For those who don’t know my story, I quit my corporate job about 2 years ago. I decided that what I had in my life was all good and fine, but I wanted to see if there was more to life than what I had.
So I took a Leap…mainly just to prove to myself that I could. Long story short, I traveled basically non-stop with what fit into my little car for a year and a half. I criss-crossed the US and parts of Canada, I visited old friends and family and made new friends. I went places I had always wanted to go and tried things I had never even considered trying.
I stayed up late and ate ice cream and talked with friends, I drank great wine and stayed up late and talked with friends, I rode roller coasters with friends, sat on friends’ back decks and drank coffee and talked with friends, ate Chicago-style pizza in the middle of the city with friends… basically there was a lot of talking and friends and great things to eat and drink and do.
I also had a lot of amazing alone time. At some point I’ll actually get around to publishing the book I’m halfway through writing in which I share some glimpses of my journey, but I’ll briefly say some of my best memories were hiking all alone in northern Maine, and long-haul drives in total silence in Idaho, and watching the sunset over the skyline in a major city with life happening all around me.
In the midst of all of this I started a business, which has actually blossomed into a couple additional initiatives beyond just the original idea. To be honest, I love it. I love what I do now. I love seeing what’s possible for myself. I love using my gifts to see if I can help someone else’s life get better.
There are challenges now I face that I didn’t face in my life in corporate. Well, I guess any path has challenges. It’s just that the challenges I have now are different challenges than I had before. But I like these challenges better.
I suppose you could wonder why, since this is such a positive experience for me, would I say I never encourage people to quit their jobs? Seems like the opposite of what I should be saying, doesn’t it? I mean, every kind of online magazine these days publishes articles about people who quit their jobs and traveled instead and how much happier and more fulfilled they are. You would think that since that’s what I did (and that’s how I feel, more fulfilled) I would want people to do the same?
I remember talking to someone in college who was studying music. They told me that their advisor and mentor in the music department told them not to study music. They said “if you are considering studying music, don’t do it. The only reason you should be a music major is if you can’t live without this.” Basically, if you feel like you will die if you have to study anything except music, then that is the only time you should major in music. The point, of course, is that careers in music are hard and it takes passion and dedication to succeed in this field.
That is how I feel about taking a Leap. Look, if you have days here and there where you wish you didn’t have to go to work, don’t quit your job. If you fantasize about walking out the door but don’t find yourself gravitating toward selling everything you own on Craig’s List and simplifying your life, don’t quit your job. If you could be happy staying in your job, stay. Because maybe taking this kind of Leap really isn’t the journey you need. Or maybe it just isn’t time for you to do it.
I’m all for “seize the day” but some days “nothing special” is good for now. Some days “nothing special” is where you need to be.
So my advice to people is be where you are today. If there is a Leap for you (whatever it looks like) you will find yourself coming to a point at the right time where you know you have got to do this. It’s just about honesty with yourself about where you are today.
To my mind, the best journey is authenticity, honesty, self-growth. So to everyone saying you have to Take A Leap, I say…It’s not about quitting your job. It’s really not. If you think it is, then don’t quit your job.