my 16 years of work, I don’t know a single person who actually does only the tasks in their job description.
- “Myth #2 – “Even if I made a proposal to change my job to something I’m really excited about, no one would listen.” If you provide examples of how this change generates a return for your boss, your organization, and you, (in that order) most people will listen. Of course, that doesn’t mean that the proposal immediately goes forward, but if the idea is compelling and helpful, you can usually get an audience.
Right Now: Dream bigger.
Think of your job description as a starting point for your job, not the end point. What does that mean about the possibilities for creating something new for your work day? Write that down now. You’ll use it in a later exercise in this article.
C. Remind yourself “Why”. Work can be an emotional roller coaster. One minute you’re on top of things, making an impact. The next minute your rearranging chairs on the Titanic. It’s easy to lose focus and start fantasizing about quitting. That’s when it’s important to create a simple reminder of why you’re working in the first place. List three reasons “Why” on a Post-it note on your computer monitor. Here are mine:
- Financial security for you and your family
- Your team and coworkers
- The bigger impact you hope to make in the world
Even during the worst fire drills at the office, your reasons why pull you back to focus on the bigger picture and broader possibilities.
Right Now: Take a Post-It Note and write down “Why” you’re working in the first place.
Step 2: Discover the Work that Doesn’t Feel Like Work
Work that plays to your natural strengths, passion and skills doesn’t feel like work. Spending the day on inspiring work is less depleting, and you’ll find yourself more confident and more inclined to be generous with your time.
A. Clarify which tasks deplete you. Everyone finds some aspects of their job to be a grind, but most people don’t take the time to figure out exactly which tasks these are. Become aware of which activities drain and deplete you.
Right Now: List the top three tasks in your job that deplete your motivation.
B. Clarify which tasks motivate you. Sometimes it’s more difficult to recognize which work motivates you because the experiences that play to your strengths and passions may become invisible to you.
Right Now: List the top three work tasks that motivate you.
A client once sent me his three-page resume in advance of our working together. When I asked him about all the achievements he’d listed, he explained that although he was proud of it all, he hadn’t enjoyed most of what he’d done. I asked him to go back through the resume and take out everything he didn’t enjoy and send it back to me.
He whittled the three pages down to one-quarter of a page.
We worked together to build an entirely new resume expanding on that one-quarter page. He ended up with a resume that highlighted the work that motivated him.
He said, “Ben, reading my resume used to depress me. Now I’m motivated when I read it. I keep it by my bed to read when I wake up in the morning to motivate me for my work day.”
Can you imagine reading your resume when you wake up to motivate yourself to go to work?
C. Plant the seed with your boss. Start a conversation by talking about the work that motivates you. Many employees just assume the boss knows what they’re good at and enjoy the most—a risky assumption. Unless you articulate what motivates you, most bosses will assign whatever tasks seem like a good fit or whatever they’d prefer not to do themselves. Give your boss examples of work that you would like more of.
Sometimes it’s helpful to plant the seed with your boss by first introducing this idea in a casual conversation over lunch or coffee. This approach yields initial feedback that will help you plan your strategy for a more formal conversation. Wrap up your casual conversation by noting that you will schedule time for an in-depth discussion later. Although you may be tempted to wait until your annual performance review, I recommend talking with your boss sooner rather than later so that your new goals will reflect any changes.
By mentioning this idea casually at first, you may inspire your boss to think it was her idea to give you more work that you love!
Right Now: List three tasks that you’d like to be assigned more often.
Write them down as concise bullet points to have as a reference for your next conversation with the boss.
Step 3: Campaign for the Work You Love
Reality check… getting more work that motivates you won’t happen by luck. Campaigning for it will help you create the job you love.
The result is a happier workday and continual progress towards a more satisfying career.
Campaigning means owning your power and using it to make this happen. It’s about imposing your will on the job instead of allowing the job to impose its will on you. Campaigning is even a line of defense against an overload of work assignments that may be mandatory but will drain the life out of you.
A. Highlight your motivating achievements and minimize the frustrating ones. Most people highlight all their accomplishments in their annual review, resume, and LinkedIn profile. This is a major mistake. The consequence is that the work that really motivates you never stands out. Make sure that the work you love gets the most real estate.
For example, my client who works in accounting bragged that he was in the top 10% of all viewed LinkedIn profiles. I knew he didn’t like his work and wanted a new job within his company, so I asked him who was viewing his profile. Accounting recruiters! He’d unknowingly been campaigning for more accounting jobs and attracting people who wanted to hire accountants. With a few modifications, we started his campaign for a new and more motivating line of work within his current company.
Right Now: Pull up your most recent resume or LinkedIn profile.
Notice how much space you allocate to work that you love versus work that leads to frustration. Make sure to emphasize the work you love by allocating it the most space and placing at the top of the page.
B. Modify the work you’re required to do to make it motivating. It may not be realistic to eliminate all the work that wears you out, but you can modify it to play to your strengths. The only way I could survive an Excel analysis was to schedule a presentation to share the findings. I could then approach the required work with more enthusiasm.
On the other hand, I’ve had clients who enjoyed preparing presentations but dreaded presenting. They made sure to include lots of film clips and group breakouts. All these actions modify the work you have to do and make it more motivating.
Right Now: Consider how you could slightly modify each task listed in Step 2A to play more to your strengths.
C. Collaborate with coworkers who actually like to do the soul-sucking tasks that you don’t. Thankfully, humans are unique individuals who love different things. Avoid complaining, but stay on the lookout for collaborators with different skills and interests. This step might sound unusual, and that’s because it is. There’s a mentality out there that we should all strive to be good at everything instead of tapping into each other’s strengths.
Here’s a perfect example of this. My client runs a third-party software to coordinate bidding activity. He loves working with vendors but abhors dealing with clunky software. His teammate prefers staying in his office operating software rather than being with vendors. My client helps him deal with the vendors, and he now runs the software on all bidding. By collaborating, both partners are doing less of the work they dislike and more of what they enjoy with an end result that’s better for the boss and organization.
Right Now: List your three closest coworkers.
What are they naturally good at, and what are their biggest challenges? Where could you help them most? Where could they help you?
The Best News of All…
A day job often represents a readily available opportunity to live your legend. Don’t automatically squander this opportunity before seriously considering the possibilities before you.
Start today by making the smallest of changes to build positive momentum. The best news of all is that you don’t have to use all the steps to start seeing a difference. Just picking one can make an enormous impact. So select one and try it today. Share in the comments how one small change is making an impact for you.
Now, it won’t necessarily happen like this for everyone, and it certainly won’t happen overnight, but within six months, concrete results showed up for me:
- I received three awards from Executive Leadership for my leadership and results. Two of those awards came with financial rewards. (Note that in the previous five years with the same organization, I’d received zero recognition.)
- I was featured for the first time in our organization’s newsletter, distributed to 100,000 employees, for results achieved on a major project.
- I received my biggest annual bonus ever and moved into a higher performing category in the organization, positioning me for promotion.
- My relationship and trust with the boss improved. We agreed to a more flexible work schedule and relocation to the city of my dreams.
- My staff meetings became much more fun and productive.
And my home life improved tremendously. I came home with renewed energy and excitement to share my “wins” for the day with my family—a routine we still have today. I began exercising again and living a healthier life.
The momentum carried me into new territory, as I began helping others through coaching, speaking, and blogging—activities that had never crossed my mind before.
Like this picture I took right after a talk I gave last week to a group of over 200 business leaders called Create the Job You Love…Without Quitting.
Over the years I’ve noticed how many people show up to work frustrated, “sleep working” through their days, scared about losing their jobs, and too scared to do anything about it.
I realized that I could help. These people are why I’ve now written my first book, The QUIT Alternative. And that’s also why I’ve decided to mail a free copy to any LYLer who wants one…
– Ben Fanning
Yup, you heard that right, Ben is doing something incredibly generous to give back to our community…
He’s giving away a free hardcover edition of his new book to EVERY LYLer who asks for one (until he runs out). No joke.
Just click here to get the hardcover edition of his new book, The QUIT Alternative – The Blueprint for Creating the Job You Love WITHOUT QUITTING, mailed to you for free… you just cover the shipping. You’ll also get immediate access to his 6 top inspiring podcasts, as well as an exclusive audio guide for the Live Your Legend community that accompanies this article.
At first Ben was just going to give us a link to buy the book on Amazon.
But then, two weeks ago, I got an email saying “Scott, I’ve decided to launch this book a little differently than usual…”
I was blown away.
The book isn’t available anywhere else. Only on this special Live Your Legend page that Ben created.
And a huge thanks to Ben for Being The Change. We’re all grateful.
I’ll see a bunch of you for our new workshop on Making Your First $1,000 this Thursday (still some spots left), and I’ll see all of you next Tuesday for the unveiling of the brand new LiveYourLegend.net!
Damn this stuff is exciting,
P.S. Got a question for Ben? He’s happy to answer any and all the juicy stuff in the comments. Leave your question here.