To get there, you gotta leave here…

This past week, I gathered with about a dozen former colleagues to wish the man who once led us all the very best as he headed off on his next adventure – a much needed sabbatical and ultimately, we’re quite sure, a best seller about change. Good luck Phil!

As we sat around the table toasting our good friend and reminiscing about our time together, I was struck by the very personal stages of change each of us was in: some, moving into new roles with the company Phil was leaving; others soon leaving that company; and still others, like me, already gone. I was momentarily transported to December 2007 when I took that long walk down the hallway and onto the streets of Unfettered by Employment. When I came back to the present, I smiled to myself.

So much has happened since then. And that place that I didn’t want to leave three years ago, well it doesn’t exist anymore. It was a good reminder: you can’t go back and really, why would you want to?

What time and distance brings is so hard to absorb when we’re in the throes of change. We cling, we kick and scream, we cry, we sugar coat the good old days (even when many of them weren’t) and hope that all the craziness will stop and everything will return to “normal.” All the while, we fear the future because it will be different from the present which, even if we can’t see it, is really the past and already over. We humans are funny that way.

Here’s what I’ve learned on my adventure so far: change doesn’t kill you. In fact, change does us a huge favour by shaking us out of complacency. There is so much out there, whether it’s with the company that’s changing around you, or in the green fields you’re about to till alone. It’s great to think warm thoughts of the past, but anticipate even warmer ones of the future. They’re coming. A few years from now, maybe it’ll be you be sitting around a table talking as excitedly as Phil about the book you’re about to write or the business you’re going to start. Just remember, you can’t get there if you don’t leave here…