The recession cloud that’s been hanging over us for the past year or so has given some people the opportunity to examine their strengths and start over in ways they’d only dreamt about when they were riding high.
Even in the best of times, there are people who wake up every morning wishing they could step off the treadmill and pursue activities that give them strength. They dream all day about taking a less-traveled path that fuels their passion.

But they’re trapped – held hostage by all the things the wonderful things their current path has provided.

“I would love to quit my job and start something new, but I’d lose my house, my insurance, my retirement.”

Enter the worst economic climate since the 1930s.

Mergers, corporate bankruptcies, layoffs, stock market plunges – thousands of people who’d been stuck in jobs that drained their souls have found themselves in a position where starting over on a new path isn’t as risky as it once was because all the stuff they were afraid of losing has been siphoned away by forces beyond their grasp.
The New York Times recently profiled a few of these folks, like 44-year old Monty Wilson who left a Wall Street position to follow a decade-old dream of starting a floor-polishing business.

Now his navy blue and gray suits hang in his closet. He wears cargo shorts and golf shirts to work.
I wake up excited in the morning,” said Mr. Wilson, who has taken a big pay cut and whose wife has gone back to work as a teacher to help support their three children under 13. He hopes that one day he will be able to earn what he did in the white-collar world.
I am having fun and learning again,” he said. “Floors are living, breathing things. They expand when it gets humid, and they contract when it gets dry, and every floor is different.”

Perhaps you find yourself at the same fork in the trail. One is a well-worn path with clearly marked turns along the way and the other is a road less traveled and less certain. Let me encourage you to spend some time intentionally examining those activities that give you strength AND those that drain you dry. Keep track of them, catalog them and look for opportunities to do more of what charges your batteries, more of what makes you strong.
Then, if life hands you a silver-lined cloud of opportunity, take it and run with it. I think you’ll be glad you did.