Let’s face it: Adulting, especially with a family depending on you and your income, can be hard. Overrated, even.
So you toil away at a job that pays the bills – but costs you exponentially more in satisfaction, fulfillment and joy.
Maybe it’s because your job lacks the flexibility needed to care for a family – sick children, field trips, recitals, basically anything that requires you to be present and available. Maybe the commute proves too costly in time and money. Or maybe it’s costing you your health – physically, emotionally or psychologically.
So you have to determine if your job aligns with your long-term goals and priorities (like family) and if the two are not aligned, it may be time to make some adjustments.
A Call for Change
Often, you don’t realize you’re unhappy with your job until someone points it out to you, maybe recognizing that you spend too much time at work, talking about work or being unhappy about work outside of work. You consult with friends and family, seeking advice but, if you’re really being honest, it’s ultimately to validate your gut feeling. You know the answer – it’s time for a change – but even tougher than recognizing the need for a change is exacting the change itself.
And for far too long, we’ve accepted that there are only two professional options: employment and unemployment. Employment was binary, and there was no in between. But we’ve all been misled, says Shannon Miles, CEO and co-founder of BELAY. There is a better option. It’s The Third Option.
The Third Option: Work Life Balance Simplified
Shannon discovered creative ways of making her schedule and workplace more flexible – and as such, that first step towards The Third Option led her to eventually founding, BELAY, with her husband Bryan. A leading US-based virtual solutions company, BELAY now boasts over 600 team members – all working from home, pursuing their own Third Option. Without an office, BELAY has graced the Inc. 5000 list three times and was awarded the number one spot in Entrepreneur Magazine’s Best Company Culture.
Still unsure about what your next move should – and could – be? Ask yourself these questions.
Are you self-motivated? This can be a tough question to answer as it requires acute self-awareness, but an honest answer proves critical. In order for your Third Option to work, Shannon advises that we “exercise self-agency, recognizing that we are in control of our lives and our destinies. We cannot rely on others’ paths to be our own.”
How do you define success? Listen. This can be a sticking point because for many people, ‘success’ is defined solely by dollars-and-cents. And that’s a-ok. “But when we let go of preconceived notions about what success looks like, we can define success as the pursuit toward or achievement of our ‘why,’” Shannon says.
Can you allow others to care for you? The Third Option requires us to surround ourselves with like-minded people who want to help and have our best interests in mind. “We have to be humble enough to ask for help, even when we are used to being the caregivers,” Shannon explains. “We must feel grateful to be in connection with others who call us out, cheer us on, and genuinely love us.”
Are you ready to practice self-care? As caregivers, we instinctively give, often trying to pour from an empty cup. But it’s important – critical, even – to recognize that self-care is not selfish, Shannon insists. “The healthier we are, the more we can care for others. We can learn to put the oxygen masks on ourselves first.”
Do you work to live or live to work? It’s a slippery slope, and one that we’ve likely all skidded across from time to time. It happens. But at some point, we need to value work without placing our value in our work; we need to not be defined by what we do but rather who we are.
Can you appreciate the journey? “Time is our most precious commodity. Make a plan to pursue your ‘why,’ even if it takes years to get there,” Shannon says. “It’s important to recognize that there is value in the journey.”
In the book, The Third Option, Shannon shares her journey from corporate employee to founder of a successful company, as well as the stories of others who have chosen their Third Option. Allow yourself to dream – living and working on your own terms – with meaningful work and connections with other like-minded people.
There is a better way to work
And for every person who has become disillusioned with working in an office, and to those who have chosen to leave the workforce to take care of their families, but felt something is missing know this: There is a better way. Visit MyThirdOption.com to discover what options await you.