Five Reasons to Make a Bold Move Now

Twenty-five years ago I lost my best friend Paul to AIDS. A piece of my heart will always be broken. The rest of me though is filled with gratitude for his years of friendship, our many adventures, and his life-changing impact.

A few weeks before Paul died, he told me he was struggling with a decision: whether or not to discontinue his treatments. He was ready to go, but feared that rather than hastening his death, he’d just get worse (as unimaginable as that was) and continue to linger.

As he spoke, it struck me that this is what it looked like to be down to your absolute last choice. The force of that realization felt like a physical blow.

For years I’d wanted to pivot away from my career in finance and accounting, but couldn’t answer the question, “Pivot to what?” I was a single woman in my thirties with a mental list filled with reasons why NOW wasn’t the right time to contemplate that kind of change.

But in that moment, my mental list disintegrated.

Suddenly, what had previously felt uncomfortable, scary, or downright impossible, paled in comparison to the thought of ending up never having had the guts to find a more satisfying career.

I’ve never lost the clarity of that moment of choice. I could choose to get out of my comfort zone, or I could choose regret.

A few hours later, I told Paul that I’d decided to take a six-month sabbatical and figure out how I really wanted to live my life. And yes, I was still that same single women in my thirties (with a cat who was never going to seek gainful employment to support me). 🙂

Although I didn’t know it then, I was forever changed for reasons well beyond that one decision.

Far more profound was the discovery that making a bold move doesn’t mean instant dramatic action: the time to start a bold move comes long before it’s time to leap.

Truth is, most bold professional moves don’t actually start with a leap, but with a series of small steps and lots of practice.

My first small step, broken down into even tinier steps, was to put together a serious savings plan that would enable me to leave my job in eight months. As for practice – there was no shortage of things I needed to practice: getting comfortable with discomfort, saying no to my short-term desires in order to say yes to my savings goal, and choosing trust over worry.   

When the moment arrived to actually resign – to leap – it didn’t feel like standing at the edge of a cliff, but more like having already hiked partway down the mountain, facing a manageable jump I knew I could take.

So if you’ve been holding off on making a bold move until you have more time, space, courage, knowledge, confidence, or all your ducks in a row – waiting for the perfect time to leap – you can take off that pressure. 🙂

Whatever your bold move (new job, get promoted, shine in current role/business, show up differently, take a leap, transition to your next career step or professional move … if it feels bold to you, then it’s a bold move!), how do you know when NOW is the time to get started?

  1. You have a bold move you’ve been wanting to make/dreaming about, and the desire hasn’t lessened. No matter how often you push the thought away, it keeps coming back.
  2. You can’t shake the feeling that you’re capable of more – more impact, responsibility, fulfillment, [fill in your word] – but fear holds you back from going for it.
  3. You’ve been in an extended cycle of “getting ready to be ready”, either waiting till you have every “i” dotted or “t” crossed, or everything else off your plate before you can begin.
  4. Your inner critic shouts, “WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?” every time you entertain the idea, or point a toe toward the path, of truly owning what you want. Our inner critics hate it when we listen to our wise selves, the part of us that knows our desires. 
  5. You can’t shake the question, “If not now, when?” 

Are you ready to get going with your bold move? It starts with a choice to begin.

Be brave about it. Be stubborn about it. Be the hero of your own story. But most importantly, begin. ~ Elizabeth Gilbert