A year ago we made a huge decision to take an enormous leap. I quit my steady, fairly well paying job, with no fail proof plan in place and moved my family (with 3 kids under 5) to a smaller town . We decided to step into the unknown and figure it out as we go instead of our normal approach of over-thinking each step. We put a 2 year plan in place that would hopefully give us enough time to create an income flow we could live on long term. A year after making the decision to change it all we have a long way to go to make this work long term: But what if we didn’t jump?
It would only have taken one of us to get cold feet for the whole plan to be blown up. After all what we were doing was hard to explain to people. When you have kids you need your career to be as strong and stable as possible, and to quit everything as our economy moved into a very scary recession made even less sense to people. There were moments where we almost decided to stay put and keep everything as is. All I could think about when I gave my notice at work and signed off on the sale of our home was that we were heading towards poverty and ruin. Now a year later you may argue that we are getting closer to making that a reality yet my fear of failure is at the lowest level it has ever been. At this point the worst case scenario (work related) just means we will have to look for work and not make as much as we used to. There is also a good chance that we will succeed and live our ultimate family life. If given the opportunity we would not reverse time and go back to the predictability and stability of our previous life. Not a chance.
If we didn’t jump I would be sitting in my old office scanning though a couple hundred e-mails looking for something worthy to spend my time. I would be a year further down the path of apathy. My position was viewed as one of the most challenging in our department yet for the past couple of years I literally would sleep-walk through my days. I knew what tasks I could eliminate from my daily routine that had very little value and spent a fraction of my time doing the essential stuff really well. The result was that I always got great performance reviews and full raises and bonuses and spent much of my time day-dreaming. Don’t get me wrong I liked the work that I did and I was good at it and , as a buyer, I could have done much more but I was getting bored and the corporate structure gave me no incentive to excel beyond what I was doing. I could have applied for a ‘promotion’ to a different department but none of the next level jobs really interested me and gave me the challenges I was looking for. I could have looked outside the company but my interest lied in a different area all together. I wanted to do something where there was a direct relationship between the quality of work put in and my success level. I wanted to work at being the best father as possible…and see if I could incorporate this into a money making business.
So where would we be if we didn’t go. The exact same place we were one year ago. I would be still sleepwalking through my workdays getting patted on the back for my good performance and I would return to a frantic house where it would be hard to relate to why Lisa looked so frazzled. Our relationship would be strong, no doubt, but we would be spending less time together and annoying each other more due to living in different worlds during the week. We would have a few more dollars saved away waiting for the day that we could spend it on our dreams. If we didn’t jump last year then we would most likely have jumped this year, or the next. We usually make the safe decision but eventually we would have jumped.
What is our advice to anyone who is thinking of making a change in your life? Spend some time with your family to be able to describe what changes you will like to make. Walk through a realistic successful outcome that would happen if you made these changes. How does it make you feel? If, like us when we discussed making changes, you get this rush of energy and the largest smile you have had in months, then use this as a sign that you want this to happen. Spend some time to plan out what you intend to do and then jump. ‘Risky’ actions make this life a lot more interesting then safe in-actions. Next time when we are ready to jump at something we want, we will not hesitate.