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In the last few years, I’ve been doing a lot of jumping out of the boat. “A lot” is a relative term, but since said jumping includes exiting from a marriage and leaving a good job, then I think it counts as a lot. There are people who see both these actions as why-the-hell-would-you-even-think-to-do-that types of behaviour, so to some, it’s downright insane.

I’ve already written about the process leading up to and the actual jump. Both are labourious and gut-punchingly difficult. But I believe that if you want something to happen, you have to ignite the starting fire yourself. Nothing is going to just happen. That only occurs in bad movies and heavily-edited social media stories that go viral.

As a result of my leaving my good job in search of something even gooder, I ended up in a not-so-good one. Not for me anyway. It was a calculated risk. While it didn’t feel like the best fit, I recognized the discomfort as a process of learning and weathered it as best I could until I got laid off a couple of weeks ago. Not a huge surprise. In jumping out of a sturdy boat into a wobbly one, it was inevitable that I should capsize and find myself in the water.

It would be so easy to throw some sharks or piranha into this dreadfully metaphor-laden post, but that would be unnecessary and twee. The fact is, I have a wonderful and highly-appreciated support network, the weather is fine, and the water is warm… with opportunity.

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A few weeks ago, I met up with a prospective employer. Since he chose to have us meet at a coffee shop, I looked him up first so that I’d be able to recognize him. I told him what I’d be wearing and gave him a general self-description. Short of arriving with a rose in my teeth, it was pretty much like a blind date.

Once you’ve done a few of these chats, you know what to expect. You’ve got your conversation cannon preloaded with answers to questions you know are going to be asked. They start taking on qualities of a well-practised dance routine: a 5 6 7 8, question there, answer here, nod, nod, nod, and smile! Give example, back up point, a touch of disagreement to show backbone…and jazz hands!

There is no point in misrepresentation. Telling someone that you’re 4 inches taller, 20lbs lighter, or have experience in way more projects than you actually do will only lead to disappointment and embarrassment. Some things cannot be faked.

Sometimes you hit it off so well with someone that you’re apt to think, “This is it! I’ve finally found what I’ve been looking for!” but then things sort of fizzle and you realize that things weren’t as great as you thought; it’s just that you wanted it to work out so much that your judgment was clouded. And if you’re really honest with yourself, that corporate culture/the way he slurps his coffee would have grated on you eventually.

So you plod on. Each meeting has as much potential as lining up for a tee shot: the careful positioning, relaxed stance, keep your eye on the ball, take it slow, take it slow, smooth arc, and follow through. If you golf like me, half the time you don’t even make contact with the ball. But the *potential* is there. That’s the beauty of it.

One of the more irritating pieces of advice you hear when dating is that once you stop trying so hard for love, that’s when it’ll happen for you. So, what you’re telling me is that this thing that I want so much, I gotta not want it, and then I’ll get it? Thanks. So helpful.

Turns out it’s true. Who knew? I guess it’s because in trying so hard for the things we want, we lose sight of the art of the process and the big picture in general, which results in behaviour that actual thwarts our attempts at achieving success. We stand in our own way.

The other big challenge is that in the immortal words of the great Joe Jackson, “You can’t get what you want ‘til you know what you want.” This applies to me so well. In love and in career, I’ve always had a long list of things that I don’t want, but when it comes to what I do want, it’s not as clear.

I’m on a trip and I’m not sure where I’m going. I’m going to try to enjoy it, though, and learn some things along the way. And I confess, a part of me really believes, because it’s been proven to me in the past, that sometimes, things do just happen.

Originally posted October 8, 2013

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