Friday, February 12, 2010

The Leap

Today, I told my employer that I am taking an offer to work with another firm.

The news has not come out yet--there is the issue of how to announce, whom to tell and when. There is a sense that the message can be controlled, when of course it really can't. I will honor that request--I have no desire to burn any bridges.

But the question arises--why leave? Why now?

Seth Godin talks about "The Dip", which is part about knowing when to quit, and part about knowing when not to. And the idea that permeates this short but very readable book is that those who succeed are those who stick through the hard work of  The Dip. There is a point where you are doing more work than others are, where you are moving from mere competence (which is widespread) to mastery (which is not). Not many people make it through The Dip, so those who do are very valuable.

Conversely, there are times when sticking with something is just a dead end, a cul-de-sac. The trick is to know which is which. To see if there is value in what you are working so hard to do.

You cannot know this in advance. But there is a "knowing" that is there in the moments when the lizard brain is quiet. For me, even though I hear the lizard brain chattering away, making this change feels like the next step on the journey toward ever-elusive mastery. I have done this before--I have changed jobs within the same company, I have relocated, I have changed areas of expertise. And each time there is a combination of excitement and fear.

It is too easy to get into a rut, to dig in while the world changes around us. It feels safe, and it might be safe for awhile. But the world changes, whether we want it to or not. Wayne Gretzky said that to succeed, you skate to where the puck is going to be. This is my attempt to do that.

Here's to the leaps, large and small, that we make each day.


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