Channel your Inner Jim
Wake Up Call
There are certain times, certain things that wake you up. You didn’t even realize you were half asleep. Going through life in your new home. Seattle. Your buddies back in New Jersey, or where ever your old neighborhood might be. The friends of your life, the guys and gals.
It’s the weekend mornings that you miss them. But they call you regularly to check up on you. The best friends, the best times. They call you from the Giants’ tailgate, or the house party — the things you used to do with them. Of course it’s 7:00 in the morning for you. They’re three hours ahead. They miss you, and you miss them. And you ask yourself in these moments, “Why did I leave when I had all of that?”
My friend, Jimmy did it—just jumped on a plane and moved to LA. He had a new career in media, in New York. But LA was his destiny at that time. He was there for about eight years. When the job opportunity came, he simply picked up and went there, without looking back (he did look back actually, and lives in New Jersey again).
Jim was absolutely, still is, one of my best friends. Probably my best friend but I don’t like to discount my others. Jimmy was right — I can’t believe I forgot he did this well before me. He saw an opportunity and took off.
That’s why you move. That’s why you run and see something new. That’s a career, that’s you.
When Jim was moving back to New Jersey, with his wife (awesome gal), I was so psyched for him to return. Then, within a week of learning about his return, I was offered the job in Seattle. So I went, but Jimmy was inspiring — He said, “Go get it! I’ll see you soon.”
An Ethical Soul
Jim was at the Giants tailgate when my friend group called. I spoke to him briefly as they passed the phone around the group. Then they all went back to the tailgate. And I was alone in Seattle with my thoughts. That’s when I thought about Jim.
What I think most about when I think about Jim is he is a soulful guy. It shines. He lives it. In High School, as we became young adults and began our individual career paths, he never changed. It’s his baseline. From that baseline he developed a personal code of ethics. You sense it at first, then you see it. He’s a great person that you can trust and count on.
A Defining Experience
So when I mention that some things wake you up, I remember my friend, Jimmy. I walk into work and the boss asks me into his office. “Here’s what we have to do!” We apparently had to get something done. No one will question us, no one cares.
But I cared. I was scared by this idea. It wasn’t actually wrong, just not really ethical.
I was ready to do it, of course. I was having a great time in Seattle—why ruin a great thing. Move forward. Do your job (that’s the job your boss asks you to do), and have a martini on Friday.
Walking back to my desk I suddenly remembered Jim. Jim was magnetic. People loved him as they should. But he was never close to fearsome, until it mattered. Jim would never back down from his baseline ethics. Our ethics define us. They don’t actually give us a purpose — what could that purpose actually be? Our ethics carve out the place where we belong, where we feel the most real.
Struggle and Solution
I didn’t say “no” to the boss right away. Like I said, I was a bit scared. But I remembered my friend, Jim. Jim couldn’t intimidate anyone, except when it mattered. But when it mattered, his ethics and baseline gave him strength.
So I went back into the boss’ office, later that day and found my “INNER JIM”. First, I did some research. I needed to build my own confidence, as you should. Learn things, isn’t that what I say? Whatever you’re doing, learn, study, gain skills. Truthfully, I didn’t use much of the research knowledge I gained that day, but later on I did. You never lose knowledge (unless you actually lose the brain—I‘m getting there, eventually—but hopefully not until after my kids graduate). Learning the skills, though, and having that knowledge—the confidence, gets you in the right place. You’ll never forget it if it means something to you.
My Inner Jim – Your Inner Jim
So, my inner Jim. I told the boss we weren’t doing it that way. I was honestly scared (terrified), but Jim used to be scared, too. He just never backed down from his fear.
And the research that seemed irrelevant? Yes, I used it that day, but I wasn’t just pontificating. I used what I learned to offer some alternatives. Some different ideas. You can’t just disagree with the boss—you need to offer some value, give them a reason to change their mind. I did.
I walked home that day looking at Elliot Bay, the water and the sail boats. I won something that day—and like you will, found my inner Jim.