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Mind the GAP Between Where You Are and Where You Want to Be


This is a Daryl Lu original brought to you by Microsoft PowerPoint. No judging. Work with what you've got!
I’ve been posting all these Quotes of the Week on Facebook, Twitter, etc. that are meant to be inspirational. Many of those as well as the blogs I’ve been reading have been about motivating/ inspiring those to quit their jobs in favor of ones that fit their passions. Or at least, pursue a future where you can be happy both professionally and personally – fits your values. UGA alum and recent TEDx’er Barrett Brooks says to pursue that job you say “TGIM” – Thank God It’s Monday, rather than Friday (TGIF). I like that idea, though, I’d suggest having that feeling everyday.

So, after all these ghostly voices telling you to pursue something greater, you’re ready to take the leap, right? No? Why not? Everyone’s telling you to. C’mon… Heck, I have a friend who just informed her grad school she’s dropping out to pursue her passion in singing. Ready? Set? GO!

Okay, okay, so let me fill in the gap – where you are, THE GAP, and actively entrenched in your passion. Yes, that GAP where you either are about to leap, in the air of your leap, or just leaped. What should you do?
  • Have a Personal Kumbayah Session. That is, take some time out of your “busy” day to realize who you are. When you’re making a leap either into foreign territory/ on your own, it’s important to do a little introspection so you hone in on what you want to do, who you’re looking to connect with, why you’re doing this, etc. This is also great to figure out if the voices in your head will bring you actual happiness (and all that hoopla) or if you’re actually hearing voices your therapist should know about.
  • Unify Your Marketing Message. I’m actively helping a startup right now whose message is a bit fragmented. As the startup looks to scale, it’s really important to unify the message for investors, customers, users, etc. From your Kumbayah, bring everything together with a succinct message so you can start marketing who you are to the masses and, especially, those who matter.
  • Build Your Brand. In my eyes for entrepreneurs, wannabe singers, dreamers, etc., you should start producing and sharing whatever it is you believe in. I started blogging a couple years ago because I wanted to be a leader in not only companies, but in industries. However, I already had great experiences to share, and shouldn’t need to wait till I was in my 40’s with several gray hairs to be valuable. First of all, I’m 29, and realized that my hair’s already thinning so gray hairs may never come. So start blogging, tweeting, singing on YouTube/ open mics, etc. Start building your brand and an audience. It gives you a “home” to fall back on and share with others, digital or otherwise.
  • Ask for Help or the How-To. I’m a big proponent of networking and reaching out to others and asking for help. I used to be pretty introverted and hated asking for help. However, people WANT to help you. If you’re going to go out and really change course, you’ll likely need help from others – partners, investors, or even potential customers. I’ll reach out to those who have been “there” and those who are where I want to be. You’ll be surprised with how small the world is and maybe find the new, exciting opportunity you’ve been craving for. Go to conferences. Go to meet-ups. Meet people. Volunteer!
  • Put Together a Plan. A lot of the above doesn’t quite lead anywhere if you don’t have some goals to achieve, and that’s why it’s always good to put together a plan with specific goals for what you want to accomplish. When you hit the goals, do a mini celebration, and continue on. Just remember, your plan is living and breathing and much like your journey, will need to adapt and be flexible, but don’t get carried away with delaying for the sake of flexibility.
  • Jump When You’re Ready. Or Not. I love the sink or swim mentality sometimes. When you’re backed into a corner, you have no choice, but to fight to survive. That’s why I love going full-time on a startup. A buddy from college was tired from consulting and booked a one-way ticket to Iceland and a 7-month sabbatical from work. When he returned, he quit the job, and is now pursuing his passion writing, traveling, and speaking -- his story here on the Huffington Post.It’s rare you’ll ever be fully “ready”, but you’ll likely be ready enough. Refer to Jeff Bezos’ Regret Minimization Framework.
So what’s the point with all of this? Not everyone is an entrepreneur at heart or is ready for a startup’s demanding schedule and uncertainty (or to be a singer). But if you’ve got that pull to change direction or a great idea you want to explore, there’s certainly a lot of steps you can do to make that gap a little smaller as you decide to take that leap, should you choose to. I like to take calculated risks, so I hope this helps mitigate the size of the GAP for you. Happy leaping!

What other advice would you give to someone facing the Leap? How could someone narrow the Gap and position him/ herself for a successful pivot?

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