Each Friday, a person who is making bold moves, living well, nurturing their creativity, following their passions, and making magic will be featured on Bold Living Today.
Today’s interview is with the fabulous, groundbreaking, and real deal Pam Slim. I was extremely fortunate to be a student of Pam’s during my life coaching certification program. Not only is Pam an entrepreneurial genius, she is an inspirational force and models how to create a professional work life that speaks to your authentic self. I think she’s brilliant!
Enjoy this phenomenal interview.
You talk about the new world of work. What does that mean?
The new world of work is built on three ideas: the first is that the economy and jobs are not ever going to be totally stable again, no matter how much we long for it. Uncertainty, change and market fluctuations are part of our new reality. The second is that due to the Internet, we now have so many new ways to work, which will give us increased flexibility and more opportunities. The third idea about the new world of work is that by force or by choice, people will end up working in a lot more different configurations, like employee, freelancer, business owner, and non-profit professional.
Our opportunity is to develop a new skill set, and approach to our work, that will keep us fully engaged and employed for our whole professional career. We need to develop flexibility, and a cohesive story about how all of our work ties together. And we need a much broader personal network, who will help us to get a job, or get customers. The good news is that all the tools are at our fingertips, we just need to learn how to use them.
I love what you say about having these tools at our fingertips. I think a lot of adult think they should have all the answers because they are adults – but wow, this is a great time – and opportunity – to be a life-long learner.
I was talking to my cousin and she hates her job. She said she’s sticking it out until retirement and that’s in 12 years! What would you say to her about escaping her job and pursing her passion?
I would ask her what in particular she hates about her job. Sometimes we are in work situations where our strengths are not aligned at all with our work responsibilities, or we are on a team that does not bring out our best. In this case, sometimes the very best thing you can do is to switch roles and departments. The other thing I would encourage her to do is to change her attitude about her job. If she is making the choice to stay there for 12 years, nothing will make her more miserable than resisting and resenting her job every day. Having gratitude for her choices just may turn things around in a radical way.
If, and only if, she feels that she truly desires a different work situation based more on her true interests and passions, I would encourage her to test and try tiny things on the side of her day job. Working for yourself is so challenging, and there is nothing magical about it. You have to really see a new job or business as part of your bigger life goal in order to bring it to fruition. If you need the stability of a steady paycheck, a good way to develop a business is to work on it over a long period of time as a side hustle. This will help you determine three things: do you enjoy it enough to do as a full-time endeavor, is there actually a market for what you are doing, and do you have the skills to sell your products or services.
For you as the cousin coach, make sure you stay in your lane and let her figure out what she really needs and wants. I know when I first started working for myself sixteen years ago, I thought everyone should do it, and told them so. I have since learned that what works for me, doesn’t work for everyone. I can only help those that have true commitment and desire for change.
Brilliant! Honestly, it is tough for me to stay in my lane, but I’m just being a good listener for my cousin.
I love reading your blog, especially about how you are getting your warrior-groove back. If someone wants to return to a project or reignite a passion – what are three ways they can move in that direction?
If you have lost your groove, the first thing is to ask yourself “Why is this important?” What great things will happen in the world if you get started on the project again? Passion wanes when we get so caught up with the details of our endeavor that we forget why we are doing it in the first place. Identify the deeper root of meaning and purpose in your project, and you will feel new strength.
The second thing you can do is to make starting again as easy as possible. Define one tiny step that will get you back on track. If you have abandoned your book, make a goal of just opening up the document and typing 100 words. If you have not been exercising, set a goal of walking for 10 minutes. Often, we set goals that are too big, and that becomes a huge roadblock to progress.
The last suggestion I have for getting back on track is to do a little visualization. Fast forward to the end of your life, and imagine that you are looking back at yourself at this moment. What would you say? What would you like to have accomplished? How much credence would you give to your current doubts and fears? We have one spin around this earth, and when we realize that time is fleeting, it can help us focus on doing things that matter, and that will make us proud to leave as a legacy for future generations.
That sounds manageable and I love the visualization exercise.
What new projects do you have on deck?
My biggest project is writing a brand new book about success and happiness in the new world of work. It is due to my publisher at the beginning of February, 2013, so that will take the majority of my creative time. I am also hosting a live small business marketing event in Phoenix, Arizona on October 12-13, called Power Boost Live. It will be my biggest event to date, and I am so excited about assembling a group of truly inspiring and creative entrepreneurs in one place for a dynamic educational event. I have long been an instructional design geek, so I look forward to creating a really engaging experience for participants, which goes far beyond sitting in a chair for 2 days and listening to presenters drone on with PowerPoint slides.
The other new project I have going is a writing retreat in Sedona with my colleague Betsy Rapoport, who was the editor for Martha Beck on two of my favorite books, Expecting Adam and Finding Your Own North Star. Sedona is one of my favorite places on earth, and we are looking forward to leaning on nature to help participants feel and express their true writing voice.
Pamela Slim is an award-winning author, speaker and leader in the new world of work. She spent the first 10 years of her solo practice as a consultant to large corporations such as Hewlett-Packard, Charles Schwab and Cisco Systems, where she worked with thousands of employees, managers and executives. In 2005, she started the Escape from Cubicle Nation blog, which is now one of the top career and business sites on the web. She has coached thousands of budding entrepreneurs, in businesses ranging from martial art studios to software start ups. Pam is frequently quoted as a business expert in press such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Information Week, Money Magazine and Psychology Today. She is a proud suburban mom in Mesa, AZ who enjoys the look on people’s faces when she tells them she is also a brown belt in Mixed Martial Arts (it comes in handy when fighting for the last good bunch of kale at the grocery store).