“You were created to make something of your life that no other person on the planet or in the history of the world ever could. If you don’t do it, it might never be done… your dream dies with you.”
Jumping ship (aka quitting your job to pursue your dreams) is a serious decision with massive effects on our lives, and should not to be taken lightly. Josh Shipp, the author of Jump Ship, understands this, and writes pragmatically about the subject. Instead of providing a “do-this-and-succeed” map, he shares this book as a compass, a guide on how to bring your dream to life, not in fluffy, hyperbolic, huckster-speak, but with practical step by step instructions that are actionable. He challenges the reader numerous times to bail, to stop reading now, because this book is not for the faint of heart.
The Big Idea
Before Making the Jump, Follow These Seven Steps
"t’s about living that unlived life. Fulfilling your calling…to leave a legacy. It’s about inspiring others to dream crazy dreams — and seeing them actually make it. That’s something worth jumping for."
Before making the jump, it’s important to understand where you’ve been, where you are today, and where you want to go. You cannot get to where you want to go if you don’t define it, refine it, plan it and act on it. Below is a brief summary of the author’s seven steps to prepare to jump.
WARNING: Don’t jump ship before you’ve gone through the steps below.
Step One: Define Your Dream Job: The first step to making a successful jump and achieving your dream is having a dream to jump for. There are two parts to defining your dream: (1) the no-holds-barred magical world where everything is possible, and (2) the reality check where you take your dream and carefully consider its obstacles and requirements. Allow yourself to dream big. Don’t tone it down. Be true to yourself. If your dream has obstacles and scares you a lot, then you’re onto something. Write it down. Consider the following questions:
- What does it look like, feel like, smell like?
- What gets you excited? Energized?
- If your bank account had six, seven figures, would you still want to do this?
Step Two: Refine Your Dream Job: Re-examine and refine your dream using the lens of reality. Ask yourself:
- What skills are required and do I have them? If not, can I learn?
- What will it cost to pursue this?
- Am I willing to do what it takes to make this dream happen?
The good news is that you’re not locked into any one dream for the rest of your life. Like you, your dream will evolve over time. To pursue your dream, you’ll need to become an expert on everything related to your dream. Do your research.
Step Three: Test-Drive Your Dream Job: This is where you’ll test theory vs. practice. Do any or all of the following: interview people who are living your dream; job shadow; volunteer; apply for an internship; ask for mentoring or for an apprenticeship; anything that will provide you practical experience.
For example, if you want to open your own restaurant, you’ll want to work in one first to experience the reality of operating a restaurant before opening your own.
Step Four: Choose Your Dream Job Path: There’s (1) an Entrepreneurial Path or (2) a Career Path. Though the entrepreneurial path has gained popularity recently, it isn’t for everyone.
Step Five: Create Your Dream Job Plan: Ask: what are the next three things I need to do to bring my dream into reality? Write the three things. Do them. Over time, these three actions will change. Move on to the next three actions, then the next three. You get it. It’s easier to focus on 3 steps at a time instead of one giant blueprint.
Step Six: Implement Your Dream Job Plan: Execute on your plan. Create the discipline and accountability to continue doing so. Share your plan with family, friends, and mentors. Give them permission to kick your tush if you’re not working your plan.
Step Seven: Mastering and Mentoring: This step is unique from previous steps, as you are now living your dream. You’re on the road to mastering your craft and getting compensated for it. This is where life comes full circle, where other folks just beginning to pursue their dreams are reaching out to you. Don’t be a jerk. Instead of thinking you’re all that, you have an obligation to mentor, advise, and inspire others. Become a lifelong learner. This way, you won’t sink into the abyss of laziness and complacency.
“Shake well. Settling is natural.”
"The people we admire haven’t “settled” into success. They got there --- and stay there --- because they shake things up."
This transformational adage is brought to you by a Green Goodness juice bottle: Shake well. Settling is natural. The author had read and obeyed this countless times, shaking (salad dressing, juice) bottles unconsciously until one morning it clicked—this is the struggle we all face. Left to our own devices, it is inevitable that we will settle for something—a job that pays the bills, a relationship that’s just OK, etc..
Is this any wonder when on a physiological level our bodies thrive on homeostasis (comes from the Greek word for “to remain stable”)? Anything that disturbs this equilibrium causes us discomfort, illness, or death. “Settled” becomes our default state of being. With this realization, the author encourages us to shake things up on purpose, to break our routine or start a new one; do the hard thing. It will take effort. No dream will be achieved without shaking things up.
Beware the Lure of Entrepreneurship
"It’s usually possible to get your dream job — wait for it — by keeping your day job."
Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. You think you’re working for yourself when in fact you’re always working for someone—your partners, customers, clients, employees. If you ignore others then you won’t be making money. The author acknowledges that it’s only one way to fulfill your dreams, and the other way is through a career path.
If you enjoy baking, does this mean you have to open your own bakery? Or would working as a baker in a bakery provide you the fulfillment of your passion? Owning a bakery involves more than just baking: there’s bookkeeping, hiring, managing vendors, the list of tasks that are not baking will be long and challenging. Working for someone else could mean assuming less risk, responsibility and investment on your part while enabling you to do what you love. Think about it.
If you’re serious about bringing your dreams to life, then this book will be your compass. It was difficult for me to resist the author’s goading challenges and straight talk. The book forced me to confront myself. Shipp happened. I’m glad it did. So now I’m working hard on steps three and four. If I’m doing what I love, much of it won’t feel like work anyway.