It's been nigh on two years since I made the leap from 20 years in corporate world to making a living for myself with little more than my MacBook Pro, what I know and who I know. It's been simultaneously challenging and exhilarating, but I'm fortunate in that it has grown into something bigger and filled with more possibility than I had imagined all those months ago.
A number of people have asked me during that time for advice on making their own leap, and I'd started to put down some thoughts about things I'd learned along the way that I thought might be helpful. But, if I'm honest, I found it really hard.
That's not because I'm short on observations about two years in the wild. I had wanted to talk about how the experience has stretched me (in a good way – I've learned more in the last couple of years than I did in my last five as an employee), how important it has been for me to be continuously adapting what I know and do, and about how it's all about momentum. I'd wanted to talk about how important it is to value your network, and your time, to value people who support you, to learn when to say no. I'd wanted to talk about the importance of working on projects with awesome people, to work hard and be nice to people. All these things have been vital to me.
But there is lots of good advice out there already, and I'm sure that everyone's experience will be different. So somehow, it just wasn't coming together. And as we move into a new year, one that quite possibly will bring even more challenge and change for all of us than the last one, I wanted instead to emphasise one thing that I think is more critical than ever, and will be important for me in the coming year: to create some space.
By that I mean space to think, space to slow down, space to create, space to look, space to experiment, space to play, space to create new ideas, things, connections. I think it's very easy to be head-down, focused on the here and now, the next deadline, the urgent job. Those things are important, but when we are disciplined about leaving some room, amazing things can happen. Things which we really cherish. Things which build for the future. Things that we'll always remember. I'm not big on New Years resolutions but if I had to select one, that is it.