How to make “big leaps”​ (even if you don’t feel ready)

by | Goals and stuff, Leveraging LinkedIn, Personal Branding, Real Talk

“Can you let me know when you have time to talk? No rush if you can’t today.”

That’s the message I sent to my then manager around 4:30pm three years ago. I tried to type it casually, so it sounded “casual.” But inside my chest was a marching band having a party.

As nervited (nervous + excited) as I was to have THE conversation, I paused briefly before moving my mouse to hit the “Send” button — and I secretly hoped she didn’t respond that day. (By the way, she did…immediately.)

You see, I was ready to finally do it

What was the “it”?

Not that I was almost three month pregnant and going on maternity leave. But I was leaving the company—and by the way, I’m having a baby too.

My resignation may have been a surprise, but it too had a due date. After juggling my business on the side for over six years, at that point, I was ready to go out on my own fully as a business owner.

This didn’t happen overnight, though.

The lead-up took months working with an amazing career coach Michelle Ward to feel as prepared as possible.

I remembered going back and forth on choosing the actual date I’d submit my resignation — because making the big leap is like waiting for your turn to zip line on the largest zipline in Costa Rica a day after getting engaged (something I know about firsthand).

But even BEFORE all that, the idea was just a seed for years. And I nurtured it with little steps and internal mindset shifts rather than radical external actions.

My journey from intrapreneur to entrepreneur was a series of decisions that constantly pushed me to hit some kind of button.

Whether it was a “Send” button for an email letting people know about my business. Or the “Update” button as I made a zillion updates to my website. Or the “Publish” button as I started writing on LinkedIn. These were all steps towards building my personal brand.

That “Publish” button is always nerve-wracking because it usually means getting the ideas out of your head and into the world on social media. It’s usually a reveal of your thoughts. But this is key and shows the power of a strong personal brand.

I’m always mindful of using the word “power” because it sounds hyperbolic (or like He-Man channeling his powaaaaa). But there’s something to showing up and sharing your expertise.

The thing is this, people struggle with confidently showing up online and taking the steps to see real results because there’s often something in our minds that make us hesitate.

But a lot of what you want is waiting for you on the other side of doubt.

So, what now? Leap and hit the proverbial “Send” button.

That leap is going to look different for me and for you. But it does involve taking doing the scary things like…

– Updating your LinkedIn profile and showing up more (even if you don’t know what the heck to do)

– Posting an article you wrote for the first time (instead of just liking other people’s ideas)

– Deciding to update your professional photos (or taking new ones for the first time, eeek!)

– Pitching Forbes with an idea for an article that’s been bubbling in your head (because you never know)

– Creating a video with you sharing your thought leadership (and being okay if it’s not perfect)

– Having conversations with potential clients and learning more about their needs (even if it makes you feel “salesey”)

What else would you add to this list?

At some point, these things will ignite the marching band inside your chest. At some point it’ll feel like you got pushed onto a zipline four seconds before you felt “ready.”

But it turns out that you’ll be okay – even if you’re still figuring things out.

Sometimes the biggest leaps start with simply hitting a button and deciding to just GO.

Marietta Gentles Crawford
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Marietta Gentles Crawford

Marietta Gentles Crawford is a writer, personal brand strategist, and author of "From Nine to Thrive: A Guide to Building Your Personal Brand and Elevating Your Career." With over 15 years' experience climbing through top corporate brands, she helps small businesses and freelancers communicate their brand message and stand out from the crowd.

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