Few of us actually plan on moonlighting, but the reality is, a lot of people end up working two or more jobs, putting in countless hours in multiple settings, and for a lot of different reasons, like: to earn extra money for a large expense like a down payment on a house, a child’s education, or a dream vacation; to support building a new business from the ground up; or to pursue lifelong dreams while making a living doing something less attractive.
Although the practice suffered a bad rap in the past, today moonlighting is one of the most popular strategies to get ahead in life. But working by the light of the moon is not for sissies! It takes commitment, patience, and persistence, so if you find yourself burning the candle at both ends to hasten your goals and dreams, or you’re considering, here’s some advice to make it easier:
Focus on the present.
Our present circumstances are often the catalyst pushing us toward wanting more from our lives. We want things to be different, but when we look around and see that life is not yet “completely” what we want, that gap can make us feel depressed. Thoughts of giving up and throwing in the towel can creep in if we let them. As slow as the engine of change might crawl, things can shift in an instant if we stay focused enough to see it through. What we want can only come to us in the present – so we have to learn to be here now, until we need to be somewhere else.
Keep an eye on the big picture.
Moonlighting often involves making important life decisions. Life may not look anything like what we want it to right now, but if we keep a clear vision of the future in the forefront of our minds, all of our decisions will move us bit by bit in that direction. It might seem like a contradiction to say, "focus on the present and keep an eye on the future," but together these two conscious actions keep us on track. When we drive, we focus on the road ahead of us, but if we’re smart, we also consult a map to guide us to where we’re going. Your vision is your “big picture” road map.
Value your integrity.
When we have responsibility in multiple settings, it’s easy to stop caring enough that we begin to make mistakes or cause damage on the job. Losing our integrity at work causes anxiety and lowers our self esteem. Maintaining our integrity begins with honoring and appreciating the place we’re leaving for all it’s been for us until now. My regular 9-to-5 job helped me get out of debt, learn better organizational and time-management skills, and realize my own worth and potential. It’s not what I want to do forever, but it’s been a huge stepping stone, one I don’t want to slip from.
Maintain your health.
One of the first things we ignore when we get busy is our health, but our bodies and minds don’t function well under physical stress. It’s important we eat well, get adequate sleep, and exercise a little every day. I use my 15 minute breaks to go out for a run or do a short online yoga workout. Physical activity allows my mind to wander, generate new ideas and daydream about the future. I choose to eat the same foods daily because it saves time, but they’re all healthy choices. Good health and plenty of sleep, provide us stamina to keep working toward our goals long after everyone else would have given up.
Give yourself a break.
I used to run from one job to another with barely time to breathe. The transition became something I dreaded. If possible, take a little time between jobs to do something unrelated to work, maybe meditation or a walk outside to give the spirit a chance to reconnect with purpose and the reason why we’re pushing ourselves so hard. Take regular breaks and plan some fun in your life as well.
Living by the light of the moon and its creative energy can be as exhilarating as it is scary, a heart flipping roller coaster ride for those with a penchant for big risk, yet even bigger rewards.
The worst days are when you’d rather be anywhere but where you are.
When I make great strides toward building my business—working on a website, handing out flyers, meeting new people and making connections, I feel great about my life and where it’s headed. But then on Monday morning I’m not always ready to change gears back to my regular 9-to-5 job. Some days sitting at the computer feels like torture and the only thing I can do is take a deep breath and remind myself, it won’t be like this forever, and another deep breath and then another...
The best days are when you realize you’re right in the middle of the perfect transition into a new way of life. Transitions challenge us because we’re transforming, changing, learning and growing at such a rapid pace it takes our breath away.
Transitions aren’t doorways; they’re more like long, winding tunnels. But remember, no matter how small, there’s always a light there at the end. On a clear night, it’s unmistakable—big, round, and full of promise.
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