Admit it, you’ve been dreaming of it telling yourself you’ll do it for years now. You’ve imagined it as you’ve sat in the commuter traffic, or during those long train journeys, looking at your phone. But you’ve never found the time. The conditions have never been quite right. It’s always been too risky because there’s been a baby on the way / the promotion is just around the corner.

Excuse your inertia

There’s always an excuse not to follow your dreams. For most people dreams remain just that; unfulfilled; the stuff of fantasy. For some of us it’s easier to keep them at arm’s length like that, so they don’t ever get close enough to make us actually do something. The fear of what might happen next is greater than the optimism of what could happen next. This kind of inertia is crippling, and is exactly why tired-looking fifty year-olds have such a dead expression as they put on their work clothes each morning, wondering why they didn’t quit this shit twenty years ago.

Taking the plunge is good for the soul. Swedish bathers jumping into icy water each winter not only enjoy the exhilarating rush of the experience, but also derive great benefits from the stress of being taken out of equilibrium. There is a lot to learn from these apparently crazy folk. They’re not reckless thrill-seekers, they are actually braving the short-term discomfort for the long-term benefit to their physical and mental health. They understand that life isn’t always comfortable, and actually venturing into the cold can lead to a deep and lasting warmth.

Leaving regular employment can seem reckless, particularly if you have a family to support and bills to pay. Your pragmatism just won’t allow you to leave the safe and familiar shore. This is when you make those excuses and keep the risk at arm’s length. You tell yourself those brave few that stepped off and were then successful must have had different circumstances to you. Maybe they got lucky and were ‘in the right place at the right time’…

Be brave

But you know you’re lying to yourself, and massaging your own withering ego. They weren’t lucky; they were brave. There’s an old cliché that goes “Fortune favors the brave”. It’s not literally true as brave people are not always fortunate. However it is true that cowards are rarely fortunate; and this is the point of the saying, really. Those that go for it and take the plunge are far more likely to enjoy success than those that stand and watch, their towels wrapped tightly around them.

A good friend of mine is one of those calculates risk-takers, and he is one of the most successful guys I know. When I say successful I mean that he hits the targets he’s aiming for. I do not mean that he is rich. He makes a comfortable living. What I mean is that he delights in devising and hatching an idea, and then works with incredible energy to make it happen. And what makes him successful is that he is nailing his dreams. He consistently turns them into action. As well as establishing a successfully growing consultancy he is also currently leading an exciting new food and beverage franchise. This guy has no difficulty at all whipping off that towel and diving in.

Calculate the odds

So what makes him so happy to go for it? Calculation. There is nothing reckless about his endeavors; he has carefully calculated where he wants to go and what it takes to get there. He is a fiercely ambitious person who knows where he wants to get to, and is fuelled by his past successes. He is able to reflect on them and thus know that the risk of stepping off into the unknown again is lower than most would perceive it to be.

So what? You’re not that guy. You don’t have his experiences. You don’t necessarily see the world in the same way that he does. Most likely you want the same outcome as him – financial security for his family and a comfortable retirement – but your route there will be different to his. So why do I bother to tell you about him, and about the Swedish swimmers?

I’ll answer with another question…what do you think the key determinant is in their decisions to take the plunge? You may be tempted to say that it is just that they had the courage to go for it? And you’d be partly right; fortune favors the brave. However for me the key factor is that they have correctly analyzed and calculated the risks and the likelihood of positive vs negative outcomes. They have identified as well as they can, that there is a high likelihood of success. They have been encouraged by the knowledge that thousands before them have done it, and have had good experiences.

So what can you do to get that same sense of comfort with taking the plunge?

The Social Media Mafia is a community of like-minded social media consultants, each at a different stage of daring to do it. Many of them have studied the Pathway to Success, through the Social Media Mafia Academy. It is an 8-week program to prepare you to take the plunge and become a consultant, working for yourself, on your own terms, making the money you want to. So what you can do right now is to visit and learn how you can acquire all the skills and knowledge to make taking the plunge less terrifying and more thrilling.