Sprouting Wings and Taking Flight

Nineteen years ago, I did something that only a few months earlier I’d have put in the same category as sprouting wings and taking flight. Actually, I think I’d have given flying higher odds.

I quit my corporate job without a job.

My intention was to take six months off and figure out what I truly wanted to do with my life. And even though I didn’t have the foggiest idea what that would turn out to be or even how to approach the challenge, I knew I’d have huge regrets if I didn’t find the courage to try.

Who knew it was possible to sprout wings?!

My shift from impossible to possible came on the heels of helping to care for my best friend during the last months of his way-too-short life.

The fact that I was single, that my cat refused to get a job and support me, and that all sorts of people were telling me it was insane to leave a stable, well-paying job – none of these things felt like insurmountable obstacles any more.

And so I sprouted me some wings :-).

You have to take flight to get to sustainable, joyful success, fulfillment, happiness, or to achieve your potential – and anything else that’s important to you.

Whether your current journey is about getting unstuck, “leaning in” to a new professional opportunity, increasing your positive impact, or living your day the way you want to live your life, here are 10 tips to help you navigate your flight path with grace and ease.

1.  There’s a moment when it’s time to take a leap of faith.

Do your analysis, due diligence, and planning.

Then listen to your gut and make a choice to trust that you’ll land on your feet when you make your leap.

Thirteen years ago I knew it was time for another leap. I’d finally discovered my passion, but stepping into it was scary. I decided to gear myself up by taking an actual physical leap. I was in my sister’s basement, standing on the fifth step from the bottom, conjuring up my courage to jump. And suddenly a sweet, angelic voice from above me said, “Aunt Sherry, you just have to jump.”

I’d had no idea my four-year-old nephew was at the top of the stairs :-). And he was right!

2.  Plan for what-ifs if you’re not a cross-the-bridge-when-you-come-to-it kind of person.

When I decided to quit my job, I worked my way through a series of what if questions.

What if it took me longer than six months to discover how I wanted to redirect my career? What if I figured it out but didn’t have a new job in six months? And so on until I’d exhausted every what if scenario I could think of.

Once I got clear I wasn’t going to end up living on the street, my leap felt a lot less scary.

3.  Mindset matters.

In the words of Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” Thought comes first; action follows. Without action, nothing much will happen. And without a belief that you can, you’ll never take action. Choose to believe in yourself.

And as it relates to getting started …

4.  You don’t have to know everything to get started. Enough said.

5.  Nothing is set in stone.

So be brave, take a few chances, and know that if things don’t work out exactly as planned, you can always adapt to circumstances.

6.  Everything that’s happened is part of your path.

If it’s happened, by definition it’s now part of your path! Which means nothing you’ve done is a waste.

7.  Create the conditions that allow change (and amazing things) to happen.

None of us can make things happen. We can’t control the universe, and there are too many variables to keep track of.

But you can take consistent action to set yourself up for success, creating the conditions that will allow what you want to happen.

8.  The people you surround yourself with make a difference … for better or worse.

Naysayers are usually reflecting their own fears back to you. Surround yourself with the folks who support and cheer you on.

9.  Self-care isn’t a luxury, it’s a professional and personal investment.

Self-care makes you better at everything: more resilient, less stressed, and happier.

10.  Be YOU. There is no better way to be.

“The impossible is often the untried.”  -Jim Goodwin


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