Time to get started

The hardest part of change is getting started. Actually, probably the hardest part of most anything is the start, especially if you’re given to procrastination. It’s so much easier to put it off ‘til tomorrow, or next month, or even next year. I know, I’ve been there.

For several years, when I was 50 pounds heavier than I am now, I’d jump on the scale and think, “I need to lose weight.” I wasn’t ready to get started with joining the gym, increasing the calories burned, and taking responsibility for the calories I was consuming. Once I made that fateful decision in 2009 that I wasn’t going to be heavy any longer and started exercising and eating better, the weight started coming off and I’ve managed to keep it off by continuing to exercise and eat sensibly (most of the time).

Change is hard. Anyone who tells you that it isn’t doesn’t live in the real world. We’re all creatures of habit. We value comfort, and we don’t like starting new things—new jobs, new habits, new friendships—it doesn’t matter. Rather, maybe it’s not change, but uncertainty that we don’t like.

I’ve known since early in the year that my job was tenuous with my current employer. When my hours were cut in half back in early March, I knew I needed to get started down the path that will probably be my new career direction. Actually, I knew before March that I was in a bit of a rut. We have an intuitive sense when we’re getting a little antsy and craving a new challenge; I’ve been feeling this way for the past year.

This period of uncertainty has been challenging. As I’ve shared with readers and with others in person, I’ve learned something new almost every single day since March 5th. Some of the things I’ve learned came specifically from knowing that I was in transition and that I couldn’t continue down the same old pathway that I’ve been treading since 2006 when I was hired.

One thing that I’ve learned is that I have a set of skills that are marketable. By marketable, I don’t mean that I have a skill set that allows a process akin to simply plugging a square peg in a square hole. Work and career aren’t simple like that any longer. What I do mean is that marketing myself has required doing some work, identifying my skills, and creating a resume and narrative that highlights my skills, particularly those skills that are transferable.

I’ve been thinking a great deal about entrepreneurship, or being a “free agent,” as Daniel Pink would define what it is that I’ve been developing with the JBE. What exactly does it mean to launch out on my own? What is it that I’m trying to build.

Two weeks ago, I began reading Guy Kawasaki’s book, The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything. This was about one week after I had the worst week of self-doubt during the past three months. I think that week of questioning my abilities and wondering if I had the qualities necessary to make my way forward, on my own, was a good thing.

As I started to get my swerve back, Kawasaki’s book has been pouring gasoline on the spark and tentative flames of my passion, now rekindled.

He mentions that no one really knows if he’s an entrepreneur until he becomes one. I’ve been one, with RiverVision Press, so in my case, since I’ve done it once, I can do it again.

What I’ve found meaningful from Kawasaki is how he says that there is really only one question to ask yourself before starting a new venture—do I want to make meaning?

He writes, meaning is not about money, power, or prestige. It’s not even about creating a fun place to work. Among the meanings of “meaning” are to

  • Make the world a better place.
  • Increase the quality of life.
  • Right a terrible wrong.
  • Prevent the end of something good.

I agree with Kawasaki that having goals like these provide a real advantage as you “travel down the difficult path ahead.”

I know I’m ready to make meaning.