Gallery window in Downtown LA
Six years ago, I dreamed of leaving my full-time, high-stress job to start consulting. I told very few people; most were supportive. But a couple of them did their very best to dissuade me, saying:
“Do you know how hard it is to get health insurance? You’ll never be able to get it on your own.”
“Well, if you want to hustle for clients for a while, that’s your choice.”
“Do you really want to work twice as hard for half as much money?”
And their questions weren’t totally off base. Yes, for the first six months I struggled to get health insurance (and I still worry about what will happen to my coverage if healthcare reform is repealed). Yes, I spent a year taking whatever work came my way. Yes, I initially worked twice as hard for half my full-time salary.
But these were only temporary problems. They worked themselves out over the course of a year, as I persevered. But if I’d listened to my naysayers, I would have waited at least that year working a job that I hated before I made the move to consulting. I would have lost a year to fear when I could have been working on my dream instead.
This year, I have a new dream. It’s big and scary and requires me to leave a lot of my current, comfortable life behind. This time, I’ll be much more careful about who I share it with. I want it to grow and develop without threat of death. I want it to grow strong before it’s questioned.
My point is this: protect your dream. Treat it like a seedling, with gentle watering and not-too-harsh sunlight. Protect it from the people who will question it, belittle it, tell you you can’t or won’t or shouldn’t do it. It’s a dream. Odds are, you already know what can go wrong. Instead, figure out how to get started, identify potential traps (and solutions) and surround yourself with people who only want to see you succeed.