Standing at the ledge of a rock, you can feel the cool breeze of the air and the water swishing, wistfully against the shore line. You lift your arms overhead, and you fall, immersing yourself.
That's one approach. Another is you can run as fast as you can, and throw yourself in. Another is waiting to be pushed in. But hey, it's a vacation, so anything goes along as it feels good. In fact we take vacations to feel this freedom, this reckless abandonment, this sense of courage and to live in the moment.
But then we come back to our lives and the vacation ends. We are met with responsibility, accountability, and people who depend on us. We are no longer adventure seeking, fun in the sun lovers. No, we are land and ledge lovers. We pride ourselves in stability and knowing where the next dollar is coming from. We like to plan our vacations, and we want to raise our children. Those are the reasons we work.
When we jump, we have to have some degree of comfort that the water will be the right temperature, and that it can sustain us. We need to know that if we take that dive into a new place, a different place, we must accept the risks of possible loss of income, possible loss of identify, and possible loss of the comfort of what we have every day.
The funny thing about standing on the edge of this pool is that we might want to jump more than anything. We might want to take a head first leap into a new place. I admire people who can do that. And I admire the people who support those people when they do that.
But the bottom line is, one needs support to take that dive. When people ask me - "should I change . . ." I ask, are you happy with what you are doing? Do you feel that you have something more to offer? Do they have something they can offer you? Is it worth your while to stick around? If the answer to any of those questions is no, then you have to leap, I tell them.
I am an advocate for jumping in one's career if the job is not helping the quality of life. I remember once reading the back page of an annual report which accounted for the employees who had passed away that year, and the number of years those people worked for the organization. One of them worked right up to the day he died. I remember thinking - "Poor Guy, Poor Family." I hope these people loved their jobs and got immense satisfaction from the experience.
I am dedicated to living while I am alive. I feel very strongly about being challenged in my work and liking my work. I work according to the principle that we are each obligated to grow, and if work is not challenging, or it is taking time away from our lives that should be spent living, then it is time to move on. This is important, because by definition, if one is not moving forward, one is standing still and possibly moving backward.
But alas we find ourselves on the ledge of our own making. What if taking the leap means tomorrow will be different? What if landing hurts? What if . . .
So what's a ledge lover to do? How does a ledge lover leap? One of my former colleagues who leaped landed in a very happy place. He is a financial strategist. His specialty is making money make money. He says that people tend to need less money than they think and that you need to know what your costs are, and you need to have a plan.
I knew that word would find its way onto my ledge. Plan. I always have a plan, you say, but not right now. I can relate. Plan development is my specialty. I am very good at seeing the cracks of other people businesses and lives and helping them to fill them. The funny thing about those cracks is that they are difficult to see when they are underfoot.
Plans are specific and goal oriented, so you can see progress. Here's my plan: My plan is to work with two - three clients who want to get somewhere by helping them create and implement plans, help them get the word out and market and brand themselves. My plan is to gross $100K in the first year. My plan is to do work that aligns with my values. And my plan is to look forward to every morning of my working life.
Now I stand upon the ledge of the watering hole of my own making, and I am thinking, what would happen if I jumped . . . now. Would this plan hold water? I believe it will.