Caution to the wind – for a while anyway

Posted: April 3, 2019 in Executive Corner, Other Musings
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Update – little ditty written a year ago as I jumped back into consulting. interesting how times change as the winds have shifted one year later.

There are times in our lives when everything is just falling right into place, where we see what the future is and how we can attain those things we want. That moment when there is no fear, no concern, and no consternation. You know those times when all is well, and you know exactly how everything is going to turn out. OK, so that time, at least for me, has never existed outside some random romcom found on a late night of Netflix. Instead, we live in a world that sits in a constant state of turmoil presenting us with a myriad of choices on a moment by moment basis that, if not looked at with depth and detail could surely lead to our ultimate demise. This is no more apparent in our lives that when looking at a career path. Every step in that path is fraught with danger, do you take the next job, do you take on that project that could lead you to the next level, or could lead you to, once again, ruin? These choices are not something that we, as adults, can take lightly, but, also, there is no roadmap to really guide us along the way. Sure, there are all the books, all the articles on what it takes to get ahead, but when it comes right down to it, not one of us has the exact same path. And, along with our different paths, there are other people involved in all those decisions. For some, it’s family, some it’s people they work with, or worked with and then there are those uncontrolled random influences that come along and can screw up the best-laid plans and idea. The song “Jamaica Mistaica” by Jimmy Buffett comes to mind in this scenario. For the uninitiated, the song is about a great trip flying his seaplane into a secluded harbor in Jamaica only to be fired upon by local law enforcement thinking he was a drug smuggler. All he wanted was a cheeseburger by the bay and they ruined his plane and his day.

So, with all these pitfalls, why ever move away from that safe space in your career of simply being a quiet cog in the wheel of whatever widget factory you work in? Good question and one that I don’t have the answer for, all I can do is offer my own experience and hope that it helps alleviate some of your consternation. I recently found myself at another crossroad in my career, I’ve been out of the consulting game for years and happily working through various corporations up until the moment I wasn’t.  After taking a long break I found myself deciding between going back to becoming that smooth operating cog or throwing all that security away to set sail on my own adventures again. I don’t know where the winds will take me, but I’ve got a good idea of what I want to do and how to do it. The hardest part, I found, wasn’t deciding to go out on my own again, it was that last great offer from a substantial company offering benefits, money, and authority right as I made the decision. As they say, when it rains it pours and the universe wouldn’t be laughing at all of us if it couldn’t constantly throw wrenches in the works to trip us up.

Here I was, putting together my online bios, already having secured multiple consulting clients and ready to take off as the offer came in. It became one of the hardest decisions I’ve made in my career, to date, and one of the hardest conversations I’ve had with a person in a long time, even harder than the conversations with my daughters when they left the nest and I realized I was no longer in charge! I was sitting here looking someone in the face and telling them no. No, I didn’t want the stability, money, and authority they were offering me. I, instead, wanted to stomach dropping roller-coaster or being out on my own with no safety net. I still look at this conversation with one side of my brain yelling, “what are you thinking!” And that side may very well be right, only time will tell.

And that’s my choice, and that’s what I think is most important, making a choice. Not sitting on the sidelines waiting for something to come along or someone to tell you what to do, where to go and how to act. We are only on this little round spinning globe for a short time and what you make of that time is all you got. There is no second chance and there is no rewind button. We are all hurtling forward at a constant velocity and every decision we make splinters us off into a new direction. As for me, I’m throwing caution to the wind and setting sail for a new adventure, one fraught with danger, which could lead to my ultimate demise, realizing that this is just another decision in the adventure I call life.

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