This photo was taken two years ago as Wendy, Jesse and I walked to our car and drove away from Gwinnett Church toward this new season. (Cole was away at school.)
So many of you are finding yourself in a similar situation. I know that first-hand as I travel around on my book tour and talk to you. (Nashville, I’ll see you Monday.)
You’re wondering whether you should venture out, stay where you are, or where to even begin.
In light of this two-year anniversary, I thought I would share a few thoughts, lessons and musings I’ve had along the way. If you’re trying to figure out what to do next, or know someone who is, I hope this helps.
* Free-falling. Two years ago, I felt like one of those cliff jumpers — you know, those guys that strap on a parachute, then run and jump off a cliff. I’ve never done that before (and never will.) But I’ve seen the videos and could relate to the idea of free-falling. I went from structure, routines, getting paid every two weeks, working on several teams to a leap into the unknown. At some point, I thought the free-falling feeling would stop, the low-level hum of anxiety I feel would go away, and I would be yanked back to certainty by the pull of the parachute.
I mentioned this to a small group of entrepreneurs and friends this week who’ve been doing this a lot longer than I have. Each one of them smiled. Silence. Then one of them said, “Jeff, it doesn’t go away. But don’t look down anticipating the ground to appear. Look up and look around. You aren’t falling. You’re flying.”
* Keep a few things in mind. During this season, I re-read Ryan Holiday’s book, The Obstacle is the Way. On Page 18, he listed 8 things to keep in mind when facing an obstacle, or in this case, a new season or new challenge.
We must try:
1. To be objective.
2. To control emotions and keep an even keel.
3. To choose to see the good in a situation.
4. To steady our nerves.
5. To ignore what disturbs or limits others.
6. To place things in perspective.
7. To revert to the present moment.
8. To focus on what can be controlled.
When you keep these things in mind, you begin to see the opportunity in the obstacle.
* Build the business around a problem not an idea. I’m an idea person. I love them. I’m fascinated about the creative process and how people come up with ideas. But, if I’m not careful, I can create an idea that goes looking for a problem. I was reminded of this while listening to an interview with the co-founder of Netflix. “We didn’t fall in love the idea of Netflix. We fell in love with the problem Netflix could solve.” What problem could your idea, message or organization help solve? Fall in love with the problem.
* Regrets, I’ve had a few. The one person who expected me to get this transition 1,000% right was me. Perhaps you can relate. I am my own worst critic, and my inner critic has little time understanding the circumstances and situations of a season of transition. I’ve had to learn to give myself grace by asking questions such as, “What am I learning?” and “What is the Lord trying to reveal to me about me?”
I’m confident those two questions could help you too.
There’s a lot more I could share but that’s actually why I wrote What to do Next. You can buy the book below.
But, before I end, I want to say thank you for all of you who have supported, encouraged, invited and believed in me and this journey.
Here’s to Year #3.