Hustling in the ‘Gig’ Economy

We are now part of the ‘hustling class,’ always looking for work, evaluating and updating our skills and value, and staying aware of potential future opportunities. – Diane Mulcahy, author, The Gig Economy

Today more than a third of Americans are working in the ‘Gig’ Economy – mixing together short-term jobs, contract work and freelance assignments.  Recent surveys shows nearly 70 million America workers, 43% of the total US labor force, work independently to some degree. Nearly 50 million do it by choice.

No surprise here, workers freed from the constraints of office life report higher levels of satisfaction and greater productivity.  For the brave souls who chose this lifestyle, life has never been better as it offers more freedom, flexibility and work-life balance. For others, the work is risky as they struggle to cobble together sufficient ‘gigs’ to survive and seek self-funded insurance and retirement options.

Succeeding in it starts with a mindset of owning your own career trajectory.  Next is leveraging your skills, knowledge and network to create a portfolio of gigs. Workers who possess strong technical, management, leadership, or creative abilities are best positioned to create a working life that incorporates flexibility, autonomy, and meaning.

Up for it?  Start with building a portfolio of gigs – It’s easier if you have a full-time job or a significant contract assignment to anchor your portfolio.  Not every gig has to pay, they can be volunteer positions that allow you to explore an interest, learn a skill, or pursue a passion.  Here are four types of gigs:

  1. Gigs to get your foot in the door – Not sure how to break into a new field? Find a part-time gig that offers the opportunity to begin the process of meeting and collaborating with people in a new industry or sector.
  2. Gigs to experiment – Use gigs to test opportunities, either continue to invest more time if it’s successful or move on to something else if it’s not.
  3. Gigs to learn by doing – Learn on the job, at your own pace, in lower-risk situations to gain practice and be comfortable enough to smoothly transition to that role.
  4. Gigs to do what you really want to do – Pursue what you’ve always wanted to do to avoid the deferred life plan. The deferred life plan refers to focusing on things we ‘should’ do, while deferring the things we really want to do until…someday (which may never arrive).  There’s a significant chance that we’ll get so caught up in the trappings of the life (the title, the compensation, the position) that we’ll later find it difficult to step away to purse the dream.

The ‘Gig’ Economy is here folks, growing quickly and showing no signs of reversing.  It will continue to grow according to employer surveys as talent scarcity, readily available part times, automations and robotics, and global workforce alternatives become even more prevalent.  Independent work and services will be in higher demand from both individuals and employers.

Good news, the new American dream is evolving in a way that allows people to access the lifestyle they want focusing more on a quality of life consisting of time and experiences rather than a quantity of stuff.  If you have an entrepreneurial mindset, start hustling now, build your portfolio and pursue the career and lifestyle of your dreams.  Speaking from experience, it’s so worth it!

This was adapted from “The Gig Economy:  The Complete Guide to Getting Better Work, Taking More Time Off, and Financing the Life You Want: 2016 Diane Mulcahy

Beth Bryce is a Career Strategist, Transformation Catalyst, and Founder of Daring Circle Ranch leading others through their own Life Revolution.   She enjoys taking risks, getting lost in the woods, pizza, and her Jack Russell Terrier – not necessarily in that order.

Drop the Ball

Juggling ball

Beware of the barrenness of a busy life. – Socrates

Many times people are stuck in their mediocre lives and careers because they won’t slow down long enough to figure out what truly matters.  Other times they use their busyness as a form of numbing and avoidance to take action.  Insert a vicious circle here.  Like many overachievers stuck in a rut, are you juggling a gazillion balls in the air?  A better question is, are you addicted to busy?  When asked, “How are you?” might your responses include; busy, swamped, or explicative buried?

In a 2013 Harvard Medical School Study, 96% of leaders report they are burned out to some degree, 1/3 rank it as extreme.  Let’s agree to stop being addicted to busy.  I’ll pass along some great advice from my Mother, who was tired of my self-imposed insanity.  She said, “You make your own schedule.”  Well, how’s that for brutal honesty?

Recovery begins with fully acknowledging that you are in charge of your time.  I get it.  There’s work, parenting, caregiving, volunteering, school, chores, and sleep.  Sleep you ask, what’s that?  I’ve discovered the key is not how you manage your time, but how you manage your energy and if you give yourself permission to drop a few balls.

Paula Davis Laack, an international stress and resilience expert, offers an extensive Blueprint for Burnout Prevention on her website outlining six powerful strategies and techniques to effectively self-coach your way back to sanity.  Download Paula’s helpful tips and workbook.

  1. Manage your energy, not your time: Create recovery rituals, 5-10 minute breaks every 90-120 minutes. Know your six sources of thriving; positivity, engagement, relationships, meaning, achievement and health
  2. Clear the mental clutter: Identify the mindsets that undercut your happiness; people pleasing, judgment, lack of self-care
  3. Let go of perfection: Build shame resilience, stop being a maximizer and settle for ‘good enough’
  4. Stay plugged in: Change your job without leaving your job; optimize the job you have, develop quality connections, reorder your day
  5. Develop authenticity: Ignore the critics and identify the happiness myths you buy into that begin with, “I’ll be happy when…”
  6. Believe that you can produce results: Develop self-efficacy by keeping a list of your ‘wins’ and by all means, cultivate hope!

I encourage you to carve out time to design the life and career you imagine.  You have permission to nap often and drop a ball or two! Your sanity will thank you for it and so will your Mom.

Beth Bryce is a Career Strategist, Transformation Catalyst, and Founder of Daring Circle Ranch leading others through their own Life Revolution.   She enjoys taking risks, getting lost in the woods, pizza, and her Jack Russell Terrier – not necessarily in that order.

Ever Wonder?

curious dog

The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the quality of the questions you ask yourself. Questions have tremendous power. If you want better answers for your life, ask better questions. – Kobi Yamada, author, Ever Wonder

It was December 2004 in Chicago; I was shopping with my mother and best friend in tow when suddenly she surprised me with a gift. Giggling, she handed me a book that she purchased behind my back while I was looking at woolen mittens. I remember the mittens because I was freezing – think Chicago. Winter.

At the time, not only was I cold but I was also struggling to define who I was longing to be. The book, Ever Wonder, helped me beyond measure and taught me a powerful lesson, which is this;

When in discovery mode, learn to ask great questions. Well-crafted questions can stimulate, draw out and guide discussion. Every question you ask should help you either gather facts or an opinion. This from me who is unofficially, “The Queen of Asking Tough Questions.”

Choice Questions include;

  1. Are you the type of person with whom you would like to spend the rest of your life?
  2. Are you living a life of action or reaction?
  3. Do you have enough risks in your life to stay alive?
  4. Is it true that you have to see it to believe it, or rather, do you have to believe it before you can see it?
  5. Have you begun today what you wish to be tomorrow?

Hear me, these are the type of questions to ask yourself, rather than senseless questions like, “Am I good enough?” Yawn. Let’s commit to stop asking senseless questions in 2017, deal?

Ever Wonder, by Kobi Yamada, is a unique book of questions that raises our awareness of our own self-talk and points us toward life-enriching changes.  My dear reader, are you wondering? Please don’t ever stop. Your life will thank you immensely for it.

Stay warm and curious my friend.

Beth Bryce is a Career Strategist, Transformation Catalyst, and Founder of Daring Circle Ranch leading others through their own Life Revolution.   She enjoys taking risks, getting lost in the woods, pizza, and her Jack Russell Terrier – not necessarily in that order.

Get Out of Your Own Way

Clock
It was 2 o’clock in the morning and minutes away from a book submission deadline when I had a meltdown. The kind of meltdown with wringing hands, tears, and ranting.   Shortly before hitting the “send” button on an email to my editor and realizing a lifelong dream of being a published author, I was overwhelmed with fear and unworthiness.  Classic self-sabotage; I listened to the negative voices in my head.  They whispered terrible things like, “You write like crap.  Why would anyone want to read your story?  You don’t belong here!”

Yes, me.

Have you ever had a dream, after months of hard work, success was knocking on your door only to have you not answer? Contrary to popular belief, accomplishments aren’t realized because of luck, who you know, or your checkbook.  Accomplishments are realized because of a deep, unwavering belief in self and commitment to your dreams.  Sure you could be in the right place at the right time, have support, and talent.  However, if you don’t have self-confidence and take action your dreams are going nowhere.

At 2:35 am, a mentor’s words reminded me to not give up before the miracle happens. I dried my eyes and worked through my fears.    I sat still and focused on my dream.  I realized that I wouldn’t have the opportunity in front of me if I didn’t deserve it.  I countered those negative voices with power words; Worthy. Trust. Believe.  I gulped and hit the “send” button.  Two weeks later my editor responded confirming what I already knew.  She said it was beautiful writing and would resonate with thousands of people and make a difference in their lives.

I’m not sure what big goal you are waiting to hatch? When it does arrive however, recognize any negative voices and turn them off.  Stay your course because you are worth the fight.  Don’t you dare let anyone stop you from your dreams.  Most importantly, get out of your own way my friend.  If need be, call in the Special Forces.  You have my number right?

The moment you’re ready to quit is usually the moment right before the miracle happens.” – Anonymous

 Beth Bryce is a Career Strategist, Transformation Catalyst, and Founder of Daring Circle Ranch leading others through their own Life Revolution.   She enjoys taking risks, getting lost in the woods, pizza, and her Jack Russell Terrier – not necessarily in that order.

Seeking Career Clarity?

crossroads

Countless people in their 30s, 40s and beyond have told me, “I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up?” Nervous laughter usually follows – on their end. Even so, it’s a very serious question not to be taken lightly. Most find it difficult to answer my question, “So, what do you want to do?” I’ve discovered it’s easier for folks to answer what they don’t want to do.

Through trial and error, people become crystal clear on what they don’t like; toxic work environments, unfair pay, bad bosses, and boring job duties. In fact, all day long we can yammer about what makes us miserable – to anyone that will listen! So again, what do you want to do? Insert the sound of crickets here.

This two column exercise can help you gain clarity on your next career move:

  1. Column One: Start with a list of what youdon’t want in your career makeup, including length of commute, type of manager and co-workers, industries you have no business being in, lots of evening/weekend hours, no health care, travel. Enjoy your cubicle? You get the picture.
  2. Move on to what kind of work makes you cringe. Working on spreadsheets for hours works for some, but not me. Do you dislike sales? Public speaking? Managing people?
  3. Column Two: Reflect on the exact opposite outlined in column one. Write it down, line by line. Not happy with $60K a year? Column two will be +$65K. The more details, the closer you’ll get.

Perhaps you had a dream, started down a path only to realize later that it’s not what you imagined. Definitely, no one wants to start all over again at square one. Years have passed, families started, homes purchased, and responsibilities have grown. It’s not only difficult to figure out what you love, it’s even harder to pursue. Getting clear on what you don’t want may lead you to your passion. Take it from me, it’s worth the pursuit. The best part is you don’t have to start at square one. You just have to start.

 Not all who wander are lost. – J.R.R. Tolkien

 Beth Bryce is a Career Strategist, Transformation Catalyst, and Founder of Daring Circle Ranch leading others through their own Life Revolution.   She enjoys taking risks, getting lost in the woods, pizza, and her Jack Russell Terrier – not necessarily in that order.

Is it Time to Leap?

Leap

Does this sound like your current job?  You aren’t exactly happy, but you aren’t unhappy enough to do anything about it?  Studies show that approximately 70% of people agree.  Standing in between misery and bliss is officially called “being in a rut”.   While it may be comfortable, it’s also painful.  Sadly, most people are okay knowing tomorrow is going to be just another “meh” day because at least they know what to expect.   Do you really want a lifetime of utter boredom?

You might be stuck in a rut without even realizing it. Here are five powerful questions to help you understand whether it’s time for you to make a leap.

  1. Does this job allow me to work with “my tribe” – people I respect who share my values and agree on what matters or do I have to put on a mask to get through the day?
  2. Does this job provide opportunities for growth that stretch and challenge me or am I just aimlessly circling around on auto-pilot on an empty tank of gas?
  3. Does this job, because of my responsibilities, set me up to launch into future positions that advance my career?
  4. Does this job compensate me fairly based upon my education, talents, and skills, and the value I bring to the organization?
  5. Does this job – the daily tasks that I actually do, fill my heart and feed my soul in meaningful ways?

While the answers to these questions have a different level of importance for each of us, the answer to No. 5 is a must. Your work must matter to you on a deep level that gives purpose to your life.  If you aren’t feeling the love, you must be relentless.  Investigate careers, ask yourself hard questions, and take risks.  If you aren’t stretching, you aren’t growing.  If you aren’t growing, then ultimately you are dying inside.  I vote for stretching and growing.  How about you?

Life leaps like a geyser for those who drill through the rock of inertia. ~ Alexis Carrel

 Beth Bryce is a Career Strategist, Transformation Catalyst, and Founder of Daring Circle Ranch leading others through their own Life Revolution.   She enjoys taking risks, getting lost in the woods, pizza, and her Jack Russell Terrier – not necessarily in that order.

Being Fearless

Tightrope

Fear.

It’s an inevitable topic of discussion that comes up during coaching.  Sometimes, right out of the gate with hands being thrown up in the air exclaiming, “I can’t get past my fears!”   Other times, it’s more subtle captured in the eyes with a downward glance or in the voice, shaking but unspoken.

It’s best to just rip off the bandage and bleed out the wound (pardon the graphic visual).  Frankly, fear needs to stop being your story.  The real story is where you are trying to go, not what you are trying to leave behind.

Successful people understand that you will never eliminate fear.  Rather, the key is to acknowledge fear and move forward regardless.  Personally, I’ve learned to reframe my fears.  Rather than replaying, “I’m afraid” over and over and over again in my head, I stop and think, “I’m curious”.  I’m curious how it will turn out, what success will look like, if I’ll like it, and where it will lead?  Curiosity has never paralyzed me.  Ever.

The cave you fear to enter, holds the treasures that you seek. – Joseph Campbell

Beth Bryce is a Career Strategist, Transformation Catalyst, and Founder of Daring Circle Ranch leading others through their own Life Revolution.  She enjoys taking risks, getting lost in the woods, pizza, and her Jack Russell Terrier – not necessarily in that order.

 

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