How to Jump Into the Unknown

I talked to a friend today who’d been offered a new job in a position--and he asked me, “How do you jump into the unknown without knowing if I’ll fail or not?” He told me about his fear of failure being bigger than his desire to win, and the idea that things are too good to be true when there aren’t enough con’s to the pro’s...well that’s a great way to live life--always looking for the “cons” to reaffirm your notion that something is too good to be true (note the sarcasm). I also asked him how his life will be if he continues to choose only the situations where he knows he can’t lose...

I then invited him to put how it looks on his resume to the side, put the big paycheck aside, look away from “how does this help me and my career”--and instead into the amazing impact he could have on not just a select number of people on a small team, but on an entire team... When we’re called into a higher level, focusing inward truncates our potential for impact, while focusing outward on opportunities to serve then opens up limitless opportunities for growth and contribution. With that first step, we have to know and trust that we have within ourselves everything we need, or at least we have access to people who have all the resources we’ll need in order to follow through on our commitments.


Here are a few more ideas when embarking on a new and unknown path: 

  • You won’t do it perfectly.

“Oh great, thanks for that nugget of wisdom,” you say. Well, let’s face it, you won’t. And we need to acknowledge that as well as the fact that that’s ok. It’s like becoming a parent (so I hear)--you’ll never be truly “ready” or fully prepped for all that’s about to come your way, no matter what you do or read beforehand. And no parent has ever raised a kid “perfectly.” But somehow, year after year, children keep coming along and first-time parents make it through. You’ll make it through too. 

  • Get yourself around people playing a higher game. 

Business and life speaker Jim Rohn astutely said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. So as you embark on your journey, whatever it may be, grab a few friends who are playing the game you want to be playing (whether it be in career, finance, fitness, romance, or spirituality), and talk with them, ask them questions, and then... try this, listen. Like, really listen. Take what resonates and start experimenting with it in your life. And make sure one of those people is someone you can call late at night when you’re having a meltdown of “I can’t do this!” My brother Johnny was my go-to for many a day/night when I was in transition from quitting my 9-5 career into crafting my next steps. His wisdom, humor, encouragement, living example, and support was absolutely essential to my progress. Go find yourself a Johnny. :)  

  • Write out your vision for yourself in that new position. 

I do this a lot, and it’s not restricted to just taking a new job. I even did that when I moved to Dallas--I wrote out the impact I wanted to have in the community, how I wanted to engage with my new community of friends I hadn’t even met yet, and what role I wanted to play in that new city. 

  • Your lack of belief in yourself is the only thing holding you back. 

The idea that you’re not ready is only idea, a belief. 

                             /bi ‘lef/ : an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.

So a belief is just the “acceptance” that something is true, not a fact that it is. So any belief that “I’m not good enough,” “I don’t know enough yet,” “I’m not a leader of (fill in the blank),” is just a story that you tell yourself about yourself. That doesn’t mean it’s true. Like the wise woman Marie Forleo says, “Everything is figure-out-able.” Just google it, and figure it out along the way. :) 

My friend was very afraid of failing. Guess what, so am I. But there’s great power in the quote, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” Sure, feel that fear. Swim in it for heaven’s sake. But don’t let it keep you from doing what you’re made to be doing. That’s exactly what the “Resistance” (as Steven Pressfield discusses in his book, The War of Art)  wants is to keep us scared, complacent, just satisfied enough to stay in the area of “good” when we are so incredibly capable of something truly Great.

And I’ll leave you with this idea: you can drive from New York to California in the dark, with just being able to see the 200 feet in front of you. Just take that first step, and then...figure out the next one.