Sometimes There is No Plan B

dry-earth-green-prophetYour job isn’t satisfying anymore. It’s worse than that. It’s scorching the last few drops of water in the oasis of your soul. Soon you will be a dry husk, whisking across the barren landscape of your career. You want to do something that feeds your soul. And this current job is not it.

You planned your escape. Step by step. On your spreadsheet, it was perfect. In real life, it’s not working out that way. You wanted to keep one foot in the corporate benefits and one in the free world of your own business until you had a six-month income cushion.

You wanted to keep your on-the-job career going full blast while you also signed up new clients. You would keep everything separate. But that’s not how it turned out.

man-on-a-ledge-still-150x150And now, one foot is on the ledge at work, and the other is just not touching security in your new life. You are frantically looking around for the safety net.

It’s not there. It may never be there. All those people who told you about the perfect, smooth transition? Staying at work part time while building the new job? The reason that sounded so fresh and wonderful is, well, it doesn’t happen very often.

It’s like the poor kid who fights and struggles and makes the news as the new Supreme Court Justice. It’s the first-time novelist who publishes a book using an ebook apps and suddenly gets a contract from a big publishing house. The reason the story is so appealing is that it is so rare.

For most of us, we have to leap. There is no net. You don’t blend perfectly fromBalancing-stones-1 fully-vested career mogul to fully-booked freelancer, artist, or entrepreneur. Yes, a few lucky ones have a support system–a successful, wealthy, indulgent spouse, friend, benefactor, or parent who will  weave you a net of money and support. Bless them.

For the rest of us, we leap. We leap because staying in that soul-scorching job is not really a choice we want to make. And we want to believe that our research is right, our decisions were well-grounded and our hard work will pay off.  Mostly, we want to believe in ourselves.

Yes, you can crash and burn. If you didn’t do your homework, if you built your new career on a half-baked idea, if you are grabbing a fork for a pie-in-the-sky plan, plans can collapse. And sometimes, even when you thought you had it figured out, you can still struggle.

Sometimes, there is no Plan B. You have to trust that this leap is better than staying. You have to know your ability to suffer and your ability to succeed. Here’s the important point: you already know what will happen if you fail. But do you know what will happen if you succeed beyond your wildest dreams? Have you created a plan for that? If not, you aren’t ready to leap. See your success. We create our own reality. And then live it.

—Quinn McDonald has leaped several times and is taking another run to leap again.