Big changes are in store for Teddy Burriss this month. A few years ago I would never have had the courage to consider any of these actions, let alone three at once. Yes, you heard correctly: three separate yet related changes. All BIG!
Let me share them with you:
1) I am leaving my job @ OutsourceIT, formerly Bald Eagle Technologies after 5 years.
2) Bum (my wife Rebecca’s grandmother name) and I are going on a 30 day road trip across these great United States of America via car.
3) I have no Job plans for when I return.
And, I am so excited I can barely control myself. Oh yeah, my wife is 100% on board with these plans. And no, I haven’t lost my mind even though it may look like that.
However, as one would expect, our kids think I have totally lost my mind. At the same time, they say they want us to enjoy ourselves (without diving into their inheritance).
Why would I make such drastic changes? In a down economy?
It’s not a midlife crisis. First of all, I’m 53 and this age can’t be considered mid-life. I wish it were, but I’m not gambling on it. And, I am not in a crisis mode.
I am very blessed, happy and fully engaged in everything I am doing today.
I am not unhappy with my job. I enjoy what I do, the company I work for and the people I work with. I am paid a decent salary and have many exciting opportunities working in the Information Technology service industry on the front side of economic recovery.
The reason I am doing this is all wrapped up in 1 word: Passion.
I’ve finally learned that life is best lived when your time is spent doing the things that feed your passion. Therefore, I have decided that I need to find out what this is and begin doing it now. So no, I haven’t lost my mind. Actually, I think I have finally found it!
Even though I enjoy my job, it is not one that I am truly passionate about. That is not a bad thing. Many of us work jobs we are not passionate about but are quite content doing. For me, content is no longer good enough. I want my heart to sing and dance as I go about my job. I suspect these crazy changes are the first step in that direction.
I would be lying if I told you I’m not scared. I am. I decided to leave a perfectly good paying job to search for my passion. Others might say I’m trying to find myself. That is okay, too. But I’ve realized I can’t find myself at my regular job. Simply put: working full-time is getting in the way of me finding the real Teddy Burriss. I am blessed that my wife and I live a fairly simple life. Bum has a full time job and we have a few extra $$ (really, just a few) in the bank. Believe me, if I take too long to “find myself”, Bum will be pushing me hard to find something that creates a new revenue stream, even if this is selling all my stuff and delivering pizzas.
Now about the road trip.
I have traveled plenty before. I racked up well over 200,000 frequent flier miles in the late 1990’s. Those miles didn’t feed my desire to travel and really see the USA. I so badly want to take Bum to the Grand Canyon, Santa Fe NM, San Diego CA and a few other jewels in the USA.
Conversations with many different people over the last year have led me to one conclusion: if you want to travel, you need to do now.
The piece of wisdom that cut across all of these conversations: It’s far better to do what you want to do in life, when you decide to do it, and not wait for a “better time”. We all know that a better time could possibly never happen.
A retired gentleman I met a few months ago, who shared his story with me, put a bright spotlight on that wisdom. He and his wife planned for their retirement. They saved as much money as they could and paid off all of their bills. Finally, the year came for them both to retire. They were filled with excitement about the great world travel plans they were about to embark on. Before they took the first trip, his wife passed away.
I had lunch with another lady this past spring who told me a similar story. She and her husband planned for adventure when they retired. He fell ill, and despite having the money, he couldn’t travel.
Another conversation with a good friend further fueled my plans. This lady and her husband waited until retirement to enjoy their lives. When they finally retired, they could not afford to fund their dream adventures.
Bum and I are “empty-nesters”.God has blessed us with good health and enough income for a comfortable lifestyle. We enjoy spending time together and have a similar desire to see other areas of our country.
Bum has been telling me for years that we need to enjoy life more and not be so fanatically concerned about saving for retirement. It has taken a few years for me to “hear” her, but I finally do. I still need to fuel that retirement machine, but I also need to enjoy life more, now.
Bum works for a really nice Principal at Petree Elementary School in Winston-Salem. When Mrs. Davis heard about our desire to travel the country, she allowed Bum to take an extra 2 weeks off after Christmas break this year.
Therefore, we are going to spend December 18, 2010 thru January 17, 2011 together on the road touring the country. Our plans are very fluid, but we intend to drive along the southern states, across the country, into California, Oregon and Washington State and then back down across the center of the country back..
So, if you wish, you can follow our travel activities on Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare and our blogs. Bum and I will write about our adventures, and I promise to FourSquare like a wild man and say hello to as many Starbucks Baristas as I can.
Check out our blogs @ www.tlburriss2.wordpress.com and www.rlburriss.wordpress.com
My twitter account is www.twitter.com/tlburriss and I intend to keep it up to date with Foursquare and other good tweets about our events.
We plan to post pictures on our Facebook walls as well @ www.facebook.com/TLburriss and www.facebook.com/RLburriss. Feel free to connect with us there if you have not already.
OK – what about not having any plans for another job.
When we return to North Carolina in mid-January, I will need to get busy finding the next opportunity and an adequate revenue stream. I have no idea what that looks like, and I do not plan to consider any ideas until I am home again. I’m not worried because I believe that God will lead me in the right direction.
All I know right now is that whatever it is, it will involve the following:
Giving back to my community.
Doing something that I am passionate about.
Helping people and businesses that impact people’s lives directly
I will have more time to write the book that I know is in me
I will have more time for my family and friends.
Again, I have no idea what this will be. The options are endless as long as I do what I tell others to do – “Open your eyes and mind simultaneously and the opportunities of a lifetime will make themselves apparent to you”.
Thanks to my Dale Carnegie class I have learned that the real keys to beneficial life changes are really quite simple.
Discover a passion that ignites your soul and do whatever you can to make your passion your life.
Overcome the fear of this change thru this exercise.
What is the worst that can happen if you do make a significant & beneficial life change.
Accept that the worst may actually happen.
Do everything you can to keep the worst from happening, while you make the changes.
For me, the worst thing that could happen is losing my house. And I do run that risk by walking away from my job.
I accept this as a possibility. Now – I will work my butt off to make sure this does not happen by doing everything possible to find a way to start creating a new revenue stream. This could be through part time jobs, consulting work or getting hired by another company. Again, I have no idea what that looks like today. But I will work hard at this part of the plan when I return.
This has been a long time coming. I dreamed of having the courage to do this for years. Finally, I have the guts and desire to make it happen.
Thank you to everyone who over the past year have been encouraging me to make this leap.
I appreciate all of the great input from so many fabulous friends.