Are you holding on to something in case the current plan doesn’t work out? Do you have one foot in the boat and one in the water? Maybe you feel tethered to something that is restricting you from reaching your full potential? Recently I cut a major tether that although I didn’t think about it often, I am well aware it was always in the back of my mind as an option. A “Plan B”. A possible eject button.
The arrow in my quiver…
Almost two years ago to the day, I left my corporate America job to pursue a career in Executive Coaching. I will unpack that transition in future writings, but the point of this story is why I purposely allowed my Civil Engineering Professional license to expire. What??? Why would you do that??? Because it was holding me back from pursuing my passion and reaching my full potential.
Why am I sharing this?
Because most of us, at different times in our life, are holding onto something as a backup plan, yet it is restricting us from moving forward. The tether actually keeps us fear based, instead of living out from a place of freedom.
I graduated from the University of Missouri with a Civil Engineering degree and about 4 years later, I got my Professional Engineering license to practice Civil Engineering. Over the next 16 years in my corporate career, the license was a critical credential in getting the Executive roles I had. For example, my most recent role in the Civil Engineering space was President of Sales for a specialty contractor, where my name was listed as the corporate registered engineer for some project submittals.
As with other professional licenses, I had to maintain professional development hours and submit the paperwork every two years stating I had completed my hours. Well, the two years submittal was due April 2018, hence the recent decision.
Where did the inspiration come from?
This last spring, I read a book by Erwin McManus, ‘The Last Arrow’. I am a fan of Erwin’s work, although I was not anticipating the breakthrough I had with this book. Based on a biblical story in 2 Kings 13 where Joash, king of Israel, is stressed about his current battle. King Joash asks Prophet Elisha for help and Elisha tells King Joash to get his bow and quiver of arrows.
Next, Elisha tells King Joash to take one arrow out of the quiver and shoot it eastward out the window. Next, Elisha ordered King Joash to take the rest of his arrows and strike the ground and if he did, he would defeat Syria. Instead, King Joash only struck the ground with 3 arrows. Instantly Elisha scolds the king and tells him he should have shot all the arrows in his quiver. King Joash only goes on to defeat Syria the three times, which is not enough.
Why didn’t King Joash shoot all the arrows?
Same reason we don’t. He probably kept arrows in his quiver in case God didn’t show up and he needed to finish the work alone. Much like us when we keep some in the tank, in case God forgets about us. We keep our arrows in the quiver in case we end up in the battle alone.
This is not about calculated risk and keeping something in reserves. There is a time for that. This is about the need to move forward and not allowing something to hold us back.
As I was processing ‘The Last Arrow’, the renewal of my professional license kept coming to mind as an arrow in my quiver. As I dug deeper, I was holding onto my license in case I wanted to give up on this entrepreneurial journey of coaching. Leaving the corporate job and pursuing this path has been amazing, but stressful. Providing for my wife and three kids and not wanting to take a significant hit to our finances and lifestyle. The daily posting to social media, writing blogs, and working on a book can be exhausting. Seeing clients grow, yet knowing engagements are only for a handful of months and therefore always looking for new clients.
I realized I needed to cut bait with my license. When times got tough in the coaching business I would think about ‘what if’. What if I called my old network and got a job. Maybe I could stop trying to build something on my own and join a corporate company that already has momentum. Or instead of the financial ebb and flow of coaching engagements, go to a straight salary from a company.
However, God called me into coaching. Although days can be hard, every day I am being called up and equipped to go after this profession. I felt the affirmation of this new path and I was not going back to the engineering world. After processing this through pray, journaling, and mentors, I decided that was true.
So I decided to allow my professional engineering license to expire. There has been an amazing peace and freedom in letting go.
What is your arrow in your quiver?
What are you holding onto in case this new idea does not work out? Is it a license? A mindset? Maybe your early morning thoughts as you start your day? Be honest with yourself. It is OK to have a back-up plan in the beginning, but there is a time to cut the cord. Release the past and step into the new opportunity. What are you being called into this season?
Please share with me at firstname.lastname@example.org the arrow you shot….or need to shoot!
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Photo by Laura Crowe on Unsplash