“People can always surprise you,” my Mom quips when bad things happen. 9 times out of 10 she says this after watching the news, when there’s been a bombing or shooting or murder or robbery or especially disaster-y disaster.
Perhaps she’s right, but I prefer to think about the good ways people have surprised you.
Consider the friend who showed up with donuts and coffee when you were too tired to make breakfast.
The friend who’s been nominated twice for the Pulitzer Prize, but it’s never come up in conversation. You read it in one of his bios online this morning. (Not to worry, I sent a text and asked for the story. I can’t wait to hear…)
The friend who sends you book recommendations once a week. They’re always spot on and it isn’t easy, being a book recommender-person. (I couldn’t put this book down.)
We never quite know all the cards another person is holding. And of course, we often underestimate the cards we’re holding ourselves.
Consider the ways you’ve surprised yourself.
The ways in which you’ve overcome, pushed through, gone around, or just plain shredded the obstacles in your way.
Remember the test you nailed even though you hardly studied?
Remember your first few months of being a business owner — how shocking, how terrible, how thrilling, how utterly alive you were — remember how you survived all that?
You’ve been surprising yourself for years now, and that means your next move might be a little bit shocking. Peeps reach out to me in angst about their new direction on the regular. What if people don’t want to hire me? What if they don’t want to read my new book or watch my new videos? What if they don’t care about the nerdy things I care about? What if I’m not giving my customers enough value for the price?
Under all of it, the soft pulse of, “WHAT WILL THEY THINK OF ME!?”
If they’re not asshats, they will think you’re exploring. They’ll think you’re finding your way. They’ll think you’re fascinating and they’ll be excited to go on the ride with you. (They’ll fall away if they think anything less.)
Yes, it’s risky to change directions. It’s also risky to keep doing the thing you’ve been doing when it no longer makes you feel even the slightest bit alive.
You’re free to change course, to shift gears, and to explore.
There’s no need to make the Now thing the FOREVER thing.
You aren’t Mark Zuckerberg, you aren’t stuck managing a many-headed, multi-pronged, mega-billion dollar corporation for the foreseeable future. (And thank God for that, eh?) I love what I do, and I’m going to write a novel this year. Those J.K. Rowling dreams are calling my name. That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop writing or teaching or dreaming up crazy events or coaching peeps through Steer Your Ship. It simply means I’m making a little more space for what’s calling my name this summer.
Which dreams are calling your name? Which bits or pieces of life seem most interesting to you right now? What would you like to experiment with in the coming months?
It’s summer, so you’re free to go easy on yourself. There will be plenty of time for buckling down and doing hard work come Labor Day (get it!? LABOR Day?). This is a season made for flicking your toes around in the sand and seeing what you find.
Sand dollars. Shells. Sea slugs. Bits of deceased sea creatures, may they rest in peace. Bird tracks. Crazy creatures that only live on this beach, at this moment, so you might as well go looking.
Go digging, see what you find. And may you surprise all of us with the bounty of your next big move.
If you have a vaaaaague inkling of your next move but either a.) need help figuring out the details, b.) need to be held accountable for moving toward, c.) would like a step-by-step action plan to help get you there, or d.) all of the above — consider applying for Steer Your Ship. It’s my once-a-year program to help get your business moving in the direction of your dreams. Check it out.