For my dear friends that have been with me for the past two + years, you may recall that a short eleven months ago, I quit my job to co-found a start-up nonprofit organization.  Not only was I leaving a company and industry in which I had built my career but I'd also be exploring the world of working from home and diving into the nonprofit community with an unpaid position.

Working from home was / is an exercise in self-discipline.  It's also a little like Tom Hanks on Cast Away.  I woke up every morning at 7:30 am, shower and change into 'real' clothes and kept as normal of a schedule as I could, even though my commute consisted of walking to the other bedroom.  I never turned on the tv before 6 pm and I didn't take naps.  Oftentimes, the only real live person that I would see during the day was my UPS guy (aka 2012 best friend award winner).  I talked to myself.  I missed my coworkers but enjoyed the flexibility around my schedule, occasionally working from coffee shops and the fact that I could go grocery shopping during the week days.  And there was also this.

Our experience with the nonprofit community was 99% positive.  We met a lot of encouraging and supportive people who applauded our efforts and ideas.  We were also interrogated, examined, poked and prodded for the soundness of our mission and final product.  I'm happy to say that we have been able to flourish under the scrutiny.  There were / are pockets of doubt and those who said that we were terribly naive.  I won't deny that we may have been a little naive about what we were getting into but we were prepared for it.  We were willing to work hard and did.

Ultimately, we realized that funding for our nonprofit is going to involve a much longer-term time frame than what we had initially planned for.  Our organization is structured such that it can operate under an all-volunteer model.  I plan on being very involved in the leadership of the organization as well as the strategic direction that it goes in.

When I left my job, a lot of people thought I was crazy / brave to leave for a start up and for zero moneys.  I consider myself lucky to have had this opportunity and to have met the people I have during the past year.  I have a very encouraging support system and I was / am fortunate to have the financial flexibility to take on this endeavor.

The takeaway from all this for you is don't be afraid to do something risky, unexpected and different.  Don't be afraid of failure.  I've learned more in 2012 than I did during the last three years at my old job.  You'll never know that you're capable (or not capable) of if you don't try and in not trying and giving it a shot, you only cheat yourself.  Oh the road is tough and the emotional roller coaster is the most volatile one I've been on.  But the personal growth and development that you get out of it is exponential.

I start my new job on Friday and walk into the oblivion again, not knowing what to expect.  More stability than 2012?  Maybe.  But either way, I'm looking forward to what's to come and greatly have appreciated all your support and company during my last adventure.