Finding Work That Matters: Tips from escape heroes
Many of us know we want to do something different, but we’re not quite sure where to start. Some fritter between different techniques, unguided and unsure. Others get so overwhelmed by competing philosophies that they feel completely stuck and don’t start at all.
The truth? There is no ‘one way’ to find work that matters. You have to find what works for you. That said, it can be really helpful to see what’s worked for other people to give yourself some inspiration…
We’ve assembled a few helpful tips from top career heroes to get you thinking about your own Escape. You can also meet Al, Andrew, Anna and Pippa and hear them share their stories, lessons and advice in-person at our upcoming Rebellion of Hope event on the evening of 27 January.
Al Humphreys: Serial author and adventurer
- There are no shortcuts – Stop procrastinating from the main goal by trying to do all the smaller bits you’re convincing yourself might help. Stop “Trying to hack the system” and start going after the golden fleece.
- Don’t neglect your finances – It’s all too easy – when jumping into the pursuit of your dream – to want to cut all ties with your previous life. One of those links is going to be financial, though. Al kept an income by doing loads of poorly paid talks at any schools that would have him. These then led to some better-paid, keynote speaker sessions.
- Do a massive adventure – For Al, this meant cycling around the world for four years. But yours needn’t be an adventure at that scale. You shouldn’t wait for the ‘perfect’ time to embark on something you really want to do. Try to see the opportunities everywhere, not the constraints. Look at the possibilities, not the barriers.
Pippa Murray: Founder of Pip & Nut
- Stop dwelling on regrets – “I try not to have regrets as, generally speaking, mistakes are there to be learnt from.” We’ve all been guilty of reflecting on past events or occurrences and getting that ‘Damn, I wish I’d have done X instead’ feeling. After all, as the old saying goes, ‘hindsight is 2020’. But the reality is that – no matter how much regret you have – you can’t change the past. What you can do, though, is let it teach you something about how to act differently in the future.
- Actively seek advice – When starting out on a path, most of us aren’t too arrogant to admit that many people know more than we do – that’s a good start! But it isn’t enough to simply listen to advice if it happens to come your way. As Pippa says “Get in touch with those people who have more experience than you do so that you can learn from them”.
- Feeling daunted? Upskill yourself – During the 2 pre-launch years that she was setting up Pip & Nut, Pippa regularly felt completely out of her depth. Instead of letting this get to her (too much!), she decided to raise her own abilities. “Equip yourself with the skills that make you feel more capable – I did a 10-week accounting course, for example”. Instead of getting flustered, understand that a lot of your nervousness will relate to gaps in your knowledge; do something about this by filling those gaps!
Andrew Medhurst: Extinction Rebellion activist
- Get informed – Do your research. Knowing he was concerned about the environment, Andrew read everything he could on climate change. Find out everything you can about your area of concern. Not only will you be better placed to challenge it, but you’ll also find yourself more passionate to get involved.
- Start living your values – Before he’d quit banking, Andrew already started integrating his values into his daily life. “I was doing my bit in my personal life — flying less; cutting meat from my diet (after watching ‘Cowspiracy’); rejecting consumerism”.
- Write to the future – This might sound like a strange notion at first, but it can be a very useful one. Andrew helped himself understand his thoughts and desires by writing to his hypothetical grandchildren about the Climate Crisis – “the subject which demands my attention”.
Anna Mcnuff: Founder of Adventure Queens
- Recognise artificial boundaries – “Our conscious world is constructed of false bottoms and imaginary ceilings.” It’s not uncommon to come up against a reason as to why you can’t or shouldn’t do something. Don’t accept it straight off the bat and change course. Dig a little deeper and there’ll often be a way around many of these supposed blockers.
- Elation excites, contentment nourishes – You may well fantasise about the sheer buzz you’ll experience when you hit X or Y milestone in your new career. This is exciting, as it can keep you going through tough times. And you’ll inevitably have times when you experience that adrenal rush. However, Anna remembers that she didn’t feel this upon completion of her 6-month running trek. Rather, she was filled with a sense of achievement – “and discovered that contentment is better than any form of ecstasy.”
- Admit when it’s difficult – Making a break and heading out on your own is amazing. But it’s also hard. Damn hard. Sometimes lone wolves can feel like they’ve got to pretend the hard times don’t exist because ‘they chose this’. But as Anna reflects: “it wasn’t until a friend had a go at me and told me to stop bullsh*tting myself, that I decided it was time to hold my hands up – but there’s a big difference between saying: “I’m hurting” and “I want to give up”.
Come and join 400 like-minded souls for an epic evening of inspiration. We’ve asked Al, Pippa, Andrew and Anna to share their stories, lessons and advice with us.
The event is taking place on the evening of Monday 27 January in Central London. Get your ticket now.
Just by coming along, you’ll be a part of building a better future!