“Don’t be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated. You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps.” -David Lloyd George
“Has anybody seen Fred today,” Bill asked at exactly 8:32 am.
Following closely behind the word Fred, a strong hush quieted the common, everyday, low-level hubbub and an eerie buzz rolled through the office, washing away the Monday morning malaise. A new, crackling energy sprouted from the faces belonging to the ears that heard that name, Fred, and even those who never paid attention to office chit-chat or gossip tuned in to listen.
Bill sensed it, this shift, this odd feeling, so he asked his question again, this time with just a hint of reluctance in his lowered voice. “Uh, Fred… Any…anybody seen him…lately?”
“Fred?” asked Sally, leaning over the cubicle wall separating her domain from Bill’s. “You haven’t heard?”
“No, what? Heard what?”
“About Fred…” she said, her bulbous brown eyes bulging a bit bigger than usual.
Something about her eyes and the way she said that made Bill feel uneasy. “What, uh, what about Fred?” He sat his doughnut aside, pushed his keyboard back, and took a deep breath.
“He, he’s not here anymore,” she whispered, her voice trembling. “He— ” She stopped short, glanced around the room and then gazed into Bill’s half puzzled, half frightened face.
“What?” Bill blurted. Sally’s long, dramatic pause was just too much. “What? He what?”
“He… Fred… He jumped…”
Time travel with me back to late February 2016 and you’ll find me driving to the dojo after work on a nice, spring-like day. See me there, in that cool car coming up the road? I was about to hear something…life-changing…
For years, I’d been developing my arts, two of my deepest passions: traditional Japanese karate and science-fiction writing. I taught karate classes in the evenings two to three days a week and on Saturday mornings. I wrote on the weekends, during holiday breaks, and any vacation that I had, and at that time in early 2016, I was in the middle of my nth revision of The Hidden. I enjoyed teaching and training and working on my books, but felt that I was getting nowhere, that my potential in both areas was not flourishing as I knew it could. So, driving to the dojo that day, I was seeking wisdom, I was praying, asking how I could write more and teach more and do both at a higher level. I asked that question, reached over and turned the radio down and listened. Just as I reached the dojo, I heard, not audibly, but internally as clear as a bell, as loud as thunder, “You could do this full-time…”, meaning, I could teach full-time (and thereby write full-time).
“You could do this full-time…” That’s what I heard. More important, I felt it, deep, deep inside the within.
Now, understand this, I never, never considered teaching full-time and there are many reasons for that, some valid, some less so, but when I heard this, an enlightening vision captured me. My heart rate doubled. My eyes glazed over. A weird, goofy grin covered my stunned face. After classes, I went home and started drafting a detailed “Jump Plan”, and over the next several days, created multiple spreadsheets, I researched, I read, and I wrote and rewrote the plan and soon realized that what I wanted to do…was impossible.
But I also realized that I had to try, that I had to continue developing, and then follow, the plan. Life is too damn short not to try something so outrageous, something that truly lights you up. Besides, if I failed, it would probably hurt but I could always find another job. But, if I succeeded…
And so, with my Jump-date set for February 14th, 2017 (i.e. the date on which I’d give my two-weeks notice), I went at it, hard. I took online classes and I busted out some old books and ordered some new ones to help me on this journey (see short book list at end of this blog). I took off like a rocket, hitting some of my predetermined milestone targets right off, but missing others. Then missing more, many, too many in fact. Why? Because:
With all of that, by mid to late October 2016, I decided to push the Jump off to June 2017. A summer Jump made more sense anyway, I reasoned.
Then, in November, we had a meeting at work and the powers-that-be clued us in on something we’d all had been noticing, sensing, for quite a while: business ain’t good. Before that year, business had been great, really great, super great. But things changed. It was an informative meeting, maybe a bit disturbing, but no one seemed to be all that worried. In fact, we didn’t hear much else about the downturn after that.
Fast-forward to January 2017, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, to be exact. I’d enjoyed a really good three-day weekend, taught great classes and made massive progress with the novel, and just felt great, but I also caught something, a cold or mild case of the flu, so by Monday evening, I wasn’t feeling well. Tuesday morning came and I decided to call in and stay home that day, so I rolled out of bed at my regular time, emailed my boss, and went back to sleep for another hour or two. When I got up, I recalled having a strange dream. In the dream, I was walking around the campus at work, and everyone was nervous and frantic, repeating this question: “Have you updated your resume yet? Have you updated your resume yet?!?” I was strolling down the stairs when a colleague asked me this pointblank. I just shrugged and answered, “Nah man, I got other plans…”
Strange dream, but just a dream.
I recovered and went to work the next day and as usual, got there an hour early. I liked to spend that time checkin’ emails, drinking hot tea and eating breakfast in the quiet, often dark, pre-work realm of my cubicle. As I scrolled through my emails I saw one that HR sent out the day before while I was at home, a message entitled, “Voluntary Separation Program”…
Holy crap… What the freak…?
Well, crap and freak aren’t exactly the words I used at the time, but I opened the email and yeah, said crap and freak again. The company was, in order to help the business regain its former strength, making some dramatic shifts and they were offering a generous separation package to anyone willing (and eligible) to take it. My heart rate doubled. My eyes glazed over. A weird, goofy grin covered my stunned face. This was it, the window of opportunity had presented itself when just a few weeks before, I hit a new level of frustration, feeling that something had to give, and it had to give soon. Well it gave, and longer story shortened, February 14th, 2017, the date on which I was to give my two-week notice as written in the original Jump Plan I created in March 2016, was my last day, the day I jumped.
Interesting how things work out. There are no coincidences. Nothing just happens. And sometimes, weird dreams occur for a reason. There is a Plan, despite our plans. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
What has happened since the Jump? A whole bunch of stuff, so stay tuned, there’s more coming soon in “After Fred Jumped…”
Some said he gave up. Some said he surrendered. Others said he failed. Most said he fell. But when Fred stepped up to the edge, when he jumped, when he leapt off of that cliff, he hadn’t given up, and he didn’t fail or fall—he flew.
And he did not look back.
Here are just a few of the books that I’ve found helpful of late. I highly recommended them, whether you are contemplating a massive leap-of-faith or simply would like to change your mindset and take your life to the next level.
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
- The Magic of Big Thinking by David J. Schwartz
- You are a Badass by Jen Sincero. Go with the audio CD set read by the author; you’ll be glad you did.
- Power v. Force by Dr. David Hawkins
If you are considering a jump, or you have already leaped, please comment and share your story. Jumpers, unite!
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