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Commitment Time! (Taking the big leap)

It's official - I've given my two week notice and I'm quitting my research programming job to put full effort into my workflow coaching practice. Joining the ranks of the self-employed is exciting and frightening, and I'm sure it'll increase my rate of lessons learned per day (see Some thoughts from tracking "lessons learned" for a year).

After hearing the news, a friend asked me why in the world I'd risk leaving a stable job - with great people, fine pay, retirement, health insurance, etc. - for something with no guarantees, especially as I'm a parent and husband. The best answer I came up with: I want to know how the story's going to end, and I can't do that without a major commitment.

I like how Timothy Butler puts it in Is Your Job Your Calling:
Everyone tries to do something that seems like the wise thing to do-but that you shouldn't do: compromise [emphasis added]. You've got two competing needs or desires-say, independence and security-and you try to find the position that's halfway between them. Typically that doesn't work.
In my case, it's simply that I'm driven to do this - I feel I have no choice. I want to help people feel better about their work and lives, and to do their important work and living with minimal stress and maximum creativity, intelligence, and authenticity. I've seen the results in myself and my clients, and I'm a believer.

In the future I'll be continuing to build my practice, stretching into marketing, sales, and networking, as well as continued professional development by reading, taking classes, and experimenting. And of course doing all this and still enjoying the ride.

Specifically, I'll be focusing on medium and large organizations in the Northeast, mostly New England, but I'll be doing some flying as well. Wish me luck! (Naturally, if you know someone who could use my help, I'd appreciate your referral.)

Let me leave you with a longish but wonderful passage from Fred Gratzon's article The Secret to Attracting Resources:
Basically, a business sprouts out of some playing or fiddling with an idea. Initially you are driven by your curiosity, or your interest, or your passion, or your natural talent. As you are playing around, you find that the process makes you happy. That is a wonderful early indication that you are on the right track. You're having fun and that leads to more knowledge, sophistication, and skill. That increase in expertise in turn increases the fun. And so it goes, higher and higher.

Eventually you come to a point in this merry journey when you get a glimpse into the future. At that time you get a clear idea of what it will take to be a roaring success in your particular undertaking. In other words, you see what is required to take your current fun and games to a higher, more productive level.

You have now come to an important moment. Here you begin to appreciate that to progress any further, you are going to have make a substantial leap, and that leap is embodied in one word - commitment. You realize that for your project to be truly successful, you are going to have to make an increased commitment in time and/or money.

It can be scary vision. There is overwhelming risk and there are no guarantees. Most people back off at this point. They think of how much money they could lose, or how awful failure would feel, or how much time could be wasted, or how embarrassing falling on their faces could be.

However, those who are exhilarated by the process, or are driven by their passion, or are so desperate that they have no other choice, take that leap.

If you take the leap by making the commitment, here is where the magic begins. That commitment turns out to be Mother Nature's price of admission. Once you make that commitment, Nature rushes in and miraculously supplies you with the resources to take your endeavor to the next level.
Thanks, Fred!

Reader Comments (26)

Thanks for the information.

June 5, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterFred

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