Nothing worthwhile is ever easy
Nothing worthwhile is ever easy. That’s what I was taught and it’s a mindset that largely remains. I continue to believe that most of what we most want to do is a combination of setting an intention and following through with the effort.
Unfortunately, many of our most well-intentioned cheerleaders offer emphatic and simplistic advice
“Quit that job”
“Start that business”
“Get out of that relationship”
“Get in shape”
They cast these instructions as the easiest of choices. If you make up your mind your intention will be realized. However, in our heads there is often a triggered response that we might not utter aloud. For example:
They say “Quit that job” and my inner monologue goes: HOW DO I KNOW THE NEXT ROLE WILL BE BETTER? DO I HAVE THE ENERGY TO DO A SEARCH? WHAT KIND OF WORK SHOULD I PURSUE? HOW AM I GOING TO PAY MY BILLS?
They sat “Start that business” and my inner monologue goes: WOULD I ENJOY THE PRESSURE OF BEING THE BOSS? WHAT SHOULD MY BUSINESS BE? AM I COMFORTABLE WITH THE FINANCIAL RISK OF STARTING SOMETHING? AM I CERTAIN THERE IS A MARKET FOR WHAT I WANT TO OFFER?
Simple advice often comes with hard choices and continued effort afterwards. Not that the giver often engages us with that kind of nuance. There are also a ton of rah, rah advisors out there who offer the platitudes of believe in or invest in yourself as if those simple messages alone are an end in and of themselves. A journey may begin with affirming words, but a journey is not realized on kind words alone.
Most of us have to conduct a careful risk analysis to determine if and how we might make a significant change in our life. What are we giving up with regards to our time and using up in terms of money or social capital? We need to remember that graceful swan we see gliding above the pond, recognizing it has webbed feet that move with purpose and intention beneath the surface.
Also, don’t forget that your caution and fear play a brilliant and necessary role. They let you know that you are moving into uncomfortable spaces and you need to investigate why it makes your uncomfortable and figure out how to de-risk the situation.
Change is possible, but the ramifications of that change, what risks you are willing to take and how to set yourself up for success should be considered alongside your trusted advisors. I tend to apply a process like this to a broad range of decisions. As related to work your thought process might go something like this.
Quit that job
Ramifications can include: Loss of healthcare and salary, giving up on a career (and perhaps education) you’ve been working towards, accepting a period of professional uncertainty and/or losing the everyday support of colleagues to which you’ve grown accustomed.
Risks you are willing to take include: A lengthy period of time without work or a title, risk that you will locate something better–and you will have worked out what better means to you, drawing from your savings or getting help from others to meet your financial obligations.
Setting yourself up for success: Have people you know and trust and/or hire a coach to help you get clear on when it is right to leave and what would be better professionally for you.
Start that business
Ramifications include: Many of the same ones as quitting a job. Depending on whether you are planning to do this full-time, part-time while having full-time work or being salaried part-time while doing this part-time you are giving up either some secure income and benefits or some amount of your time to make this venture succesful.
Risks you are willing to take: Pull time from other priorities including your family, friends and hobbies? You are willing to risk the social capital to ensure that this venture is a success. You are prepared to be the person responsible for selling this venture and having the weight of the success fall squarely on you.
Setting yourself up for success: Entails doing significant work to understand the marketplace for your concept and whether there is a need for what you offer and a reachable marketplace. Finding people with relevant expertise in the space makes an enormous difference too.
Doing that worthwhile thing is so often difficult, but when it works, it is proof that we have power in the world to become our best and happiest selves. Of course making big changes when it concerns employment can feel even bigger. What I’ve shared above should help you start to go down the road of feeling more confident about your choices.
—Russ Finkelstein [linkedin.com] is the opposite of your High School Guidance Counselor. A career coach, social entrepreneur, and advisor to founders, he is currently the Director of Coaching with the Roddenberry Fellowship, Coach-in-Residence with StartingBloc Fellowship, and a Co-Founder of Title8 a Legal Marketplace. He was a founder of the noted careers website Idealist.org and was chosen as a Generation Z Influencer by LinkedIn.