On a recent quick visit to New Orleans for meetings, my husband and I ducked into the Garden District Book Shop where we met Amy behind the counter. We got to chatting and learned that she moved to New Orleans 15 years ago.
Prior to that, she worked in the high tech industry both in Michigan and California. She was burnt out and ready for a change. Like so many other people, she had visited New Orleans and thought it would be a great place to live.
She loved to read and always dreamed of working in a book store. So, she researched book shops in New Orleans and wrote them all letters asking if she could work for them.
Those who responded told her she was overqualified. Only one book store owner decided to give her a chance. Hired as a bookseller, she works at that same store 15 years later and is now manager.
She also contributed her tech skills to the bookstore by helping them transition from a cash register and yellow notepads to computers for sales, inventory and PR.
I was struck by Amy's story for several reasons. After working long, demanding hours and commuting in traffic for many years, she recognized that it was time for a change. She decided to do something about it. She thought about what she loved, did her homework, and then didn't get discouraged after multiple rejections.
Her family and friends thought she was crazy to give up a high paying job. She had savings and was single, so she had more flexibility than many people.
At the same time, it was a leap of faith and took a lot of courage to quit her job and move 2000 miles away. She knew that she could move back to CA if it didn't work out. She believed she had options.
She said, "I don't need a lot of money. I just need to be happy." She paused, and then said, "And I am. I have time to write, take photographs, and I meet a lot of great people in the book shop."
I was also struck by the owner of the book shop who took a risk by hiring Amy. All of the other owners were not willing to do that. It sure seems like his judgment paid off.
Here are some questions to ponder:
- When have you taken a risk or made a change in your life? What did you learn from that experience?
- Is there something that you are considering pursuing or changing in your life?
- What is holding you back?
- What information, support and encouragement do you need to help you in your decision?
I encourage you to check out the Lagniappe section below which includes additional resources to help you think about and pursue your dreams.
Please share your reflections with me personally or on the Oak Communications Coaching and Consulting Facebook page.