I’m not afraid of dying. As a matter of fact, I’m tired and I could use the rest. I am afraid of dogs, and I’m afraid of swimming in large natural bodies of water. (Thanks for that one, mom. Jaws was a cinematic masterpiece, but maybe not the best film to show your third grader.) Although I’m not afraid of dying, I am acutely aware that time is running out, and I’ve got some $#&% to do.
Jason and I just interviewed Rick Telberg, the uber-cool veteran journalist of the accounting profession. At one point in the interview Rick killed me. He said, “Change is constant. You have to change. You change, or you die. By ‘die’ I mean that these guys simply run out the clock, go out of business, and make room for the next generation.” If that’s death, then I’m terrified of dying Rick Telberg style.
When you give up, you’re dead. When life is good enough and you decide to coast, you just turned into a zombie. The Zombie Apocalypse is here (hooray, Magic: The Gathering nerds, you were right).
In the 2011 movie Sucker Punch (I know you either didn’t see it or you hated it; just relax and play along, Blumer), a group of imprisoned/enslaved women are plotting a very dangerous, very risky escape. One of the women says, “There are armed guards everywhere! And if Blue finds out, we’re dead!” Another voices her continued support of the risky plan when she points out to the group, “We’re already dead.” So why are we afraid of doing anything? If Rick Telberg is right, and dying is simply “running out the clock,” well the clock is running out regardless. We’re already dead. You can do anything when you realize that on the grand scale of things you have nothing to lose.
Why are you not pursuing your BHAG? “Because I could fail and that would be hard.” Spoiler alert: Life’s hard anyways, dumbass.
I’m currently working as a CPA in industry. I am way overpaid, I have lots of job security, and I get to do my “little jokes and skits” on the side. It’s been a great ride getting here. I could run out the clock very comfortably. No. Not comfortably. Securely. My existential crises arise when it starts to look like I’ve “arrived” and that “this is it.” And you can’t be comfortable in an existential crisis.
So I say this kind of crap all the time. As a result, I put myself at risk of being a hypocrite if not a liar. Ten months ago at the 2011 THRIVEal Deeper Weekend gathering in Greenville, we all had to say something that we needed to stop doing and something we needed to start doing. I said that I needed to quit my job and start my own comedy accounting dealie full time. To date, I am still not doing my own comedy dealie full time. I’m a hypocrite. A THRIVEal Pharisee. A THRarisee.
So I’m sorry for lying to you (refer to title). It’s just about time for me to take the zombie antidote — take the risks that I know I need to take. What about you? Are you going to jump off the cliff, or are you going to continue eating brains for lunch?
Greg was born in Akron, Ohio, in the shadow of the Firestone tire factory. He began to swim competitively when he was eight, swimming for the Mountlake Terrace Lemmings. He graduated in 1995 from the University of Washington with a math degree. He chose math for the ladies. After serving ten-years as an 8th grade math teacher, he decided it was time for a career change, mainly because he “couldn’t stand those little bastards.” He began his accounting career with a local CPA firm in Orem, Utah, where he consistently failed the QuickBooks ProAdvisor advanced certification exam. Greg currently works as the Controller for the Utah Valley Physicians Plaza. He lives in Provo, Utah, with his wife and two kids. He enjoys eating maple bars, drinking Diet Pepsi, and swearing.