the sounding line
a podcast about starting out & starting over
When I left my career as a school principal, a few things were clear to me:
I had no idea what I wanted to be
I never really learned how to make that decision
My students were grappling with the same dilemma
Trying to decide what we want to do can feel like this murky, unknowable challenge and it can also feel like the first really important decision we make as adults.
But how do you do it?
How do you know what the right job will be?
And how do you get there?
And then what if it’s not right after all?
How do you know when it’s the best decision to leave a job and start over?
And how in the world do you start over??
If you’re like me, you find yourself lost in these spiraling thoughts, endlessly scrolling job search engines, falling down the rabbit hole of someone’s Instagram account, then their LinkedIn, and then their personal website, all the while trying to uncover How did they get there??
Actually, none of this feels very helpful. I had the feeling that what was missing when it comes to deciding what to do with your life was an actual experience: a chance to know what it’s really like to do something on any given day. But the truth is, experiences are expensive and time-intensive. As someone with the privilege of financial security and a stable network of support, I still found myself facing down some big myths about what success looks like that often left me feeling paralyzed. But if you don’t have financial security and support, taking a risk to test something out is not only scary, it might be altogether impossible.
This made me frustrated.
I wanted a tool that could change this for my students who deserve it and for everyone who wanted it, including myself. I wanted a way to see into that murky, unknowable place: I wanted a sounding line.
So this is where I tell you what that weird title, The Sounding Line, is all about. A sounding line is this deceptively simple tool that sailors have used for thousands of years to measure the depth of the ocean. It’s essentially a long piece of rope with a weight at one end that, when lowered into the water, allows someone to know something about a place they’ve never been to themselves.