I was asked to give someone advice about leaving their job. Here’s what I said:
Giving someone advice about life decisions isn’t easy. The mood, the place, the company – all affect what you may say or not say when you are asked. More importantly, we often think about things we should have said after the moment is gone. So here’s some advice I once gave someone who was in the midst of making a big life decision. In this case, it was easier said in writing than in person:
1. Life is about choices. All choices and actions have consequences. Being able to live with whatever the consequences are, is the secret to overcoming the inertia of doing nothing. The first step is always the hardest. Pursuing what you are passionate begins with knowing what makes you tick. Is it something creative, something you want to build, something that will give you purpose, or even something that you believe may change the world? Start there.
2. Give yourself the space and time you need to think things through. But don’t over plan or try to predict all the permutations of what could happen. That is paralyzing.
3. Start slowly. Sampling the different options you believe you would like can be quite fun. The first step can a ‘baby’ step. That’s ok because it gives you some time to do some homework.
4. At some point, you have to be willing to take a chance. Life-changing decisions are never without risks. Being willing to take that risk takes courage. People that don’t take risks in life, risk looking back wishing they had. They also risk resenting the things and the people they perceive to have held them back.
5. You are very smart. Take a hard look at where you are now and what you’ve accomplished. In the very unlikely event that things don’t work out – you have something you can go back to doing.
6. In the end, you may choose to stay put. That doesn’t mean you can’t pursue other interests too. Push yourself to pursue them in your spare/off time. It can act as a coping strategy for high stress/high stakes jobs. And sometimes it can lead to something bigger.
I wish you insight, courage, and peace of mind and heart, whatever you decide to do.