Piotr Nowak Piotr Nowak
Business development

Losing a job, a problem or a positive incentive?

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Losing a job can be bad, terrible actually, but sometimes it’s what you need to shine. Nothing unleashes your true potential and capabilities as much as self preservation, and unless you live in a forest and hunt for food, losing a job threatens your well being. Here’s a short story that you may find relevant.

Losing a job can happen to anyone

Imagine yourself, a thirty-something, doing okay, working a steady job and wondering if that’s all life has to offer. Sometimes you think that it would be great to do something different, pursue your favorite activity, put your current experience to work starting your own business or maybe just try a different job. So why, instead of following that nagging feeling, do you rarely change anything in your life besides the order of the sides on your usual lunch plate?

It’s natural to try and maintain the status quo – otherwise you’re risking that after trying you’ll end up worse. Besides the risk of losing, however, there is also a fair chance of ending up better off or with great new experience. So, one day, maybe after you get annoyed for the hundredth time, you say to yourself: “I’m doing it.”

You decide to prepare while you still have your old job before making the leap. You begin to make nice progress on your new adventure and the goal is visibly closer. In fact, you thought it would be harder. After you’ve done all the exciting bits, there are still hundreds of mundane things to handle before you’re ready. So, you get a list and start crossing these things off. But the more preparations you make, the more tasks there seem to be, as you pursue the idea of perfection.

After a time you get bored. You have plenty of time, after all. There’s nothing wrong with taking a day off from your preparations, or even a couple of weeks. After a break, when you look and see all that is left to do you have doubts if you even want to start back. Why torture yourself when you have a perfectly comfortable, safe and steady position?

I went through the same process when I was preparing to start Nopio. My partner/fiancé and I spent six months and created about 70% of the first company website. During this time we reached out to about three potential clients, did one small project and talked about how great it would be when we were finally ready. . . . Then one day, the motivation to continue significantly diminished. Looking back on it, it seems crazy that we would put in so much work and then abandon our new venture. But back then it felt right.

Of course it wasn’t. We were just too afraid to commit ourselves to the idea of stepping out of our comfort zone. We were being overly cautious in our approach. We did not want to lose control. Our plan was to try the new company while we were still employed and it if worked out, ditch our day jobs afterwards. That’s was easier said than done. It’s every hard to work on even a small project outside of a nine-to-five job. Also, having our day jobs made it very easy to stall.

Then, surprise, surprise, I got laid off. The result? We finished the company web page in the first five days. We got a marketing campaign planned, wrote personalized messages to about 60 people and got those out in the next four days. We weren’t panicked – we had the means to live because part of our earlier preparation had been to set aside some savings. We maintained our existing lifestyle, but there was a very big difference: There was no soft cushion to land on if we didn’t succeed. So, in a little over two weeks we handled what we thought would take another six to eight months. Since then, we have consistently followed Yoda’s teaching: “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”  Now we do, day after day, and we never look back.

I could have applied for another job and landing one would have been easy enough. But we decided that if we were going to take the risk of going out on our own, it was now or never. That’s why, at least for some people, losing a job can be blessing.

I know it’s not like this for everyone. I know some people can just jump into things 100 percent and enjoy the ride. But most people I know dread taking serious risks, especially when they are responsible for a family. Most people need a little push. For me, getting laid off was that push, and one of the best things that could have happened.

As usual, I’m interested to see what you think. Leave a comment below or tweet us @nopiocom