It’s big news here in the land of O. Chip Kelly, our beloved Ducks coach has traded us in for some bigger birds. He’s going to the NFL to coach the Philadelphia Eagles.
But what really fascinates me are the amount of people trying to predict the outcome of his move. And oddly, I find myself relating to what he must have gone through in making the decision.
Because the NFL isn’t college ball and the percentage of coaches who bomb out in the transition is high (I’m going somewhere with this…) BUT it’s the way for him to take his career to the place he envisions. It’s the way for him to expand, to grow.
I’m a pre-panicker. I panic before the panicking ever needs to happen. But I found myself sitting in a hotel room in New York in 2011, with Maggie Marr, Aimee Carson and Abbi Wilder. And I was panicking about going to a meeting with an agent to pitch a Single Title book.
“But the chances of making it out there are slim! Contemporary romance is so hard to sell. What if I forget how to write category length books? What if I BREAK WHAT I HAVE in my attempt to have more?”
I was wailing, I tell you. Because change is scary. Stepping out of your comfort zone is scary. And the thought, which, plenty of people are currently slinging around Coach Kelly, is that the wrong decision can ruin you completely.
Unlike Chip, I didn’t have to choose between one or the other. I didn’t have to leave category. (I love category far too much to leave it. Harlequin Presents was my DREAM from day one. And I am LIVING it.) But I still felt like trying out ST was a career gamble. Even the act of getting an agent was terrifying.
But after pep talking from my roommates I went to breakfast and pitched my book, and now I have an agent I love and a book deal I’m happy with. Sometimes you have to pull your pants up and be brave, and get over yourself. Sometimes you have to take the chances you feel pulled toward.
For each of us, those chances are different. And sometimes people will root against you, or feel betrayed by your decision, or jealous of where you end up. And sometimes they’ll end…badly. That is a possibility. But you have to take them anyway. In life as in writing. And in football.
This sort of follows the theme of a post I did recently about fear. But I find that fear controls a lot of my life. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was true for other people as well.
One thing I know for sure is that I don’t want to turn away from something because of fear. There are better reasons. Basically any reason is better. (Unless you’re turning away from a spider out of fear. There is no better reason or better course of action)
Sometimes moving things forward in your career is about taking a step into the unknown. It involves ignoring your fear and pushing through anyway. It’s about being willing to get beat up along the way.
I’ll just say, my road to category romance wasn’t paved with rejection. But my road to single title was. It was indeed.
So I, kind of grudgingly, wish Chip Kelly the best. And I hope he goes from glory to greater glory in this. I hope his risk is rewarded.
And may we also be brave enough to take those big steps. So that we can have our risks rewarded too.