Friends say I’ve been smiling a lot lately. That’s because one year ago I changed my life. It’s the kind of change you can make, too.
On November 3, 2015 I left Forrester. After twelve years as an analyst I gave one final speech, then walked off the stage and into a different lifestyle.
I don’t work 40 hours a week anymore. I don’t have an office or an apartment. I travel around the world doing things that make me happy. In the past year I’ve:
- Followed my passions. I sailed a tall ship across two oceans. I spent time in favorite places like Berlin and Vancouver. I discovered great cities like Chattanooga and Adelaide. I’ve hiked and scuba dived a lot, and spent time with friends and family.
- Given back. I started a nonprofit called The Nourish Lab to help soup kitchens feed more people more efficiently. I’ve volunteered at nearly a dozen soup kitchens and food pantries around the world. I help physically disabled people learn to sail.
- Found meaningful work. For the first time in years I choose my own projects. I work part time as technology advisor to two great companies, Lithium and Simply Measured. I helped a friend run for state assembly and another promote his new coworking space.
People tell me they wish they could change their lives too. They can, and so can you. I followed three steps:
- Overcome fear. I held a good job at a respected company. I wanted to move on, but fear held me back. Then I found a copy of Who Moved My Cheese. This corny parable provides surprisingly strong motivation. If you need to overcome fear, read it today.
- Make a plan. You’d draw up a plan to go back to school or to change careers. You’ll need a plan for this, too. Consider: What passions will you pursue? How will you make your time count? How will you earn money? If you make less than before, can you adapt? Do you have enough saved to pay the bills for a few months? Do the math, and make sure you have a plan B.
- Time your exit. I decided to quit in August but didn’t leave until November. I needed three months to finish work, plan adventures, and tie up responsibilities. Consider: How long will you need to find a tenant or buyer for your house? When does your car lease expire? How long will you need to save an emergency fund? Take enough time to execute your plan, but not so much time that you lose steam.
I know that I’m lucky this went smoothly. I owe a debt to the people who’ve helped and encouraged me. I know my circumstances could change tomorrow, forcing me back to my previous life. Even if that happens, I’ll consider this the best decision I’ve ever made. I’ve rarely been happier.
Overcome your fear. Change your life. Even if it's just for a little while. You’ll be glad you did.
If you want to make a change but don’t know how, drop me a line. I’d love to help.