In my previous blog Are You Masking Your Heart’s Passion?, I talked about how people sometimes wear a mask to hide their “true self” at home or at work. Today, I’ll share some observations about what happens when a person decides to take off their mask, follow their heart’s passion, and take a giant leap of faith into the unknown. It is called Life After the Leap, and hopefully it might provide food for thought if you are thinking about making a big change in your work or personal life.
As part of the work force today, the odds are that you will be changing jobs frequently throughout your career. This constant coming and going creates fertile ground for inner reflection and at times, sets the stage to make a bold career move or leap of faith into the unknown.
So, what happens after you follow your heart and take a magic carpet ride into uncharted terrain? In most cases, there is a transition or gestation period where new work and personal patterns form and old work and personal patterns dissolve. The tricky part is that for a while, they are both happening at the same time (gasp!).
On a self-management note, it is also very likely that you will fit into one of four common Life after the Leap scenarios. If you are aware of and plan for possible scenarios, the process of navigating through them is much easier. Come to think of it, this is where you can also put your project management skills into action because Life after the Leap is definitely a project … and the project is YOU.
Here are four common scenarios that I’ve observed most people pass through as they wrestle with leaving old patterns and cuddle up to shiny new ones:
Scenario 1: Boom & Bust
About 25% of people hit the ground running after taking a leap of faith and then slowly lose momentum. Basically, they use up all the gas in their tank preparing for their life or work change and forget to think about the landing side of the leap. If this sounds like you, building in time to regroup and regenerate might be a good idea.
Scenario 2: Seesaw
About 10% of people freeze after their leap of faith and falter, often taking one step forward and two steps back. This stage often swings like a pendulum between self-doubt and self-confidence until the equation eventually moves to a more manageable two steps forward and one step back. If this sounds like you, then a deep breath and perspective will be your new best friends.
Scenario 3: Get Me Out of Here!
About 20% of people have a wide-eyed stare, panic, and then quickly attempt to scramble back up the cliff that they have just leaped from … which, as you can imagine, takes a lot of energy and some time to recover from … it also has a comical aspect, so if you are able to laugh at yourself, this is a good place to apply it!
Scenario 4: Built-to-Last
About 45% of people put extra gas in the Life after the Leap gas tank before their leap of faith, pace themselves, and are well-positioned to embrace the next step of the self-discovery process. If this sounds like you, then sustaining the balance that you have successfully achieved will be your challenge.
Like any new personal growth opportunity in life or at work, the more often you leap off the cliff (take a risk, believe in yourself, follow your heart) , the better you become at preparing, leaping, and dealing with the aftermath. As an aside, I’ve observed that the percentage of people experiencing the Built-to-Last scenario often increases from 45% to 70% by the second life or work leap of faith. Yes!
Considering a Leap?
If you are considering making a big life or work change, please ask yourself “Do I have enough gas in my tank to sustain my post-leap of faith?
The life expanding experience of taking a leap of faith in any area of your life doesn’t end when your toes touch the ground and you exhale in delight. Planting your toes on the ground simply sets you up for the transition or gestation energy stage…a place where familiar energetic structures are revamped, emotions run tender, and beliefs percolate to the surface to be challenged and reset. It is a place where endurance, stamina and perspective can be excellent allies.
To help you navigate the Life After the Leap stage successfully, invest in life supporting structures such as honest, compassionate self-talk, surround yourself with inspiring people and books, connect with nature’s grounding heartbeat, and consider engaging the services of a trained professional such a life coach or similar facsimile.
Here’s a great quote to start you on your journey:
“A ship in the harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.” – Grant M. Bright