As we enter the holiday season, it is a reminder that the year 2020 is coming to an end. Whether it is the COVID-19 pandemic or the status of the economy, among other things, there’s still uncertainty ahead. But despite the challenges that the year brought, we have made it through the end of the year, and that’s a blessing in itself. Many people reassessed their life, career, and long-term plans over this past year.

As I sit and reflect on 2020 thus far, I wanted to share a few tips for anyone considering embarking on an “off script” journey of their own, whether it is to pursue a passion project, start a side hustle, or a full-on business.

Write down your why.

Whether you are considering launching a business, investing in real estate, switching careers, leaving your job, or any other significant life change, there will be moments of doubt along the way. Writing down your reasons for going on that path will help you make sure that you are making the right decision. It will also serve as a great reminder on days when showing up is hard.

Write down your why to prepare for those moments of weakness where you will feel like giving up. Having something to look at and remind yourself of the bigger picture might be what you need to keep going.

Related post: Finding Purpose

Plan and commit to a timeline.

It is necessary to weigh the pros and cons and develop a plan before making a decision, but sometimes you can find yourself in analysis paralysis mode. It is easy to get caught in that stage of constant analysis. If you know your reason(s) why and have thought your plan through, committing to a clear timeline of when you will take a leap of faith is a step that can help you follow through with your plan.

Committing to a timeline gives you the time to prepare for the decision. Whether it is to make sure you have enough money set aside to invest in yourself for at least a year or work on a plan for the first 90 days to have a clearer idea of what success would look like to you.

As time gets closer, you will likely experience doubt or even panic, but reminding yourself why you made the decision can help you pull the trigger and stick to your timeline.

Last year, as I decided to leave my job to pursue a different path, I first took a leave of absence from my job before officially resigning. To be comfortable with the change, we set aside 18 months of expenses. However, weeks after my leave of absence began, my family had to face several financial emergencies. As we did not want to tap into the family’s emergency fund to ensure we would be adequately covered for future emergencies, our 18 months expense cushion quickly went down to 15 months.
These emergencies occurred while I was on leave from my job, so the thought of going back to work to boost our expense cushion crossed my mind. However, I believe that if I had not stuck with the plan, I might have never taken a leap of faith

Related post: How I Quit My Job

Don’t listen to the naysayers.

As you embark on your journey, some people will discourage you, and others might try to stop you. It is sometimes hard for people to see someone’s else vision. If you want to give yourself the best chance at seeing your vision through, you have to silence those voices and listen to your inner voice.

You have already weighed the pros and cons before making your decision, you have prepared for the moment, now is the time to get to work and focus on the positive. You’re taking a risk, and there’s the possibility that it won’t work out. But you don’t need a reminder of that. If it doesn’t work out, then you will figure it out.

But what if it does work out? That’s what you should focus on.  If you are lucky to have people who encourage you, and uplift you, hold on to them. When things get tough and you consider quitting, it’s always good to have people who will talk you off the ledge.

Be ready for the setbacks.

In an ideal world, you will embark on your journey, and everything will go smoothly. However, it usually does not happen that way. It is best to expect the best but plan for losses and setbacks because they are almost guaranteed to happen.

I experienced several of those this year. I could have gotten discouraged, but when that happened, I gave myself a few moments to be down and reminded myself of the why.

When the setbacks and losses happen, they will affect your morale. It is okay to take a second to process it. Slow down if you need to, take a quick break if necessary, but whatever you do, don’t stop moving. Keep going to ensure you don’t lose your momentum, no matter the setbacks, keep going because slow motion is better than no motion.

Take the time to appreciate your progress.

As you work to bring your vision to life, you should take the time to celebrate your progress and victories along the way, no matter how small they are. Sometimes we are so focused on the future that we forget to fully appreciate our progress.

I’m often guilty of being focused on the road ahead and everything that I still want to accomplish that I don’t take enough time to appreciate how far I have come.

I had to learn to be intentional about celebrating my progress.

Last week, my book, Dream of Legacy, Raising Strong and Financially Secure Black Kids, was selected as a 2020 Best Personal Finance Book.

I also had the honor to be a guest on Farnoosh Torabi’s So Money podcast to talk about the book. I have been listening to Farnoosh for years, and her podcast is the best personal finance podcast according to Forbes. You can listen to the interview here.

I’m grateful for any additional exposure opportunity for the book, especially as a self-published author. But, I almost let those moments pass by because of everything else that was going on around the country last week.

I took a moment to celebrate and reflect on how far I have come, especially a month after the release of my first book.

Related post: Five Things I Learned After Quitting My Corporate Job

When you have wins, no matter how small, take the time to acknowledge and celebrate them. You can use those moments of joy as fuel to continue on your journey.

“What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?” Erin Hanso