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Busting Out Of The Corporate Slammer (Part 1 Of 3)

Written by: Gill Moakes, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


I do NOT remember saying to my careers advisor ‘I’m hoping to sit in traffic for 50 minutes every morning, struggle to park my car then almost suffocate in an airless office from 9-5 whilst mindlessly tapping on a keyboard and wondering what to have for dinner. At 5 pm I want to sit for another 50 minutes (minimum) before I get home too tired to cook. Hopefully, I'll then binge on processed food, watch Netflix, then go to bed in anticipation of doing the same the next day...’

No, no, NO… I did not say that!

In France, they call the daily grind of commute, job, sleep… ‘métro, boulot, dodo’

We live in a world where it’s considered perfectly normal to spend most of your life doing something you don’t want to be doing. Don’t you think that’s crazy??

Even if we put to one side themétro, boulot, dodo’, there’s precious little pleasure to be found in the hours spent inside a corporate office anymore. Gone are the long, sociable lunches, chatting over the photocopier, and gossiping in the kitchen… the pressure on businesses to hit their financial target in this economy has sucked the fun out of the office.

Post C-Word, and as we experience The Great Resignation, more and more companies are finding themselves backed into a corner where their only options are to merge / downsize / reduce expenses / make redundancies. So employees who previously felt safe in their 9-5 are now living with the threat of losing their jobs, while at the same time, more is expected from them productivity-wise. Businesses are striving to get more work out of fewer people… talk about a lose/lose for employees.

Unhealthy work patterns have become the norm employees are expected to be contactable ALL THE TIME. There’s no escape. Emails demanding immediate responses. Phones screaming to be answered.

Just yesterday a friend was telling me how she’d been criticized for not responding to an email WHILST AWAY ON HOLIDAY.

The pressure’s building… you work harder, faster, logging crazy long hours, eating at your desk, working in the evenings, at weekends, while on holiday… all whilst being terrified of losing the damned job.

Can you see what a crazy conundrum that is??

You’re terrified of losing something that’s practically killing you.

Why do we do it??

Because we feel imprisoned…

The Safety Trap

Our parents urged us to get a steady job with a good pension. They did that because their instinct was to protect us. If you have children, you can probably relate to that. You want so desperately for your child to be happy, but you don’t let them engage in risky activities because you’re scared they’ll get hurt.

It’s right that a parent feels that way. It’s how we nurture our children into adulthood.

Of course, as an adult, you get to decide for yourself how much risk you’re comfortable with… but the problem is that by the time you enter the workplace, your expectations have been expertly sculpted by your upbringing. You’ve absorbed and adopted your parents’ fears as your own. You accept your lot in life. You expect nothing more. You’re happy with your life…

…until one day you’re not.

The Winning Trap

Also, life places huge expectations on us to achieve. Pressure from the education system, the media, our culture, family, peers, and our friends.

The goal of ‘winning’ is ingrained in us as children. In games, sports, studies, we’re rewarded for coming first, for being the best. Our egos are massaged by the praise we receive. It feels good at the time, but the feeling’s actually pretty fleeting. When you live competitively, you place a huge burden on yourself. The minute you feel like you’re falling behind in some area of life you start to feel guilty and under-accomplished.

The irony is we often feel pressured to race toward goals that someone else has set. To win the race that makes someone else’s dream come true. Isn’t it time to set goals that you actually want to achieve, in accordance with your own passions, values, purpose and timeline?

The Money Trap

Then there’s money… when I worked in insurance I remember feeling like I was being held hostage by my salary. I was actually envious of people who earned less than and whose lives were set up to need less money. So quitting their job to explore a new venture would be so much easier for them as they didn’t have to worry about their huge mortgage, Sky subscription, rocketing utility bills, etc.

The pursuit of ‘more’ keeps us trapped particularly if you’re the main wage earner in your home, it’s easy to feel incredibly guilty for expecting your family to embrace living on less money, even if it’s just for just a short while. You see no answer for that problem… another reason you’re trapped. Another reason to plod on for another year in a job you hate.

The Drip, Drip

Back then, I would say to myself every, single day, ‘there must be more than this’. I was unfulfilled and unhappy, but I was too scared to do anything about it (and anyway, I had no idea HOW I could earn a living doing something I enjoyed I’d worked in insurance since I left school).

But the feeling just wouldn’t go away it was an annoying drip that wouldn’t stop.

In 2016, losing my husband, Phill, to cancer changed everything. It shoved me hard onto a journey to freedom. Life’s WAY too short to do anything other than the thing you love. The thing that makes you feel alive and fulfilled. Whatever ignites it, when you begin to crave a life of freedom and meaning, trust me, the feeling’s not going to disappear. Whether you act on it immediately, or whether you try to ignore it for a while… it’s strong… it will become relentless…

And it will scare terrify you.

You want to quit your job and launch your own business. A business that gives you the freedom to work from wherever you like.

You want it SO badly…

You can't bear the thought of things staying as they are...

Yet you do nothing. You change nothing.

Why? Because you don’t have a crystal ball.

The Crystal Ball

Put simply, we resist change because we're scared that we'll regret the change and our life will be worse, not better.

We want a crystal ball so we can be sure we're doing the ‘right’ thing.

We want to gaze into that crystal ball and know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that we'll be ok financially, we’ll be happier and more fulfilled, and everyone will approve of the decision we made.

So, we resist change because we fear 3 things:

  • Failure

  • Disappointment

  • Disapproval

We worry that those emotions will feel worse than our current situation does.

Being scared of failure is very logical. Humans have naturally evolved with a ‘better safe than sorry’ outlook. It served us well when our alternatives were either stay in the cave or get eaten. But we've evolved slightly since those days! We now have inside us a desire to grow, expand our horizons, and experience new things, new ways of living.

Making Tough Choices

Starting a business IS a huge decision, not as complicated as many people make it, but a huge decision nonetheless.

We fear disappointment. We want to project ourselves into the future so we can know for sure which life we prefer... our current 9-5 or running our own business… which is better?

Will the freedom of being our own boss outweigh missing our colleagues?

Will getting to set our own hours outweigh the stress we might feel from all the solo decision-making?

Let’s say you've been harboring a dream of moving to the countryside. You can picture the beautiful stone cottage surrounded by lush green fields. Space to grow vegetables. You could finally get a dog. But hang on... What if there were no good restaurants? What if the local pub sucked? What if you get sick of having to use the car every time you need something from the shop?

You feel paralyzed as you overanalyze every possible outcome of either decision.

As Ruth Chang says in her Ted Talk 'Hard Choices', 'What makes a choice hard is the way the alternatives relate. In any easy choice, one alternative is better than the other. In a hard choice, one alternative is better in some ways, the other alternative is better in other ways, and neither is better than the other overall.'

She suggests that when this is the case both choices should be considered as 'on a par'. No amount of agonizing over the decision will result in an obvious 'best' answer presenting itself because everyone’s rating criteria are different.

Making the choice is hard.

This is where you need to be brave, make the decision, take action and enjoy the ride...

Fear of Disapproval

For many years, my arch enemy was my fear of disapproval. So many of us have grown up living our lives according to other people's expectations. We've delegated decision-making to others. Maybe our parents, our teachers, our friends or our spouses. We were taught that good kids follow the rules. Good kids are helpful to others. They put the needs of others before their own and are not demanding.

Maybe, like me, you developed an over-critical inner voice that keeps you in check and makes sure you're being 'good'.

So now you want to make a significant change in your life, you're terrified that others won't approve. On some level, you feel you're being disobedient or 'naughty' by pursuing your own dreams.

You might role-play in your head what others might say:

'You're being irresponsible'

'You'll regret it'

'Don't expect me to pick up the pieces when it all goes wrong’

Sound familiar?

Well, guess what. You're a grown-up now. Those peoples' opinions can only matter as much as YOU allow them to. It's lovely when everyone you share your hopes and dreams with is incredibly supportive, thinks you're absolutely doing the right thing, and hands you a good luck card... It's lovely... But not a necessity.

Once you stop pouring energy into seeking the approval of others you can use that freed-up energy to change your life.

Imagine that!

In Part 2 I’ll be diving into plotting your escape…

If you can’t wait, and you certainly can’t stop the drip and want to explore how YOU could create and grow a business doing what you love, then reach out to me for a free breakthrough session. I’ll share with you the exact steps I took to go from commercial insurance underwriter to 6 figure coaching business owner within 10 months. Apply here!

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


Gill Moakes, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Gill is a UK-based business coach and growth consultant who works with freedom seekers and entrepreneurs on-the-grow, to create and sell high ticket offers. She helps ambitious coaches, consultants and creatives discover and design a new reality and life & business lived on their own terms. Delivering the map, the motivation, and the mindset to dream and achieve bigger than you ever thought possible, Gill believes that when you’re brave enough to do things your way and you’re outstanding at what you do, you deserve a life of infinite possibilities.



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