Monday, September 27, 2010

Countdown 3-2-1

Might as well
Jump . . .

When I was a young pup, I jumped off a bridge because a friend did it. Actually, I even went first. We were backpacking through New Zealand and my buddy just loved the thought of bungy jumping at the very birthplace of the 'sport'... and I knew her so well that if I didn't jump too, she would tease me for the rest of our lives for not trying something so outrageously fun and exhilarating. So I did it, with the request that I go first. I was in a bit of tizzy with nerves so my friend supported me with a lot of positive reinforcement. Somehow someone wrapped a giant rubber band around my legs (protected by a towel, no less) and then directed me to a platform over a vast river in a canyon where they instructed me to relax (huh! my fingers are sweating right now just WRITING about this!) and look to the horizon and think about... flying. I didn't quite fly but that jump was one of the most incredible sensations ever... it was obviously falling, but there was something more... like freedom. And maybe just a little stupidity with the level of risk. But not one ounce of regret, because I knew I would always remember this moment, this moment when I took a leap of faith.*

The beginning of my adventure into museum and heritage consulting feels like standing on that platform. It is not easy to fathom - and there are many more steps than a rubber band and a couple of towels and listening to someone who is trained in talking you through the steps... or talking me into it. There is insurance (HUGE cost), registering my name as a sole proprietor, getting a business bank account and a tax account number and the list goes on. It's a big responsibility, and it is a jump in responsibility to do this on my own. Sure, I have had my business cards and my office set up for a few years but still.... it is odd to go here every day. It takes a lot of focus. And there's a lot of waiting.... I have two proposals moments away from becoming contracts but it is all so slow! Then what will life be like when they come through? Will I be working 24/7 ?? I don't know, but something tells me consulting will be a little bit of falling, a little bit of freedom. And it could just maybe feel like flying...

* That is me in the striped shirt on the platform on the Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown, New Zealand, on April 8, 1992. I jumped/fell/flew 143 feet (44 m). What a thrill! And, yes, I even 'got the t-shirt', which still makes me silly-grin. :D


  1. You know, in lots of ways, it's all a leap. All of it.
    The difference is in the preparation and in the support you've gotten along the way and as you go forward. Take the analogy even further along the path and what's there? Ropes and towels that stand for your professional training and your experience. The others who have been there before helping tie your ankles just so that you don't fail.

    But there is another element in play and that's when you begin to do the actual 'work' and start wondering about it. Have I done enough? Does it look good? Did I do enough research? What have I forgotten? And beleive many more similar questions. In the end though, if you're fair to yourself and your training and experience, you'll probably get most of it right and you'll have the time and opportunity to fix/add stuff that you want. And no one hires a consultant to fail - not in the non-fiction world anyway.

    Faith! There's the leap!

  2. I remember that after I bungee jumped someone yelled to me, 'GRAB THE POLE!' I was hanging upside down, total head / adrenaline rush and had no idea what they were talking about. So they yelled again, "GRAB THE POLE SO WE CAN LOWER YOU INTO THE RAFT!' Pole? RAFT?? There's a RAFT? Oh ya...I just jumped out over a river. I hadn't thought that there would be a system after the jump. And for some reason it hadn't occurred to me that there would be people at the bottom watching out for me, to guide me along. I kinda think that's where I am right now. And you're right, it's faith that it will work out that will guide me. : )