A current day example I like to use is The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, where after 20 years in a no-so-rewarding job, he gets thrown into a process of downsizing, and frustrated and hopeless, he runs off onto a hopeless quest. Sometimes, it’s even more subtle.
We’ve been dreaming of venturing into something new, and wish we could just quit, but suck it up for another year or two, waiting for a better opportunity for fall into our lap. Maybe subtle opportunities and hints have popped up. One of my fellow coaches happened upon a Labrador retriever and began actively hiking in the woods to keep him engaged; which led her to taking a hunting course, and studying more about nature and environment. She’s still following the path and not sure where it’s leading her.
My friend Justin had been frustrated in his engineering job for years. He lived a colorful personal life of traveling Europe and following jazz festivals and culture events, always dreaming of organizing some kind of business to support travel and music in order to share his hobby with others. He suddenly was forced into retirement a few years early, opening the door to pursue his passion and start his business.
My knock on the door came from the outdoor program with US Army Recreation, inspired by my coworker, Mike. I eventually volunteered, leading to becoming a snowboard instructor, meeting my future husband, and discovering my gift of helping people to feel at ease out of their comfort zones. I always wanted to lead people on adventure trips as a career, but didn’t know where to start.
When the crash hit, where I became the victim of downsizing several years later, I was ready to switch from victim to hero and willingly jumped into the abyss. Still not sure where to go from there, I accepted each new assignment, sometimes not so eagerly, waiting and watching for further instructions.
Mind you, I’m still taking on new assignments, and following my journey, not sure where it will take me next.
If you’re wondering if you’re on a hero’s call, here a couple of signs to watch out for:
- you have a vague feeling that you want to do something adventurous in your life
- you keep feeling like something is tapping you on the shoulder or tugging at your sleeve
- the more you try to relax, you feel more trapped in your current situation
- you have found yourself curious or intrigued about something you’ve never been interested in before
- you’ve always longed for something, but it seemed to far out of reach
- You want to jump off the train you’re on, but are terrified of the unknown ahead of you
- Your hobby or passion is taking hold of you and you can’t imagine not doing it
So what do you do with this? I suggest you keep watching for signs, following anything intriguing that falls into your path or steers you in another direction. If you feel like you’re sold out in your current job, keep this awareness and watch for clues, reminding yourself that you don’t have to do this. There is something coming.
How do you know when it’s time to take the leap of faith? Basically, when you’re back is against the wall, and you know you can’t stay. When you know to continue on is more painful than the risk of the unknown, it’s time.
In my case, I suspected I was getting the call, but still thought I needed a safety net. “I can’t quit without a back up job, even something part-time. That would be stupid.” I really was watching for Han Solo and OB-1 to show up, with a ship. Then I was given the choice to take a cut in pay or relocate eighty miles from home. It was a move to save the company from paying severance. I knew it was time. I realized sometimes we just have to leap.
If any of this hits home for you, I’d love to talk to you. Set up a 30 minute chat with me here.