I received an overwhelming number of notes of “thumbs up” and congratulations when I shared that I have recently started a new chapter of my professional life – doing what I love, what I believe in and what I choose to. I decided to leave behind the chains of corporate demands and luxuries. Naturally, this came with questions…What helped me to take the decision, how long did I take to make this move? Was it scary?
This got me reflecting. If this was something I knew I wanted and have often talked about, then why didn’t I make the change any sooner?
My career path has never been strait-jacket and I would often describe it as a “dog’s breakfast”. It was colorful – just like a box of different crayons. Each crayon was a career move, a career experience and life moments that helped me “paint” another canvas of opportunity.
I embraced the challenge to change and made the decision to change – sometimes without thinking it through. The canvas did not always turn out what I had in mind but more importantly, it was a learning experience. So, should I have made the move sooner?
Habit, experiences and familiarity can be nemesis of change. Overthinking, over planning and overprotecting my “WHY” and not surrendering to spontaneity, it was all happening. Desirability bias was occupying my vision of what could be. I knew and I was aware.
Lo and behold, I have been a fat cat nesting in the valley of familiarity, enjoying the warmth of the known, believing in the illusion of stability and debating innocuously my doubts or hopes.
Clearly, this does not sound like wisdom with age. Instead, it seems like a state of paralysis. Maybe, the word ‘change’ has become too big, too hairy and too scary. I was lacking the courage to leave my nest of familiarity.
“If knowledge is power, knowing what we don’t know is wisdom.” Quoting from Adam Grant’s new book, Think Again, I realized that I was giving it too much of the power of knowledge and had become captivated by the oldest emotion, fear.
Sadly, the moment of enlightenment did not have the melodramatic effect of a remote retreat or a volcanic hike I was hoping for but was it was ostensibly and simply a “AHA” moment.
It was firmamental, I reframed. I unlearned. I acknowledged that fear was not going away. I needed to talk myself out of fear.
I reconnected with my passion, what I love doing and what I miss doing. I became curious about the future and began to see change as growth.
Growth enabled experimentation. It was a positive experience and it fired up ideas and creativity within me that enabled me to paint the canvas of this new chapter. A combination of growth and curiosity allowed me to flick a switch and grow the desire to understand and to try.
However, growing didn’t mean that I had to throw away my box of crayons. Instead, my new journey will add add more colors, more crayons into my box. So, bring on the canvas of life opportunities.
The decision to make a change, however long it took, was uplifting and emancipating because I am growing again, with the rainbow of hope and new beginnings.