Conceiving Project X

[This post originally appeared on the Covert Leadership blog. It has been edited slightly for BlogHer. Read the original here.] 

At some point or another in your career, you may feel that your current job has no future, but that the prospects for finding anything better are slim to none. This can be frustrating and depressing. It happened to me.

There were a lot of factors that led to my unease and discomfort with my position at the time. I won’t go into them here. Instead, I’ll share what I did to re-energize and self-motivate.

It may seem a little crazy, but I started a new business. I’ll call it Project X.

I created a simple business plan, a budget, a brochure, business cards and a Web site, even got  a state tax ID number. I talked to potential clients and took vacation time from my “real” job to attend two conferences in the field. I took it really seriously!

Ultimately, Project X didn’t fully materialize. I continued working at my “real” job, unable or unwilling to take the risky leap of quitting to focus completely on the new venture.

However, it was completely worthwhile. What I gained from Project X:

  • Self-knowledge - the exercise of creating a business allowed me to fantasize about what I wanted to do and temper it with what I could do.
  • Experience – I learned what it would take to start a business and pitch myself to folks I didn’t know. In creating my pitch, I identified my strengths and practiced talking about them.
  • Energy and motivation – Conceiving and realizing Project X was exciting. The creative energy I got from it made me happier and found its way into my “real” job as well!

… and while Project X didn’t succeed, Projects Y and Z did!

Starting a business isn’t right for everyone. But conceiving a Project X (perhaps developing a seminar series, or writing a book) can have powerful, positive and lasting effects at your current position and beyond.

Do you have a Project X? Please share!


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