I read a lot of blogs and listen to lots of podcasts that focus on how to start your own business, quit your job, and be your own boss. I’ve spent countless hours learning about email marketing, social media marketing, inbound marketing, permission marketing, and content marketing.  I’ve also studied content creation, sales funnels, lead magnets, product launches, membership sites, and the list goes on and on. Every time I think I know what I need, the next cool thing comes along that I just have to learn in order to succeed in online business, ditch my day job, and enjoy the awesomeness of running my own lifestyle business!

Maybe We’re Just Searching for “Hope”

Interestingly, the people who are making the most money online are those teaching others to make money online. I wonder if they’re all just really selling “hope.”  People worry because the economic reality in the US is more bleak than it’s been in 50 years. You can’t count on being able to get a decent job at a good company, work for 30 years and retire comfortably. The idea of running an online business is very enticing when you’re faced with the possibility of multiple jobs and 40+ years of work. In fact, it can entice you to spend hundreds of dollars on memberships, online courses, training programs and mastermind groups. But do you really want to start your own business? Or are you actually just searching for security, stability and a little peace of mind?

As I read and listened and learned about starting and running my own business, I discovered all sorts of tips, tricks and hacks that I could apply to my day job.

Over the last few years, I’ve tried different side hustles, searching for ways of making a little extra money online. I’ve also spent plenty of time planning (and daydreaming) about running my own business and being my own boss. But a very interesting thing happened along the way. As I read and listened and learned about starting and running my own business, I discovered all sorts of tips, tricks and hacks that I could apply to my day job. For example, tactics that create raving fans for your online business work well in a large corporation for internal customer service. And ways of managing your time and energy can work for both entrepreneurs and government desk jockeys.

“9-to-5” Doesn’t Have to Be a Grind

Things I learned about online business and entrepreneurship helped me achieve greater success at my “day job.”  Finally it occurred to me: Instead of trying to escape my day job, why not just focus on making it better? Instead of saying, “screw the 9-to-5,” why not spend my time and energy learning to ROCK the 9-to-5???

So that’s what I did. Instead of spending every spare minute trying to figure out how to escape what had become a daily grind, I started focusing on improving my performance, becoming more efficient, managing my energy, leading and coaching better, and bringing more creativity when solving problems. The results have been nothing short of amazing! I received exemplary performance ratings, promotions, larger bonuses, and awards. I’ve also been given more autonomy, more flexibility in my work schedule, and some of the top performers want to work with me. Stability, security, and a little peace of mind? You betcha! And to top it all off, my stress level has gone down across the board, which has improved every aspect of my life.

Are You Ready to ROCK the 9-to-5?

Yes, there are plenty of people who have created wonderful lives for themselves by succeeding in online business – but that isn’t the only path to happiness. In fact, for every person who succeeded on that path, there are thousands of others who did not. Believe me, I understand the allure of the lifestyle business and I may end up working towards it again someday; but I know for a fact that there’s at least one other path to happiness, and it’s much more attainable for most of us. With a little guidance and a willingness to make some changes, I believe that anyone can learn to ROCK the 9-to-5!

So What?

Choose your path to happiness with a clear understanding of the options. Starting and running your own business is one option. Improving effectiveness and efficiency at your 9-to-5 is another. The second option is more realistic and less risky  for most people.  It also allows the flexibility and peace of mind to consider other paths. I encourage you to concur your uncertainty by learning to ROCK the 9-to-5!

Now What?

Journal Prompts: What stress do I feel at work? What stress do I feel elsewhere? If I become 50% more efficient & productive, what impact would it have on my stress levels?

Next Action: Don’t have a journal? You’ll love this Moleskine Classic notebook!

Further Reading: To get you thinking more, check out this HuffPost article, Successful Workers: 10 Things the Best Employees Do Differently.