“Look before you leap” is one of those bits of wisdom that’s been around for centuries.
And for good reason.
It’s designed to keep us safe and caution us against making hasty decisions. The words encourage us to consider the possibilities of what could go wrong should we make some type of bold move.
Obviously, that’s smart, but it also holds much greater potential when we think of it more broadly and apply it to something specific in our own lives. For example, our work.
In my world as a mindful career and life coach, one of the most beneficial applications of the adage is when an individual decides to change jobs or careers. Yet, few people explore it fully, even though it’s at the core of producing happy outcomes.
Let’s look at a few examples that underscore its value.
What Can Happen When You Leap Before You Look
Holly, 58, works at a small government agency and has been unhappy at work for months. She wants a job that allows for greater sociability, less responsibility and more relaxed hours.
She was a server in her 20s and 30s and has fond memories of guests she met and her many coworkers. A return to the restaurant industry sounds appealing.
Holly realizes serving requires a great deal of energy and menu knowledge, so she thinks becoming a hostess will be the solution. She submits her letter of resignation and excitedly applies at a few high-end restaurants.
Well, it turns out Holly would have benefited from the pre-leap look. She got caught up in the excitement of doing something new that checked several of her boxes, but she failed to consider what her actual day-to-day experience would entail.
She learned most available hosting shifts would:
- Be scheduled from 2-10 pm four to five days a week.
- Require her to be on her feet the entire time.
- Pay about 25% of what servers average.
Disappointed and deterred, Holly was able to keep her job at the nonprofit and decided to figure out how to be happier there.
How A Comprehensive Look Can Direct Your Leap
Then there’s Calli. She’s lived in a college town for decades, but family obligations and health conditions prevented her from completing her college degree. Now 44, she’s determined to graduate. Education is always valuable, so her dedication is noble and inspiring for sure.
However, Calli can’t decide what to major in because she has no idea what she wants to do after college. A full exploration of what her ideal workday would encompass — along with her strengths, mission, values, goals, income needs and priorities — will be super helpful.
How A Look Can Lead To A Leap You Love!
Finally, there’s Pete’s scenario. At 57, he was ready for a change from his high pressure, accounting-firm life. Making impetuous decisions isn’t part of his methodical personality, so Pete’s change-making process looked like this:
- He worked with me and got clear on his why, strengths, top values and the impact he wants to make.
- He mapped out his ideal workday.
- He explored opportunities that best met the criteria for 1 and 2 and is now exceptionally happy as a manager of a small winery.
Are You Looking To Leap? Do This.
Looking before you leap is one of the most powerful steps you can take when it comes to decisions about whether or not leap — and if so where — professionally.
It’s goes beyond making a decision that aligns with your goals or purpose, which of course are really important, too. It adds an element of caution — and of imagination — which can add a whole new layer of possibility to your choices.
Most of all, it adds mindfulness to your approach. You’re not making decisions on a whim or on incomplete information. Instead, you’re being intentional with the vision you have for your work and life and how you want to spend your time.
Trie Angeleva is a mindful life and career strategist who specializes in career change and job search solutions. She’s a certified career transformation coach; founder of The Love Monday Method; and creator of PR Career Success Preparation at Indiana University. She teaches, coaches, develops job search tools and writes about mindful living and career transformation. Follow her on instagram at @reimaginemondayfor tips and strategies on how to love what you do and lead a mindful life.