“One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.”
Recently, I gave a Professional Destiny talk at the Stanford Women’s Group of the East Bay. When you’re with a group of such talented and astute women, you can expect to get some great questions. And I did!
One of my favorites was when I was asked about my scariest point of transition from corporate executive to consultant, coach and author. It brought me back right to the heart of the matter.
My answer was that the first time I made the change was the hardest – by far – because I had no idea what to expect. It’s uncomfortable to step away from the known and into the unknown. It’s like a ship leaving harbor to venture out into the open sea.
So many of us are bound by golden handcuffs that make us feel secure, even if we’re not entirely happy. We don’t know exactly who we will be without our work identity and reputation. We don’t know what our future will look like, and we’re not sure how to proceed. We wonder if we will ever make money again. Or, if we’ll even recognize ourselves when we’re through. It’s a disconcerting journey – and definitely not for the faint of heart.
One of the hardest things to get used to is not knowing how long our term of transition from one point to the next will last. This applies to many life changes including a change in profession. For example, if we’re in the midst of career transition (whether voluntary or involuntary) we often have no idea how long we’ll have to be in this provisional existence. When will we cross the sea, so to speak, and get from here to there?
If we could know we would have a happy ending tomorrow, we would be fine. Yet, there’s no known date for things to get better and we wonder if our current uncertainty will be endless. But it’s all part of the journey. And that brings me to another favorite quote:
"A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for." ~ William Shed
When contemplating change, sometimes we simply have to remember, that just as ships are not built to stay in the harbor, neither are we.
Valerie Hausladen is a nationally recognized author, speaker and consultant
for both Fortune 100 and entrepreneurial companies. At ProfessionalDestiny.com,
Valerie frequently blogs about her favorite subject: helping people discover the
career they were born for. Her new book, Professional Destiny (available
at Amazon.com), resonates with those passionate about discovering
fulfillment and purpose in their professional lives.
Reprinted with permission by Valerie Hausladen, copyright 2011.