A friend of mine is making his final pitch tomorrow. In a job that he's grown tired of, and quite frankly is far too talented for, he's going to the powers-that-be (and I use the word powers very lightly) to see if he can get funding for a project that interests him. The chance to work on this project is the only reason he would stay at the job. Otherwise, he's leaving to get his own business going. His bravery inspires me.
My friend has been looking to make this move for a while, though like so many he wanted to do the reasonable, responsible thing in a difficult economy. At a time when so many are out of work, he was nervous about voluntarily leaving his job. As much as some economists will tout that the recession is over, there are many dissenting voices who say it will be a long, slow climb out of this hole. So what changed for my friend? How did he make a change within his own mind when little around him has changed? Where did his boldness come from?
"Well, Christa, I have nothing left to lose now," he told me today. "This is the only project on the table that interests me and if I can't work on it, then I've got to make myself useful somewhere else. I just can't stay where I am anymore."
On the phone today, I was bursting with pride for my friend. He flipped that switch, recognized and embraced his own talents, and recognized how they could be used in his current situation. More importantly, he realized that if his gifts couldn't be utilized where he is then he has to make use of them somewhere else. Leaving them unused is no longer an option in his own heart.
To be sure, in the last few weeks leading up to this decision he has at times felt completely terrified. I'd argue that this means he's really on to something here. It's amazing what we can accomplish when we realize that the direction of our lives really is up to us.