Of course this is figuratively speaking, but in career terms “jumping off the cliff” is the best description I can come up with. I spent the last 18 years in big firm public accounting, the last 7 as a partner at Deloitte. 5/28/16, was my last day… I left to pursue my purpose and to challenge myself to find and live the life of my dreams every day.
Months ago when I had just made the decision that I would leave Deloitte, I described what I’m doing as “jumping off the cliff without a parachute”. I was very clear that my life and career transformation would take time and I would not be actively employed or have a steady stream of income secured upon my departure… I would need time to think clearly and focus solely on my transformation to do it right.
I viewed the secure job and stream of income as the “parachute”, and without it I was making the ultimate free fall. At the time this felt both thrilling and terrifying. But more than anything, it felt like freedom. I had grown more fearful that I’d regret staying than leaving, and no matter how terrifying jumping sounded, it wasn’t as terrifying as not knowing what would happen after the leap.
As the months went by and I had more time to reflect, write, consider the future, and consider the past, I became more and more convinced that I indeed have a parachute. I made a mind shift from what needed to change to what is possible. I stopped focusing on what was wrong and started focusing on what is right.
My 18-year career in public accounting taught me more than I ever imagined… transformation, leadership, empathy, coaching, conflict resolution, cross cultural work and living, relationship building, strategic thinking, communication, teaming, working virtually… and I could go on and on. Though my trade was “tax consulting”, by the end of my career at Deloitte I had grown into a transformer who relied heavily on love, connection, and leadership to get the job done.
I’ve come to understand that there was nothing wrong with my career or life, in fact everything was right. I had learned what I was meant to learn and am now ready for the next transformation… the transformation of my career and life. I am infinitely grateful, for my parachute was carefully crafted over many years considering the many different cliffs I might find and the destinations I will need to reach. As I jump I can see glimmers of a destination and am certain that my parachute will get me there!