Some experiences simply do not translate. You have to go to know. ~ Kobi Yamada
Although there are an unlimited number of ways to make the transition from employee to entrepreneur or from current business to a new profit center, people stuck in either-or thinking overlook one of the best options.
What I’m talking about is a variation of what Barbara Sher calls “a temporary permanent commitment.” Instead of disposing of all current enterprises, you find a creative way to test your passion.
You’re in a much better position, after all, to assess an idea once you have actively engaged in its pursuit. In many instances, you’ll have to create your own opportunities, but don’t overlook these resources that can allow you to audition an idea and decide if it belongs in your repertoire.
° Intern. Small businessowners have been eager users of intern talent during the summertime when ambitious college students are looking for some hands-on experience.
There’s a growing trend, however, toward internship programs for adults. Since many older career changers are not limited to summer availability as their younger counterparts are, this is an idea that’s catching on.
° Volunteer Vacations. In the past decade, volunteer vacations have grown in popularity with people wanting to donate time and energy to helping others. Global Volunteers has been one organization leading the way with programs located around the world.
It seems to me that there’s another reward of participating. Let’s say you’re contemplating a long term move abroad to a country that’s caught your fancy. If you’ve only visited as a tourist, you may have an incomplete picture of what it would be like to actually live there.
That’s where a volunteer vacation can give you another point of view. In most instances, you’ll be working alongside residents of the country, living in small towns and interacting in a way that tourists don’t normally manage to do.
° Apprentice. Another old idea that’s seen a revival involves an experienced person entering into a long term relationship with a novice to teach what they know. A woman in one of my workshops had set up such an arrangement with an artist she admired and worked happily alongside for several months.
If your desires are aimed at skilled trades, most states have information on apprenticeship programs that also involve classroom instruction.
° Design Your Own Curriculum. Remember those required classes you had to take (and pay for) in college even if you weren’t slightly interested? Don’t let those boring experiences keep you out of the classroom now.
This time around, you get to decide what you want to learn. A bonus of being a regular student is that you can sort out your passions from your passing fancies and move along to things that really suit you.
° 90 Day Trial. A quarter of a year is a nifty time frame for auditioning an idea. You must do more than just carry it around. As Patricia T. O’Conner points out, “An idea in your head is merely an idle notion. But an idea written down, that’s the beginning of something.”
It’s pretty simple, actually. For 90 days you focus, experiment and reserve judgment. Once the time is up, then it’s time to take inventory, evaluate and decide if your idea deserves another 90 days or, even, a permanent role in your life.
Not sure if your idea passed the audition or not? Use this guideline from David Whyte: “Anyone or anything that does not bring you alive, is too small for you.”