There’s never a good time…

July 2006, I announced I was resigning as Director of Global Controls for Iron Mountain, Inc. During the 3 weeks from announcing I was leaving corporate life to open a yoga studio, until my last day of “work”, I learned more about my colleagues than the during the 3 years I’d worked and travelled with them. I learned their dreams, their secret hobbies and their crutches – and not because I asked.

Here’s how the conversations would go:

Me: Mind if I pop my head in to share some news with you?
[knocking on a colleague’s office door]

Colleague: Sure

Me: Well, I’ve made a big decision. I’ve decided to expand my yoga teaching and open a yoga studio in Roslindale….so I’m going to be leaving Iron Mountain.
[My heart is pounding as I actually say the words out loud. Because I’m scared this may be a huge mistake, I’m scared that I’m throwing away a great career, and I’m scared that people will think I’ve lost my mind]

Colleague: Oh my God! Congratulations. I’m so jealous. I wish I could do that. I mean [speaking excitedly] I wouldn’t open a yoga studio, but I’ve always wanted to open a kayak tour company, I just haven’t done it because first we bought the house, we’ve been trying to have kids, I’m finishing getting my MBA…..the timing just hasn’t been right…but maybe someday….[their eyes are bright, but sad]
It was incredible…without exception, and I mean literally every person I told one-on-one that I was resigning, shared their “I’d love to…take guitar lessons, play in a jazz band, open a jewelry shop, design kids bibs, write a book, work in construction…” with me.

And then followed telling me what they’d love to do, again, without exception, by saying “the timing just hasn’t been right”.

I don’t believe there are many “always” or “nevers” in life, but this I know:

The timing will likely never feel “right” to make a major change. And it will always be scary to leave the known for the unknown.
And there is nothing wrong with staying with something safe and secure that works for you.

If however, you are someone with a persistent, restless desire to change your life, you’ll probably only be able to suppress it for a period of time before the desire starts sending you louder and louder messages in the form of stress, health issues or depression.

Our bodies don’t know how to lie. So be aware of these signals.  For now, just allow yourself to notice the restlessness and the signals your body may be sending you.  Let yourself sit with these experiences - uncomfortable as it may feel.  The feelings may pass, or you may decide to act on them.  Just notice for the time being.

For today, I’ll leave you with this:

It is possible to make big shifts in where you devote your time and energy. There is risk involved. And it is hard work to chart a unique path. Financial realities cannot be ignored. And not all of your regular support network will support you if you make a drastic change. The timing will never be right.

And…I’ve yet to meet a person (myself included) who has completely changed their life(style) and regrets having done so.

I’ll talk more in future posts about the process of life transformations and share more stories of what I’ve experienced and learned from others. For now, let's just be open to the idea that it is possible for YOU to listen to that restlessness and then to act on it.

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Bob Weisenberg said...

Great topic.

I actually went in reverse. I followed my dream first (to be a flamenco guitarist--went to live in Southern Spain right after college), then decided that music and money didn't mix for me, so went back to school and began a thirty year career as a software entrepreneur.

I was very fortunate in that I grew to love my conventional career. But perhaps this was because I was always one of the owners after the age of 3O. But I also grew to love business itself and all the challenges it entailed.

I also managed to always pursue my personal family, flamenco, athletic, and intellectual interests while I was working.

That said, I jumped at the first opportunity I had to retire, and that led eventually to my current love for Yoga.

Very interested to see your future blogs on this topic and the responses.

Bob Weisenberg