TL;DR - If you’re a father looking to work for yourself, discovering your inherent giftings & strengths and aligning as much as you can to them will increase your likelihood of success & overall level of fulfillment.
Recently I made a single post in various Dad Facebook groups I’m a part of and the feedback from it was incredible.
This post asked if they were or what was holding fathers back from working for themselves.
The disparity between those who had made the leap of faith and those who were held up by something was quite profound.
One of the most common obstacles fathers who hadn’t made the leap faced aside from money & family circumstances was the uncertainty of what to pursue.
To me, this uncertainty is actually a better problem to have than money & family circumstances.
Because of this prevailing roadblock, I’d like to use this post to explain how I went about it to hopefully encourage & help a father make that leap; beyond that, that the things I’ve learned can help save them from making the same roundabout way in their own journey.
My belief is that a father lives an example of how life is done, the pursuit of their dreams being one of those important roles; it’s not enough to tell our children their dreams are important, we must demonstrate.
My journey into working for myself very much aligns with this belief.
From trying to pursue a trade, non-profit work, and various other gigs, I ended up at a leap off point to go into working for myself.
Before jumping into it, I knew there were certain giftings that God (if you’re not a believer, it still applies) had given me but instead of discovering more fully, I took what I knew and ran with it.
Knowing I was technologically gifted and could navigate the digital world, I ventured into the digital marketing arena.
Looking back, I would say this venture was only utilizing 20% of my potential; suffice to say, I wasn’t fulfilled doing it.
Through various successes and failures, I ended up transitioning to software as a service as it was a growing trend (still is) thinking I’d make it big.
I really enjoyed the work and felt that I was coming to life like I hadn’t ever before; I’d say it was probably 70-80% of my potential.
Yet still, something felt lacking and fulfillment was definitely not something I’d say I was experiencing.
Oddly enough, my ideal audience and clients were professionals in the coaching space thus through marketing to them, had a ton of profound conversations that led me back to something I discovered 6 years ago.
In 2015, a mentor of mine brought me through Clifton Strengths (an assessment for gauging strengths; also pictured), and through the discovery, we learned I would make a great coach or counselor.
With this knowledge in hand & coincidentally circling back to that discovery inadvertently, everything in my life changed and suddenly it all made sense to me.
Even looking back at my life, there are areas that I can distinctly see as being in alignment with coaching.
You see, I also had an incredibly strong desire to serve people and was always very intentional living this way.
In discovering the IKIGAI (pictured), my singular answer to all 4 of the questions of what I’m good at, what I love, what the world needs, and what I can be paid for was coaching.
That leap-off point was almost 10 months ago now and I can report back that the results are astronomical in terms of personal growth, level of fulfillment, presence with myself and others, and the passion & drive to see this through until I die; this feeling I want for so many other fathers out there.
And what I help with now is exactly what I detailed above and stems from my own life experiences growing up desiring a present father & appreciation from my mother.
So if you’ve read this far and are contemplating undergoing a journey into working for yourself, my encouragement is to start from the inside out. Discover your giftings, strengths and find maximal alignment to them rather than pursuing endless shiny objects that ultimately won’t fulfill you. That IKIGAI tool is amazing but it’s exponentially more effective when we discover more of ourselves to narrow the questions we ask to get the answers we need.
If you're looking for some guidance in your own journey, reach out to me for a free consultation call. The best thing about coaching is that the answers are within you already and it's my job to draw the best out of you & hold you to our trajectory together. If you've been looking for a sign to take the leap of faith, this is it.
My name is Theophilus Zhuang and I'm a transformational coach who loves speaking about legacy and life purpose. My belief is that life is best lived from the inside and in maximal alignment to for utmost fulfillment. Here you'll find my musings.