"Mom's a good designer." My six-year-old niece told me at the kitchen table on Sunday. It was Mother’s Day, and her mom (and my sister) Molly was celebrating a few things. One, her heroic work as a mom. And two, her two year anniversary of jumping into the world of interior design.
Today, another mom takes on another big life adventure: our very own Amy VanHaren, the do-all marketing director for When to Jump, embarks on a side jump: crossing 10,000 miles around the States to promote visibility and awareness for breastfeeding moms in the workplace. The “Breast Express” will hit 30 American cities as Amy and a few co-captains (including our other marketing whiz Ally!!) rally together content, support, and resources to moms everywhere—all while Amy and her co-pilots continue holding down their jobs and family responsibilities.
Elizabeth failed. Then started again. She loved photography, but found a different path forward to tell stories. Nate slept in his car and then an air mattress, to push through on his jump. First backpacks, before launching a gym. Steve edited magazine articles, but adored miniature golf. Mid career, he rolled the dice to design his dream course.
These three folks are just some of the many, many, many small business owners with a jump story behind their establishments. While it’s fun to romanticize the famous rags-to-riches, “overnight” (though nothing is ever overnight) success stories of well known jumpers, what I think makes the When to Jump community fabric real is that it’s real people. Faced with real challenges: failed first (and second..and sometimes third and fourth!) attempts, cash constraints, and twenty (or more) years down the wrong line of work.
Conventional wisdom, as it pertains to making a jump, sucks.
Cathy Heller is a woman many of you probably have never heard of. Except if you watch TV, probably have listened to her music, without knowing you’ve heard it. Because Cathy jumped into music, poked around, tried and failed, didn’t become Beyonce, and yet, years later has created a meaningful (and very successful) career in the biz: making music for commercials.
Cathy’s my guest on the podcast this week, and my favorite part of the conversation is when she described her jump toward music - that she figured she had to be Beyonce, or else she’d have to leave LA.
Last week I went home to Santa Barbara, to the neighborhood gym that my family joined when we moved to town as a kid. I was starting 7th grade and in that gym, discovered the only major squash court facility within about 75 miles of our home. It was right down the street from our house and shortly after we moved there, I spent just about every waking moment on those courts, with those players
On this week's podcast, I shared a question from our community that came from Brian in LA. He asked us:
"...I was curious if you knew people who wanted to jump but had no clue what to jump into or where to start."
Boy do I know a lot of these people - in fact I think, at some point or another, each of us has been in this spot. No one is born with a clear vision for a jump to make. Instead, jumps come from some blend of our backgrounds, life experiences, chance encounters, and creative curiosity. They come when we least expect them, and sometimes from the smallest of activities: wandering walks, meandering coffee chats, aimless doodles.
The last phase of the Jump Curve is called Don’t Look Back.
It’s that part that comes after you decide to go for your gut, when you dig in and think big and close your eyes and hope your jump works. It's called "Don't Look Back" because today, more than ever, we’re increasingly tempted to look back at what we didn’t do, or around at what we could be doing. The buzzes and pop-ups and notifications and text bubbles show us what Joe had for breakfast, what happened on Susan’s vacation, what Tom’s new bakery looks like.
I was at a friend Richard’s house for dinner the other night and he did something interesting.
It was one of those random potluck dinners where Richard knew each of the guests he invited (duh), but none of the guests knew each other. We were all somewhere in the earlier phases of careers across a smattering of interests - business, education, energy, academia, etc etc.
As everyone settled in (getting through those ever-awkward “Hi, I’m __ , my day job is__ and I enjoy long walks on the beach, how about you?”), Richard brought in a guest to speak. His name was Jeff, a man in his mid-fifties and successful executive of several Fortune 100 companies. From Richard’s introduction, it seemed like Jeff had “made it” - picked the right roles at the right companies to ride into the right career. A bunch of right decisions.
And so it begins!!! I am thrilled to announce the list of twenty incredible candidates from around the world who have been accepted into our first-ever Jump Ambassador (JA) learning program: a four-week, interactive online course bringing together members of our community who want to kick start a jump or push forward on an existing one.
With double the expected applications received, we’ll be running a second session later this spring. Sign up here to be notified when applications for our next session open.
Our JA candidates hail from 12 cities and five countries, across four different continents. From towns like Shrewsbury, Massachusetts to cities like Tak, Thailand, day jobs that range from ESL teacher to global inventory analyst, from delivery driver for UPS to computer technician, and housekeeper to learning and development manager. They include millennials and baby boomers, parents and immigrants, all spread across the journey of taking a jump: some in the brainstorm stage, others in the planning, some going for it as we speak.
At the successful conclusion of our four-week program, these twenty folks will be official Jump Ambassadors, earn access to a private alumni JA group and most importantly, they will be armed with the education, inspiration, and connections to others that will push their jump forward.
I am so proud to introduce our inaugural class of Spring 2018 Jump Ambassador candidates. Click here to meet them.
Last week in Nashville, a woman walked up to me after the book event. She was an accountant, and told me about her dream to become a blogger. What surprised me was what she said scared her most: it wasn't trying and failing. It was if she tried blogging, and she found success. What happens next?
Unfortunately, it seems like many people don't get far enough with their jump to reach the "what happens next?" question.
And that's because, ironically, the fear of possibly achieving success (and/or happiness?) in doing something we love prevents many of us from taking any step toward trying to achieve it. From putting even just a toe in the water.
Eight weeks ago, I set out on the When to Jump book tour to share a book about when to chase your dreams, and to meet many of you.
Across big British cities and small American towns, Australian beaches and New England countryside, museums in DC to community centers in Palo Alto, the stories began to pour in.
From soon-to-be vegan chefs in Sydney, ex-consultants starting fitness brands in London, tech sales reps-turned-professional-knitters in Boston, renewable energy entrepreneurs in New York - and many others who were starting to prepare for, or beginning to jump toward, whatever dream they care most about.
With a few final stops left coming up in Nashville and later Dubai, I wanted to take a moment to share four of my favorite takeaways from the tour so far. I'm sure there will be many more to come.