Circumstances: What’s Stopping You?

[singlepic=201,300,,,right]If you’ve only thought about taking a career break or sabbatical – what has stopped you from actually doing it? No matter the excuses that you come up with (or believe in) the only thing that is truly stopping you is yourself.

I recently had the pleasure of hearing Seth Godin talk at the Small Business Summit in New York City. (Godin is a bestselling author, entrepreneur, agent of change and overall inspiring speaker.) And although he was addressing an audience of small business owners and entrepreneurs, the messages he imparted can most certainly apply to you as well.

Following are a few of his “sound bites” that made a great impression on me and led to a few observations of my own. (Please note that they are paraphrased from my fastidious notetaking.)

Become a Misfit
“The reason they want you to fit in is that once you do, they can ignore you.” – Seth Godin

Growing up it always seemed so important to “fit in”. And as a grown-up, we’ve been led to believe that we must do what is “expected” of us. If we follow this expected path of least resistance, we are promised a metaphorical pot of gold at the end of the rainbow – retirement. But the trick is on us once we get there to find out we won’t always have the health or wealth to enjoy it. In the meantime, we are serving other people’s goals and not our own.

Be an Artist of Your Own Life
“Art is about seeing the world as you want to see it. Artists work without a map.” – Seth Godin

In school we were always taught to stand in line, fill in the ovals with a #2 pencil, and raise your hand before you spoke. We were told how the world looks from text books and outdated film strips. Now that you are old enough, don’t be afraid to make choices for yourself. Color outside the lines – swing upside down from the jungle gym – and most importantly, don’t let other people’s views of the world make you question your own.

Ignore the “In-Crowd”
“We all have a lizard brain – that voice in the back of our head telling us to stop because we are worried about failing and people laughing at us. It forces us to act like sheep.” – Seth Godin
If you have ever expressed your dreams of travel to people before, most likely you have gotten strange looks and responses like “why would you want to do that?” or “why would you want to travel there?”. More often then not, these people are resentful that you want to break out of the mold and do something unique. Trust me, there is a network of other career breakers who will openly accept you into their clique.

Still need more motivation?

Top 10 Reasons to Take a Career Break and Travel

Why It’s Not Crazy for Working Professionals to Quit Their Jobs and Travel the World

Six Reasons Living on the Road is Good Option in a Down Economy

Round-the-World Trip Tips, Planning Resources, Inspiration and More

So….what’s stopping you now?

Other comments

6 Comments on "Circumstances: What’s Stopping You?"

  1. Amy on Mon, 29th Mar 2010 10:44 am 

    These are definite words of wisdom for everyone to live by…not just those contemplating a career break! I may print out this list and post it on my refrigerator as a constant reminder of how to live an authentic life. Thanks!

  2. Sherry Ott on Mon, 29th Mar 2010 11:24 am 

    Staying in the lines is WAY overrated! Great inspiration Michaela!

  3. Vietnam720 on Mon, 29th Mar 2010 11:45 am 

    This is a little ironic- while I love the article being short, I’d have prefered more ‘sound bites’ from Seth Godin 🙂

    Thanks for sharing Michaela. And keep them coming 🙂

  4. Keith on Mon, 29th Mar 2010 1:50 pm 

    Thanks for sharing these nuggets from Seth. I’ve been meaning to read Linchpin.

  5. Michaela Potter on Mon, 29th Mar 2010 7:06 pm 

    @Vietnam720 & @Keith – There were definitely some more great Seth sound bites but not all really fit in with the essence of the post. However, here they are just for you:

    “Anxiety is experiencing failure in advance”

    “The winner is the one who leans forward the most.”

    And one of my favorites: “Avoid any activity where the best you can do is a known. It leaves no room for art.” With that one, he made the comparison to the fact you never hear of any “superstar” bowlers b/c in bowling the best you can do is 300.

    @Amy – as an educator, you would definitely be inspired by his writing. He talks a lot about the formation of the public school system in conjunction with the Industrial Revolution. He made mention of a book about this: “Weapons of Mass Instruction”.

    @Sherry – You’ll like what he said about creating a community. “Create a community you want to believe in” and “You don’t have to invent a mindset – you just need a leader.” That very much relates to what we are doing here at Briefcase to Backpack!

  6. Jason of Two Backpackers on Tue, 30th Mar 2010 9:27 am 

    Be your own artist. Love it! I think it sums up what you have to do when thinking of how you want to live your life.

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