How Motivation & Opportunity Disguise Themselves

(From the December 2011 Issue)

I’ve seen a few articles recently and listened to a few podcasts on the topic of quitting. Some were for quitting, others gave warnings against quitting. This brings up the great psychology behind knowing when to quit, the fear of quitting and the adrenaline it takes to run your own show. You can think of this in wide terms, from quitting the firm you currently work for or from the perspective of something like stopping your efforts of trying to make your yard look good and making the decision to use an expert. Whatever you apply this to, the magic is in knowing when. When do you stop waiting and start quitting?

Quitting at its core is about change. Change is something we all should be comfortable with (because it is a part of everyday life), but it’s something we all seem to avoid if possible. To be sure, change is not always necessary or fun. But it will always be a part of life. Let’s bring some focus to this discussion around quitting. Let’s talk about the idea of leaving the firm you are currently employed with and going out on your own.

As the tribe leader of the THRIVEal +CPA Network, my message to the younger members is to innovate in your own firm. I tell people to quit as often as possible. That message may not be for everyone, but it just might be for you. Stop working for those riding their traditional stodginess until they retire. You can’t implement change in that environment, and you’ll never get to enact the great change happening in our profession unless you are running the freakin’ show. Are you ready?

Again, I’m not talking to everyone. Some people need to work in a company … and are great assets to that organization. That is okay. I have people like that working for me, and I need them. But THRIVEal is for leaders of organizations. It is not for employees. We talk a lot about innovations, changing our profession and leading organizations. This network is all about engaging, empowering and encouraging — coaching techniques needed for those who are leaders. Are you a leader? Then you need to be involved in organizations like the THRIVEal +CPA Network. Let’s hit two topics that come up when quitting is discussed: fear and risk.

Quitting & Fear

Many are fearful in their move to quit their jobs, and I don’t blame them. Almost 10 years ago, I quit one firm to go work in my own firm. I took a huge pay cut, moved my family a few hours away from where we lived to go into business with my dad. I had to get a paper route on the side to make ends meet. I was scared. And that fear is compounded when you have a family. But my wife was behind me, and we knew it was the right move. Fear or not, I did what leaders do — they move forward keeping the fear in check, but weighing the wisdom of the periodic nausea. Fear motivates.

The THRIVEal +CPA Network has a lot of innovators quitting their firms and doing their own thing. We engage (accountability, coaching), empower (give each other the right tools, collaborate) and encourage (get up, you can do it!!) each other in our pursuit to create new things, offer new services for our customers and send fear packing. We are a community of support, and that really helps keep the fear at bay. To be sure, some of the members of are crazy ... but crazy people often change the world. It’s not so scary hanging out with crazy people. You start to feel at home among the nuts! Let fear sit in the passenger’s seat, if you must. But take the wheel back and drive fear where you want it to go ... not the other way around. Fear can motivate you to change, and that is a good thing!

Quitting & Risk

Quitting your job is risky. But when you weigh risk, and you do it with wisdom, you can manage risk to benefit you instead of hurt you. The members of THRIVEal see risk for what it really is — opportunity! Risk keeps the posers out of our blue ocean strategies (from the book “Blue Ocean Strategy”) while we build huge values for our customers in previously uncontested markets. Risk doesn’t tell you what you should NOT do... it tells you what you SHOULD do. Where there is risk, there is a small market of people willing to do the hard things to grab the opportunities that are really available to everyone. With strategy, the members of THRIVEal move towards risk, not away from it.

Are you risk-averse? Maybe you aren’t a THRIVEal member. Not everyone is. Because even when we weigh risk, crap pops up that we didn’t expect. It is then that you find out what you are made of. Will you back down? Will you look at risk and retreat? Some do, but THRIVEal members do not. We move ahead and develop new strategies where old ones are no longer relevant or available. We’re hacking the vines in the jungle making way for the less risky. It’s not comfortable up there, but it sure is exciting! We see new worlds first, and the beauty up ahead that the risk-averse never get to behold. There are beautiful new things yet to discover for those who see the opportunity.

So is it time to quit? Maybe you need to stop hoping someone else will quit in your firm. Why not be the first? Maybe your move will lead other innovators to take your move to heart and create their own firm, too. Then come join THRIVEal so we can support you in your position up front clearing out the dang jungle. You’ll find it isn’t as scary as you thought when surrounded by other innovators.

Fear and risk may become close companions after you make your move, but use them wisely ... they are really motivation and opportunity in disguise.