11016317_m-leapIt seems that everything I write here lately  (all three posts of it so far)  is mostly about some dilemma I’m having.  The last post was about what to reveal and what to keep private.   This post is about knowing when you’re ready to do something more or different than what you’re doing now.   It’s the decision I’m struggling with at the moment,  and I figured the questions I’m asking myself might be useful to others who are in the same boat.

Here, in a nutshell,  is the dilemma I’m having.

I have a full time job.  It’s a decent job.   I get to do some fun things,  I have a great deal of freedom in what I do and how I get it done.   There are things I would change of course,  but it’s not the worst job in the world.    A lot of what I’m doing now,  as far as writing and speaking,  have come about as a result of this job,  so I can’t say it’s exactly holding me back.     And yet,  I can’t say it’s really pushing me forward at this point either.    I’m to the point where there are opportunities appearing that could lead to me having my own business and being my own boss.   Realistically,  it’s entirely possible.

Recently,  I wrote a post about believing in your dreams even when everyone is telling you no for another blog I write.    The gist of the post was that there will always be people who will tell you not to take a chance,  who will always advocate for playing it safe.    My advice was to follow your dream anyway,  and to try despite what others might be saying to caution you against taking that chance.    I meant what I wrote,  and I still believe it.  My problem is that I’m not sure what to do when the person who is cautioning me against making the leap is myself.

It’s not that I don’t believe in my skills,  I know I have ability and talent.  I know I can learn new things.  I believe I could sell myself  using the skills I’ve developed selling on behalf of others.   I really think I have resources and talents that are as yet untapped,  and I’d like to explore them.   The thought of being able to write and help people learn and to guide and mold my career subject to my own whims and not the whims of others is very enticing.   I also, having many friends and acquaintances who run their own businesses,  know that being your own boss isn’t all skittles and beer.  Running your own business can be stressful and sleepless, and require long hours of work.  I’m prepared for that.

What I’m not prepared for is failure.   I’ve been down and out broke and starving and I don’t want to be there again.   I can build up my savings,  but that’s the only safety net I have.    I can’t look to my family for money,  I don’t have a husband to contribute a second income while I get myself on my feet.   If I do this,  I’m on my own.    If it all goes pear shaped,  and I end up living in a van down by the river,  I’ll have no one to blame but myself.     Just like that,  my lizard brain starts hissing at me that it’s too big a risk,  that I’d be on a tightrope, and it’s better to stay safe and have a steady income than to try something that could implode spectacularly.   Just like that I’m awake at four in the morning worrying over the collapse of something I haven’t even started yet.

Here’s the part where I throw myself on the mercy of those of you who have started your own businesses –  what did you do when ol’ lizard brain started messing with you?   What made you believe you could succeed?  Did you have a safety net in case you failed?

Odds are,  at some point,  I’m going to make the leap.   I’d just really love to be sure that the cliff won’t crumble when I reach the other side.