“Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down. “ – Ray Bradbury
Last month, I quit my nonprofit job of almost four years to work for myself as a consultant. By all accounts, it was a “good” job. The organization had a great reputation and inspiring leadership. It paid well, I had healthcare, a monthly employer contribution to my retirement plan equivalent to 10% of my salary, five weeks paid time off, money for professional development, flexible hours, the ability to work from home, and yes, my very own parking spot. To be honest, I probably could have worked there for four more years. But I wouldn’t have been happy. I had grown too much in my own leadership journey to continue to fit myself into that one role for that one organization. I would be writing a grant proposal, but daydreaming about blogging. I couldn’t wait to get home to start writing and working on my own projects. I’ve wanted to write a book for a couple of years, but could never seem to find the time to do it. I didn’t want to work myself to death and wait until my 60s to finally start living the life I want.
Yes, it was a good job. But it was time for me to be great. I was reminded, haunted really, by a question attributed to Robert H. Schuller.
What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
My answer: work for myself. Write for a living. Travel. Write some more. That’s why I majored in English. I love reading. I love writing. And what I’ve learned over the years is that I love having control of my time. All I had to do was figure out how to make that happen. I’m a dreamer, but I’m also practical. So I told myself that I wouldn’t submit my resignation until I landed an “anchor client,” or one that could provide a substantial amount of income in my first six months. I put in a bid for my first long-term contract, and guess what? I got it!
I was on my way to becoming the CEO of Me.
Yet even with the security of having an anchor client, quitting my job was a really difficult decision to make. My grandmother’s voice was full of worry when I called to tell her what I thought was my good news. “How will you make money?” she asked. “The economy is really bad right now, you know.” I was glad she couldn’t see me roll my eyes through the phone.
The bad economy has nothing to do with me. Neither does this alleged black man shortage. I got a job. And I got a man. Scarcity thinking doesn’t do anything but breed fear and desperation. I choose abundance.
And wouldn’t you know it? After I quit my job, they asked me to come back and work with them as a consultant. Life is grand.