Throughout this year, several bloggers will engage in a conversation here and on their blogs — asking questions of each other and responding. Others are absolutely welcome to join the conversation, as well. Learn more about the ladies of Blogversation 2012.
I had such a wild 2011, a year of such intense personal and professional transformation, that it’s hard to point to a single lesson.
If I’m to choose one, though, I’d go with this: There are only two motives in life, fear and love. Don’t let fear be my guide.
Around this time last year, I learned my position was being eliminated. This was a good job at a company I’d moved us to New York for, and I faced unemployment in the middle of a recession.
My money anxiety lurks just below the surface on a normal day, and possible unemployment turned it into something like panic and depression. What if I couldn’t find another job? What we couldn’t make a go of it in New York?
Then I took a deep breath, with much help from my husband, John. He pointed out we had money in savings for a rainy day, and if this was it, we’d be fine. I could figure out what was next without fear of us missing a rent payment. I had a good education, a good resume, a good network. If I had to find a new job, I had reason to hope for the best.
Once I cleared the fear a little, I could see clearly enough to throw my Hail Mary pass — I proposed that instead of laying me off, my company create a new part-time position for me. I laid out the financials of how I’d work to grow revenue enough to more than cover the cost of my salary.
To their great credit, the bosses listened with an open mind. They said yes, and even agreed to a provision that I mostly work from home.
I was elated. This arrangement gave me the security of a steady paycheck at a job I love with the time to start doing consulting work.
Then it got better. If I could work from home in Brooklyn, why not New Orleans? John and I spent two months in New Orleans in the spring and another month in the fall, long enough to really sink in to the place and feel what it’s like to live in a special, unique place.
I’m not sure any of this would have happened if I’d kept my full-time job. I’m too responsible, too practical, to walk away from steady work, but when it wasn’t going to be there anyway, what did I have to lose by trying something radically different?
How do I take that into 2012? By examining my life for places where I’m clinging to the shore and to ask, as John often does, what’s the worst that could happen? Very few risks that appeal to me are fatal so why not try a few? Some might flop, but some might work, and I’ll never know if I don’t try.
Here are some posts I wrote previously about taking the leap into semi-entrepreneurship:
- Reflecting on forks in the road, on being conservative or taking a leap
- Feel the fear and do it anyway
- Are you willing to be really, really lucky?
What’s one thing you learned in 2011 or one experience you had in 2011 that you’re happy to carry with you into 2012? Why was it significant to you?