I tricked myself into it, actually. Once I did it, there really was no looking back. The ledge is far behind me now with no way back up. There is no exit route, no escape plan for me, and the only way out is to head deeper into the abyss.
One year ago, I declared myself unemployable. As much as I appreciated what the corporate world had taught me, I knew it was time to make my leap. I’ve talked many times about how the Universe answered my call. The corporate world showed me the door in the form of a pink slip, but instead of dread and despair, I found freedom… mostly.
Scary, Scary Freedom
I wasn’t mentally ready for that kind if push, not at that moment. I have a huge mortgage and a family to support, and the idea of being self-reliant right then was scary as hell, but I chose to dig deep inside myself and see the opportunity.
It was down there somewhere, right?
Of course it was down there, along with many other things. I just had to move some stuff around to see it.
I started my new freedom adventure by taking some free time and committing to spend more of it with my son. We had him in daycare 5 days a week, so I backed that off to 3 and he got to spend time with me and his grandma. Spending that kind of 1-on-1 time with him is irreplaceable. I can’t imagine ever going back.
I also switched my workouts from evenings to mornings. If you know me, my physical training is as much a part if my success method as my business training. Starting a day with that energy level makes the workday fly by, and I’m usually hyper-productive after. Evening workouts were good, but after a long day, they were difficult at times. Mornings feel much better.
The problem now (which isn’t really a problem) is that I painted myself into a corner. If I ever considered going back to a corporate life, I would need to change my life for the worse. I will not do that to my son. I will not do that to myself. However, I’m human, and susceptible to temptation.
I still wrestle with limiting beliefs, just like you
Many years ago. I subscribed to a newsletter that pushes new creative job opportunities in the action sports area. I dreamed of working for a company like Quicksilver or Billabong, hanging out with surfers, snowboarders and skaters. This email was my lifeline to that world, or so I hoped.
I was eager to get out of my current job, to try something new, and every day I would peruse the email offerings, but not once in 10 years did I apply to anything. Why? Limiting beliefs mostly: not valuing my own skill, not feeling cool enough to hang with the likes of these kids, or just too comfortable to try.
Jump ahead to today, where I’m living my dream, even if it is kicking my ass, but I’m still getting those emails. Why?
I con myself I to thinking I’m getting them to look out for creative friends looking for work, but the truth is I’m still looking for something “safe”. A week ago, a tasty job came through that update. It was an art director job that might have paid a decent chunk, and for a couple days I thought about applying. I told myself it would alleviate stress on my family, let us do things we hadn’t been able to, like travel and fix up the house.
I told myself I could do that and still manage this site and the podcast, placing less emphasis on the coaching. The job was also near my wife’s office, so maybe we could commute.
And right there, an alarm went off.
If I commuted with my wife, I would have to change my workout schedule, going back to evenings.
If I commuted with my wife, that meant my son would be in daycare full time, seeing more of them than he would us.
If I commuted with my wife, that would mean I failed on point #1 of my mission—to leave a legacy my son could be proud of.
I told myself I was unemployable because I could never see myself going back into a corporate environment, but here I was debating it, yet the unemployable side fought back. I altered my life in such a positive way, no corporate job could ever replace it. I leapt off the edge of the cliff with no rope, and the only way to go is further into the abyss, but now I know something I didn’t before.
The abyss may look dark, make look deep, and we assume falling down means we are failing, but the abyss is filled with wonder. If you’ve ever walked into a dark cave, or dived underwater further than anyone else, you know that secrets lie in dark places. The abyss is not empty, but filled with the success stories of those who have come before. The abyss is where a new world exists, but you must be in it, and then shine a light to be able to see.
Be the shining light
Your family and friends might not get it. They won’t understand why you’re trying to “ruin your career”. Instead of trying to make them understand, show them how much you want this new life. Show them you deserve all that you desire, even if that means getting your ass kicked by entrepreneurial pursuits.
Nobody said it would be be easy, and despite your efforts to be a reclusive artist, it’s become clear you must actually be active in your business. That means interaction, that means showing people the artist within, and that means no more naiveté about systems and what works to help you build a business.
It also means you can’t be caught holding. No more ace up your sleeve—no more crutches. I unsubscribed from that email list this weekend. I will not receive another email from that group again. If those people want me so bad, they can come find me, and then maybe we can work something out on my terms.
It’s time to be the shining light in your life. It’s time to become the glowing element that creates awe and wonder in others, and the only way that happens is if you make strides to be the best creative businessperson possible. It’s time for you to be a beacon for your tribe. You are part way into the abyss now, but there are others above you. Shine for them, and show them the way.
Now is the time. Leap!