I saw a post on Facebook the other day. A woman posted about wanting to leave her job and chase her dream – something she was truly passionate about. Her desire to follow this path was strong yet scary. She had gathered the courage to write the post and was looking for advice.
The range of answers she received was immense. Some were supportive and told her to go for it. Some sent podcasts, video clips, books, and other resources to help her move forward.
And others told her to play it safe. To make sure she had a job with benefits and security. To not risk anything. To prioritize safety and security over her dreams.
This last group of people broke my heart. I know they meant to be helpful. I’m sure they had the woman’s best interest at heart. I know they wanted to protect her. Perhaps they were even speaking from their own experience of failed dreams.
But every time I read one of those responses, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed by the overwhelming drive in our culture to attain a carbon copy vision of success. The pressure to succeed in society is great. The need to belong and fit in. This is something I see clients struggle with often in my coaching business, specifically when it comes to career transitions and their desire to lead a more meaningful life. They have trouble moving past the fear of leaving a steady job with a consistent paycheck and benefits. There is perceived safety in numbers.
But the world needs those willing to chase their dreams and make this world a better place.
So how did I respond? I recommended she start her journey with the book When to Jump: If the Job You Have Isn’t the Life You Want by Mike Lewis. It provides a framework for you to determine when the time is right for you to jump.
This book is a collection of stories of people who took the leap towards their dreams. It gives you a structured framework to give you as much security as possible. AND, it encourages you to go for it!
It is a great question.
When do you make that leap to something new?
Lewis walks his readers through 4 central themes to career change through the stories of those that have attempted the jump. There is nothing like learning from the stories of others and Lewis masterfully weaves their experiences into helpful tips.
Begin by Listening to the Little Voice. This step can often be the hardest because only you can hear this voice. Only you know the change that is speaking to you. Everyone else around you has their own path to follow. And this is where it gets scary.
You risk the safety and security of the herd to head in your own direction. And it is hard enough to consider this by yourself. But start telling other people what you’re thinking, and they will have plenty of reasons for you to play it safe and stay where you are.
BUT they don’t know how frustrated you are with your current life. They don’t know how you long for something different. It isn’t that they don’t want to help you. It’s simply that they can’t – because they can’t connect to your unique vision or frustration. Only you can. So listen to YOUR little voice.
Next, Create a Game Plan. This is taking your dreams and visions and turning them into something logical and realistic. This can be hard since dreams and visions don’t often seem logical or realistic. They seem far-fetched and crazy. By logical and realistic, Lewis is referring to being honest about the resources you have and the resources you need to reach your goal. Do you need training? Money? Time? Connections?
Once you are ready to go for it, it’s easy to get impatient with your dream. Lewis suggests making sure you have the resources you need to not only build your dream but also the resources to support yourself along the way. Nothing will kill your dream quicker than the panic you will feel at not being able to pay your bills. And instead of being able to focus on your dream, you end up putting all your time and energy into surviving.
Third, Let Yourself Be Lucky. This might seem to go against the previous tip of having a plan. You might think, “Why do I need a game plan if luck will carry me through?”
What Lewis is getting at is being in the right place at the right time. It’s just happening to be noticed by the right person. This is about being open and flexible to opportunities. This is not about being so rigid and fixed in your expected outcome that you miss all your lucky chances along the way.
For most, luck will not show up in this way. But for a very few, this luck turns out to be a major turning point. Luck will turn up. And, if you’re willing to chase them, the small connections can turn into bigger ones.
Finally, Don’t Look Back. This journey will not be easy. There will be plenty of times you will ask yourself “What was I thinking?” and this is when you go back to connecting to the little voice. The one that longed for a different life, that was frustrated that you were playing it safe, the one that believed in you and your dreams.
If you can hear that little voice speaking to you, read When to Jump. The stories are short and accessible. It will inspire and ground you. It will give you the freedom to be you and help you create a rough outline for the path you want to be on. It will help you feel connected as you face challenges that others have faced.
What might happen if you listen to the little voice that is calling you to do something different?
Are you ready to Jump??
The key to any transition is becoming aware and letting go of what no longer serves you.
In my E-course, Navigating a Career Transition, I guide you through the important steps of
- Letting go
- Identifying your unique strengths
- Developing support systems
All of which will allow you to make intentional choices aligned with your gifts.
Imagine the power of turning your dreams into reality! I’d love to help you on your journey!