I’ve made some big decisions. I’m going to lay them out here, because I want you to know about them, and because I want you to know what I’m going through to commit to them. I’m hoping that when you make big decisions like this, you’ll think of this post, and maybe it will help you see what facing big changes like this can look like.
Effective not immediately, but within 1 year:
I’m quitting the field of software development. For a while, at least. At the risk of sounding arrogant, I feel like I’ve won. I’m working at Pivotal Labs, one of the absolute best development shops in the world. I’m well respected there. It doesn’t feel like there’s any “better” I care to do. I could make more money, I could have more responsibility, but I’m not terribly interested in either of those. It’s time to try something totally new.
I’m going to become a professional coach. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a year or so. I crave connection with people and to help them realize themselves. I’ve planned to do that by helping people with productivity systems like GTD. I don’t want to commit to a method yet, but I am committing to coaching.
I’m moving to Western Massachusetts. It’s always been home. It’s where I grew up and where my wife grew up. I have a real community there. NYC is just too intense and too dirty for both of us, and we’re burnt out. What the city does have is work, but I’m not going to be doing that work anymore, so what does it matter?
When I think about these goals, my heart flutters. I’m obsessed. I can’t wait. I want to work on these all the time. As Steve Pavlina would say (in a great article I can’t find), the goals have set me. So I know I’m on the right track.
But it’s scary. No, wait. And it’s scary. So it’s scary. Because the right thing is always scary. As Seth Godin would put it, the Resistance is yammering away in my brain. My Lizard Brain is telling me all the reasons I can’t do this. So let’s put it all out there.
What am I afraid of?
People will think less of me because they realize that I’m nervous. People will think I don’t have confidence in myself, and so they won’t trust me as a coach.
- Or they’ll recognize my ability to overcome fear and want me to show them how to do it themselves.
I’ll starve because I’m giving up a position near the top of a lucrative industry to jump into the unknown.
- Yes, I have a very lucrative position right now. That doesn’t mean it’s the only line of work that will pay well.
People will think I’m crazy or stupid for the same reason.
- That’s not a just a fear, it’s a fact. The question is: Why do I care? People already think I’m weird. I am weird. If you’re not weird, you’re doing something wrong. All of my heroes are weird: ze frank, Merlin Mann, the vlogbrothers, to name a few. If I throw myself into it, I’ll earn respect on the other side for being completely myself, just as I respect all of them.
I’ll lower the standard of living for my wife, an innocent bystander.
- She’s already explicitly stated that she’ll follow me through rough times if that’s where I feel called. Everyone should be so lucky. But isn’t it interesting that this fear remains, even after she’s directly addressed it with me?
There won’t be enough work to keep me in business.
- Bullshit. Coaching? Everyone could use some coaching. I’m just scared can’t reach the people who need it. That I can get good at. That’s part of my dip.
I’ll get scared and give up.
- That’s why I’ve hired a coach: to help push me through the Dip. That’s also why I’m building a vision board. And it’s why I’m telling everyone you can about my plans. I can let my environment and my community hold me responsible.
So here we go. The reasons not to are all in my amygdalae. The reasons to are in my heart. I’m going to listen to my fortune cookie.