I stood on the edge of a large rock, clinging to a rope, watching the roiling water beneath me. Two friends had already completed the jump and I was next. My heart pounded. What if I hit the rock as I jumped and dashed my brains out? Every instinct screamed, Don’t do it!
Leaps seem scary. As someone who takes great comfort in feeling secure, I’m not a big risk taker. In fact, for much of my life I’ve been the opposite.
Eventually, though, I saw the cage I had created for myself by staying safe. While I felt protected, I also wasn’t allowing myself to expand the way I was meant to. In fact, I had limited my growth to the size of my cage.
Through self-examination, I identified what was important to me – my values. You may not be surprised to hear this but one of my core values is connection. I want to connect people internally and externally through loving kindness.
Knowing who I was made figuring out what I wanted much clearer. At that point, making the leap wasn’t scary but necessary.
It’s the same for you.
Think of something you do at work. Imagine only focusing on the outcome, let’s say, a new software program to hire the best candidates, and not doing the prep work beforehand. What happens if you don’t take time to answer basic questions like:
- Who is my target audience (industry, profession, job level) for this service?
- What’s the best format in which to compare multiple resumes?
- Who will do the “first pass” at reviewing the resumes, HR or the hiring manager?
When you emphasize the final product and don’t do the research, you end up with crappy software you don’t value and therefore don’t use.
Values are Your Software
Now apply the software example to your own life. Many people believe they just need to find the right career/partner/house, i.e. the final product, and then they’ll be happy.
Looking externally for happiness which, for many, comes from feeling a sense of fulfilment or purpose in what you do, will always dissatisfy you on some level if you haven’t examined who you are first.
What you do is the outcome of who you are, not the other way around.
Who you are includes your personal values, strengths, and what motivates you intrinsically, that is, from within.
Leap, and the net will follow
For risk takers, taking a career leap isn’t as threatening as it is for those who crave security. The phrase, Leap, and the net will follow works easily for the risk takers of the world.
For those more like me, listen up. When you really know yourself, making a leap isn’t so hard. I know because I’ve done it. Yes, it takes some faith to believe the net will follow but, rest assured, you will learn you must leap in order to do meaningful work.
The net that followed from my leap included a community of like-minded solopreneurs, other coaches from my training, and a wealth of online resources to help me on my journey.
Back to the rock face and churning river below me. I waited a long time, longer than most of my friends on top of that rock. Then I took a breath and did the leap. It wasn’t perfect. In fact, I got a ton of water up my nose and drifted away on the current but I found my footing, stepped onto a dry rock, and cheered on the rest of my friends.
Header Photo by Peter Conlan on Unsplash