To Jump or Not to Jump

Try this:  Take an hour to consider your current situation and your ability to make a change if it comes along. 

Say you have a great job that you are good at and that you enjoy.  It is adequate for your financial needs.  You have potential and interest and no real intention of moving on.

Then, someone comes along and makes you an offer of something a little bigger and a little better.  It sounds good.  It sounds like something you might like to do.  But how do you decide if it is worth leaving the known for the unknown?

Or, maybe you are like more and more Americans who are the early Boomers.  You have put your time in at a decent job and now you are wondering what there is for you to do next that will both fill your time and fulfill your dreams.  You can stay where you are and comfortably continue.  Or, you can begin to explore other options and take a bit of a risk to move into the second half of your life with a new challenge

How do you make the decision to jump or not to jump?

Obviously, there is no quick and easy answer to gigantic questions like I just posed.  But there are some considerations that can help you make the decisions.

First, take a realistic look at your financial situation.  Decide if it is wise to take a risk.  Jumping without a safety net is only for the few who are very experienced.

More and more Americans are stuck in debt and a demanding life style.  If the idea of doing something new and different sounds appealing to you, begin to put yourself in the position of possibility.  Looking ahead a few years, you can make some adjustments and plans to be able to jump when the time comes.

Sacrificing today just for the experience of going without a latte is not very rewarding.  Add that skipped latte to quitting smoking or establishing a budget or taking your lunch to work and you can make a huge difference in your financial.  Skipping the latte to save $60 a month, added to another change or two, and in a few years you have money to pursue a dream or take a risk.

Next, ask some people who know you well what they think of your possibilities.  Perspective is everything and someone else’s perspective on your life is valuable if you will listen.  Someone else can ask you the questions you won’t think to ask yourself.  Someone else doesn’t care so much as you do what the answer is so they can ask the questions.

I had a coaching appointment with someone the other day who is contemplating a huge change in his life.  As we talked about it, I didn’t change any of his ideas, but I gave him several perspectives he had not considered.  I also was able to help him consider how to approach his current employer with some options that could produce a win-win situation.  Talking with someone who will listen can make things more clear in your own head, no matter what kind of advice they may offer.

And most importantly, know who you are and what you want to accomplish before you make a major change.  Rarely does making a change for the sake of change produce much lasting satisfaction.  There is the old saying, “wherever you go, remember you will be there.”  If you can establish a purpose for your life that transcends your work, then it is easy to make decisions. Does it fit with your life mission?  Will it accomplish your life goals?  Can it move you in the direction you want to head?  Having a clear “north” for your life makes determining a direction simple.

One great benefit of maturity is that you have some hindsight.  Determining your true financial situation may require a bit of retrospection.  Hearing what someone else thinks of your possibilities or dreams is based on the history of a relationship.  And having a few years of work and responsibility begins to teach you to consider what is actually, truly important to you.

To jump or not to jump is a question that deserves careful consideration, no matter how great the idea looks the first time you hear it.  Then, if you decide to jump, you can be prepared and ready for the ride.