"That path of facing that uncomfortable feeling, the unknown, and then dealing with it and moving on again- I think that type of traveling and that type of feeling scared gets you really good about knowing what's going to come. You might not still be okay with it, but you know it's going to come. That's how you build your character, and anybody can do that, and you don't get that type of fear if you stay within what you know."
WHEN TO JUMP
Mike: When To Jump is a global curated community that features that ideas and stories and people all relating to this concept of when to go do what you love. We have three pillars. The first pillar is connection to other people. The second pillar is education and learning how and when to make your jump. And then the third pillar is inspiration, the content and ideas around that journey. So those three pillars combined to give it the foundation to what our community's based on, and it's really our mission to create the stage that people can come and stand up on, and meet others through, and learn around, and use to make their journey complete, and make it possible. And to realize that you're not alone in this decision of doing what you love.
Mike: I think meeting the right person at the right time sounds lucky [in reference to meeting Arianna Huffington], and it was lucky. But as I talk a lot about in my book and in our community, you’ve got to make your own luck. You have to put yourself in a position to get lucky. And so while it was lucky that I sat next to the right person at the right time, what wasn't lucky was that I was hustling for several years to collect these stories, work on graphics, create a website, all of these things that were in my backpack and I took them everywhere I went.
I think that's a message with When to Jump is you should go do what you love, but you should know that A, it's going to be worth doing. But B, it's going to be really hard. And C, if you put yourself in the right position with all of that hard work, then you're going to run into your luck, and that's where you'll find it. And that's what happened to me.
Mike: I would say there's not just one type of jump for everyone. You can have a professional jump within your career, and maybe even change your job. You can have an internal jump within a company that you're in. You can have a side jump, where you start something nights and weekends in addition to, rather than instead of your day job. Then you can have a lifestyle jump, where you look to improve things about your life that have nothing to do with your job. What we found in our community is that there's every type of jump, for every type of person.
I think anybody is able to jump. If you look at our book, we have over 40 case studies of people of every type of background, socioeconomic system and set of circumstances in their life who are able to jump. We have high school dropouts, we have baby boomers, first generation immigrants, bartenders, yoga instructors, and everybody in between. I think what everyone has in common is, that there's a willingness to work really hard at those unsexy steps.
THE FOUR PHASES OF JUMPING
Mike: There are four phases that I think anyone goes through to take a jump. The book that I wrote highlights those four phases, and gives over 40 concrete case study examples of people, from every type of background, completing their jump through these phases. The first phase is listen to the little voice. But the next phase is to make a plan. So you might start with aspirational ideas and that's great. But then you got to get to the nitty gritty. You've got to figure out the budgeting, sewing a safety net, pre-jump practicing, all of the things that go into making a jump happen. But they go in when no one's watching on your own time, nights and weekends.
Mike: The third phase is to let yourself be lucky. As I said, there's going to be luck in your jump, but you’ve got to make your own luck. When you've done that, it's time to jump, and you're going to run into the right people, opportunities and places, and they'll make things happen for you. If you've done those first two steps, if you've listened to that voice and then you've made a plan, all you do next is take the jump. Let your feet off the ground, and you know you're going to land in the right place. What I found in the book is what the fourth phase stands for, which is don't look back.
So anyone in the stories that you'll read about, whether you're online, on our website, WhentoJump.com, across social media, on our podcasts or in the book, any of these stories actually refer to the same idea. Which is listen to the little voice, make a plan, let yourself be lucky and when you jump, don't look back. I haven't met anyone in our community who has followed those phases and regrets the decision to jump. It doesn't matter how much money you have, where you live, what you look like. If you put in the time, you can take a jump.
FINDING THE LITTLE VOICE
Mike: The first thing that has to come to mind is to listen to that little voice. A lot of people say they can't find it, and I think that's because we have a lot of distractions in our society today. We have notifications, and apps, and buzzes, and cell phones and WiFi. So what I would say to someone who doesn't exactly know what that jump is, is just turn all those things down. Find a way to create some silence. Take a step back and just breathe, and see where your mind wanders to.
Mike: There's a great post in our community around the beauty of being bored. There's a woman named Manoush Zomorodi who came on the podcast right when we started, and she talked about how being bored can actually help you get to that voice that will help you take a jump. I think that's critical, and it's really hard to do in our modern day society where we're always plugged in. So if you don't know exactly what your jump is, I wouldn't say you need to worry. I would say you need to get bored. When you're bored you're going to let your mind take you to the things that interests you, and that might be the first tiny kernel of what it is you're going to ultimately take a jump for. But it starts with being bored.
ON VISUALIZATION & INTENTION
Mike: I remember when I was working in finance and I was playing squash professionally, getting my butt kicked, but traveling everywhere and really trying to emulate this jump that I wanted to take - one of the most helpful things that happened was that I actually visualized what my life would look like. I would tell people I'm a professional squash player, and this is how I eat, this is how I train, this is how I travel. Because I felt like if I could emulate that life, it would make it more likely I would ultimately lead myself to it.
Mike: I was talking to someone just today about how important it is to have intention. I think any jump, whether you want to start a bakery or a nonprofit, if you want to become a teacher, you should take a few minutes and as cheesy as it sounds, close your eyes and imagine what that looks like. What does a day in your life look like? We have an online learning course we just started, and we do a lot of visualization in it. A lot of goal setting, and objective planning and mapping, and it starts with thinking about what do you see yourself doing in 10 years, in one year, in six months. What does a day look like? So I did that for myself well before I ended up taking the jump, and I think that made it seem possible in my head that I would go to it.
FAVORITE JUMP STORY
Mike: I think one of my favorites is a man named Juan Romero, who I met while I was asking for directions when I just moved to New Zealand, in the beginning of my jump. He told me a story about growing up in Venezuela and watching Jacques Cousteau movies. He said to his parents he was going to work someday for Jacques Cousteau. Juan also wanted to go sail around the world. Those were his two dreams. So he ends up using a little money that he was given by his family to travel to Europe, and he goes to the Museum of Oceanography in Monaco. He goes to the museum, and he can't get in because he only has five francs and it costs 10 francs to get in. So he turns around and across the street a woman has an issue with her car, it had broken down on the side of the road. So he goes and he helps her, and he was handy with cars so he fixes the car. And she insists he take some cash. He waves her off and she stuffs five francs into his pocket. So he turns around, he goes back to the museum and that was the day he said okay, I'm going to do this someday. I'm going to work with Cousteau.
Mike: So years later, his friend applied, on his behalf for a job with Cousteau, and he gets a job with Cousteau. He's got ripped jeans, long hair, leather jacket, moves to Europe, works with Jacques Cousteau. He ends up becoming a Producer of Blue Planet, Planet Earth, a Director of Aquariums in the United Kingdom, he has this amazing job, but he never gets to sail around the world.
Mike: And so one day, he and his wife decide, they're going to jump. They start planning and a year later, they pack up their life, they move it onto a sail boat, and they take their kids and they sail around the world and he quits his dream job. A couple years after that, after they ran out of steam and the mast was breaking, they docked in New Zealand, and a little bit after that I ran into Juan. I think that's a great story around not exactly knowing where your journey is going to take you literally, but it's also one about taking the most out of life, and not thinking about what your resume will look like, or what your friends will think. To me, that's a reminder to just keep jumping and see what will happen.
MOST REWARDING ASPECT
Mike: For me, my favorite part is hearing from someone who I don't know who is impacted in some way by the book or a podcast, or by coming to an event. We did a four continent book tour when the book came out last year, or this past year, and we would have people come in from other states to drive in and hear the lessons of the book share their own story. To me, it's this idea of someone taking a story and interpreting that story in their own way. I think a story is powerful because it means something different to me than it means to you than it means to someone else.
If we can collect those stories and share them, we know we'll create a ripple effect that will impact other people. To me, that's what this is all about, is seeing that impact on a scale that continues to grow, and people whose lives we can actually change just by showing them that there is a way to go off the path, and there is a time to know when to jump.
Mike: I think success comes back to impact for me. I think that there's a very good friend of mine name Merile Saferstein who's featured in the book. Merile's in her early 70s and she talks about making an impact as if you're a rock going into water creating a ripple. I think success for me means making an impact that creates a ripple as big as possible in a meaningful way. Like I said, we hear from people all the time in our community whose lives have changed through a course they took with us, a podcast they listened to, a book they read, and for me, if we can keep putting out that material, if we can continue to stay at this stage, if we can build our stage, we'll create more ripples and those ripples will ultimately I think lead to even more success. If you do all that everything else will follow.
Mike: You know, one of the mantras I think I would say I follow is just knowing what you can control in life and knowing what you can't. It's still really hard for me to remember the difference, but a lot of times I think we spend so much time worrying about things that are out of our hands, and instead it's all about saying okay what can I control right now, and then letting go of the other stuff. For me, that's been difficult as someone who loves to plan and strategize. But it's really important to remember that there's only so much that we can control as we go through life and that's okay. Take initiative where you can, and continue moving through that journey that will unfold as you go.
IMPORTANCE OF TRAVELING
Mike: I think for me, traveling made a huge impact on my jump, and also my understanding of my place in the world. That may sound cheesy. There's a great, I think it's a Yiddish proverb that Malcolm Gladwell quotes in one of his books, which is "To a worm in horseradish, the whole world is horseradish." I think that basically means that you don't know what you don't know. Traveling, whether it's to another country or just another town, or getting out of your own village, it creates this perspective. I remember when I traveled what I learned about was how to be comfortable when I didn't know anyone and I was on my own. You discover what everybody has in common. What brings us together. I had no idea I would spend more than three months playing professional squash. I had crashed on a few couches for the first month of my journey in New Zealand and Australia, and then something crazy happened and I was introduced to other hosts and their friends and cousins and relatives, and for the next 16 or 18 months, I spent almost every night with other people.
Mike: I think that type of traveling and that type of feeling scared gets you really good about knowing what's going to come. You might not still be okay with it, but you know it's going to come. And getting that feeling of dealing with the uncomfortableness about being out of your comfort zone, about tip-toeing around things and then taking them head on, and knowing what's going to come and knowing they'll be challenging to you, that's really important. You don't get that type of fear if you stay within what you know. Traveling is a great way to experience that.
Mike: I remember when I was traveling on the tour, I felt super scared and questioned where I was, and why I was there in the first few days of wherever I landed. I would always ask myself, should I have left? Why did I leave? I don't have any friends here. Then midway through the trip it would change, and by the end of that trip, or even by the end of the week I wouldn't want to go anywhere, I would just want to stay there. I left, because I knew that path of facing that uncomfortable feeling, the unknown, and then dealing with it and moving on again, that's how you build your character, and anybody can do that, whether you're traveling across the street, across the town, across the country, across the world, I think that's how you deal with uncertainty and that's how you push through.
- Mike Lewis, Founder & CEO, When To Jump