Leadership

Why I Quit (Playing Golf)

I quit my job in January of 2009. I had that job for 15 years.

People warned me the timing was all wrong. I was worried about making a big mistake. A couple of months into my transition, fear and panic set it. I considered calling my old boss to beg for that job back. I resisted and called a mentor instead to ask for his advice on entrepreneurial success. In truth, I didn’t care all that much about success. I was more interested in survival.

We met for breakfast. He candidly shared that my survival was unlikely.

He outlined a more likely scenario. “It’s much more likely you’ll spin your wheels, spend most of your savings and in a couple years struggle to re-enter the job market at your previous level of income and responsibility.”

I lost my appetite.

He continued. “I can also assume you aren’t interested in the likely scenario. That you intend to defy the odds?”

Of course, I said. Whatever it takes.

“Then approach this moment like your life depends upon it. Because it does.”

Solid advice. Of course, the advice wasn’t literal — it certainly wasn’t life or death. However, it was my opportunity to create the kind of life I wanted to live. In order to capitalize, I needed to focus.

What distractions could I eliminate? What additional expenses could go? What excuses was I making? What was I really afraid of? What else was I going to quit?

We made lists. A few of the things that landed on my “quit list” were:

  • Playing golf.
  • Dining out.
  • Shopping.
  • Watching TV.
  • Driving to work (I’ll admit the walk wasn’t that far, but it gets really, really cold in Minnesota).
  • Interviewing for jobs (quitting my Plan B was an essential mind shift that helped me focus on moving forward).

“Whatever it takes” was suddenly looking a lot more specific. That exercise was an important one. I needed to shake up my routines and shake off a little of the big-company approach to business. I didn’t need balance in my life. I needed momentum in my business. This was a very specific moment when a much deeper level of commitment was going to be required to break through. Reinvention takes work.

This is also a very specific moment in time. Are you resolved for something different? What could you quit to create some space for the consistent effort and action required to move you further and faster in the direction you desire?

If career change is something you’re considering, the case for quitting your job — without a backup plan might be worth the read.

I offered my own perspective and a deeper dive into my own career transformation in a conversation with Ryan Hawk on The Learning Leader Show.

We also discuss:

  • Habits that separate world-class performers and high achievers.
  • The importance of curiosity and focus on self-improvement.
  • How to implement coaching you receive.
  • Action planning tips to create the new big breakthrough in your business or career.

Listen to our conversation here.

Committing to self-improvement is the best kind of investment you can make.

When you’re open to learning new things, getting a little uncomfortable and willing to put in consistent effort, it’s easier to navigate change and explode forward in an entirely new direction. When I get stuck or hit a plateau, it’s usually because I have relaxed on my own learning. I know my next big breakthrough is one step outside my comfort zone.