I've had a lot of people over the last year call me up and tell me they were going to quit their jobs and pursue their dream/passion/destiny. This usually means starting their own business but they usually aren't completely sure what form their new business will take. I always tell them the same thing. When I left Microsoft, I had no firm idea what I was going to do. I just knew that I had to DO SOMETHING WITH MY LIFE.
When I left Microsoft (July 1, 2004) podcasting hadn't even been invented. I didn't start G'Day World until Nov 2004 and TPN until Jan 2005. But I know, looking back on it, that if I hadn't have been free of my corporate job when this opportunity came around, I probably wouldn't have been ready to jump quickly and DO SOMETHING. The lesson here is that I couldn't jump from the safety of a job to the safety of something else. I had to set myself free and then invest myself 100% for a while in figuring out what I wanted to do.
Now some people might say that there's a lot of risk in doing something like that. I didn't think of it like that. I saw the risk in sitting at in a cubicle for the rest of my life. The risk that scared my the most was waking up one day and finding myself to be 55 years old, still plugging numbers into someone else's spreadsheet.
So you have to jump. But - that doesn't guarantee anything. Many of these same people who tell me they are going to leave and commit themselves to figuring out their destiny, then ring me back several weeks later and say a combination of the following...
- my wife is about to have another baby and the timing just isn't right
- I have a mortgage, I can't afford to jump just yet
- I don't know what I want to do, I'll just leave it another six months
- there's this other job that I'm going to take and do that while I figure out what I really want to do with my life
Yeah folks, there are plenty of sane, rational-sounding reasons not to jump. But the flip side is this - unless you are Shirley Maclaine, this is the only life you are ever going to get. And it doesn't get any better than it is right now. There are always red lights. There are always things that are going to get in the way. Sometimes you just need to have faith in yourself... in your smarts, in your work ethic, in your sense of destiny, in your ability to make something good happen.
I read a book by Napoleon Hill (the other Napoleon) called "Law Of Success" about 20 years ago. In it he said something like "until you are fully committed to your destiny, the serendipities you need for success won't appear". Sounds like hippy wanker shit, but in my case, in retrospect, I believe it to be true. It's got nothing to do with anything supernatural, it's about putting yourself in a mental and emotional state where you NEED to succeed. Once you've burned your bridges and your boats, once you've told yourself "okay this is it, there is NO going back", new neurons come to life, you have more energy, more passion, more commitment, to figuring it all out.
So my advice is... don't run away from the edge of the cliff. Yeah - it's a long way down. Yeah - it's dark. Yeah -
most ALL of your friends, colleagues and family are going to tell you that you are crazy. And you will be. You have to be crazy to buck the system. If "not crazy" is what the masses are, then to do something different you have to be "crazy". That's okay. Go with it. You think Bill Gates is sane? You think Donald Trump is a normal human being? You think John Gotti was a nice bloke?
One more thing - just quitting isn't enough. Sell everything you have. Cash up. Commit yourself to the long haul. Work your arse off. Although, and I really mean this, I don't feel like a single day of this has been work yet. Long hours, lonely hours - yeah sure. But work? No way. Whoever said "do something you love to do and you'll never work a single day in your life" might have been right. I haven't done it long enough to know yet.