The Courage to Pull the Plug

Every once in a while I’m contacted by someone wanting to share their own lifereboot story. They say things like “I left my job in IT to start my own line of women’s dresses” — “I dropped the business track (my parents’ idea of a safe major) so that I could pursue my love for dancing” — or “I left the States so that I could teach English to children in Japan.”

When I hear these “fellow liferebooters” say that I helped inspire them to take action in their lives, I get excited. That’s because it’s exciting to know that I’m not alone in my quest for a more fulfilling life. It’s exciting to know that there are other people who recognize that the life they’re leading isn’t what they truly want. It’s exciting to know that someone else wants to break away from the “live to work to live” cycle in order to follow their dreams.

Consequently, I got excited when I was contacted by Dereck Coatney. Like so many others before him, Dereck decided that there was more to life than going to work each day only to sit in front of a computer for 8 hours. What sets Dereck apart, though, is that after leaving his job, he decided to go for a bike ride. A long bike ride. Specifically, a bike ride from his home in Indianapolis all the way to Portland, Oregon.

Dereck is calling this project “Cubicle Unhappy to Biking Expedition” (C.U.B.E.), and he plans to blog his entire 2,300 mile trip live. Perhaps more importantly, any money he makes as a result of this project will be donated to charity.

Once I read about C.U.B.E., I immediately wanted to help promote it. So here is Dereck Coatney’s guest entry on the definition of a lifereboot, a piece he appropriately calls The Courage to Pull the Plug:

I am, right now, in the process of a lifereboot. I’ve spent years in the traditional mode, doing little more than what the environment around me suggested I should do. But these years have not been spent in vain. They have been busy teaching me just how much the traditional path does not correlate to my true passions. They are the fuel that fires my present conviction. Those years, now light my way. This kind of transformation is a remarkable one. It’s the daunting personal challenge that we each can make where we look at where we are, and make a sometimes painful decision to embark on an untraveled path that we believe will lead us to the doorstep of our dreams. To do just that though, takes hope, and risk, and love. But beyond all of that, it takes insatiable, unrestricted courage.

As pleasant as that may sound to each of you, that word is not even my own. It’s Shaun’s word. It’s the single most defining aspect of an about-face revolution in our lives. It encompasses both our smiles and our tears. This is why Shaun’s vocabulary lifereboot is so meaningful. Sometimes you simply have to pull the plug. You have to turn things off and reload, start from scratch, and imagine a whole new direction that more often than not has never been navigated before by anyone. It’s at that moment when everything’s suddenly on you. Your fate becomes your own.

Performing a lifereboot ultimately requires two things. It requires a thought, followed by an act. Each one has its own unique difficulties and each one is equally important. The thought is where you discover that the direction you are traveling in is ultimately unlikely going to take you to a place where you are happy. It’s when you examine all the evidence you can call your life, as it has been, and discover that you’re off course, you’re not satisfied or you know you won’t be in the future. Unfortunately, for many people I know, they accomplish this step in one fashion or another, and they stop. They give up. They watch their dreams disintegrate in a slow flash that dims a small fraction each day.

They never act. They never summon the courage, even the audacity, to go against the grain and charge off with their own two feet in hot pursuit of what they love. The largest force that I know of that prevents the action is the risk of failure. It’s the obstacle that has caused even me to have started only now instead of sooner. You must summon the courage. So I unplugged. Turned it off. Am rebooting as we speak.

I’m leaving my cubicle and will be biking across America attempting to inspire an abundance of human kindness. I’m leaving my personal goals and ambitions behind me. I’m going to turn my attention to raising as much money for charity as possible. I’m taking a break and trying something new. I will be broadcasting the entire 2,300 mile trip live straight from the handlebars.

To make the event as successful as possible, I would like to get as many people as possible involved in the event. With that in mind, Shaun has allowed me the opportunity to speak to each of you, and for that I’d like to deeply thank him. I’d also like to thank each of you for taking the time to hear about a great lifereboot and I hope many of you can come and participate while all the lights come flickering back on again, the screen flashes back to life, and we all get back on to human progress.

Dereck, I really admire the goal you’ve set out for yourself, as well as your generosity. I am certain that I won’t be the only one following your progress as you embark on your journey. Good Luck, Fellow Liferebooter!

Watch Dereck’s C.U.B.E. promotional video below:

External Links:

  1. — Dereck’s Blog
  2. C.U.B.E. Home
  3. The day I just decided to leave
If you've found this website helpful, please click the PayPal button. You will be helping me pursue my dream career as a writer. Thanks for your support!

10 Responses to “The Courage to Pull the Plug”

#1 I’d love to help | I Will Not Die on 06, Jul, 2008 at 9:12 pm

[…] his writing and the many things he has to share on his site. You may read my guest article here. Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and […]

#2 Jeff on 07, Jul, 2008 at 4:16 am

Dereck, I find this inspirational.

Have you read Kerouac’s On the Road?

#3 Hayden Tompkins on 07, Jul, 2008 at 10:15 am

2,300 miles! That’s incredible.

#4 GadgetPig on 07, Jul, 2008 at 1:34 pm

Best wishes Dereck on your long trip!

On a side note, biking is a wonderful way to relieve stress, rethink existing careers, and enjoy life “outside the box”. Yesterday I took my first long bike ride in over 20years; I was so happy to see Shaun’s/Dereck’s article about biking this morning.

Sometimes, the simplest things in life (riding a bike) is much more meaningful and rewarding than say, achieving 99.99% IT support SLA scores.

#5 Purpose and Passion: Identical Twins? « Persistent Illusion on 07, Jul, 2008 at 2:21 pm

[…] of iWillNotDiewrote an article at LifeReboot called “The Courage to Pull the Plug“.  Dereck has decided he has had enough of being a cubicle monkey and just upped and quit […]

#6 Dereck on 07, Jul, 2008 at 6:38 pm

Thanks everyone!

#7 Jinno on 03, Aug, 2008 at 9:06 pm

Hey, Shaun. Just posting, hoping to get some sort of verification that you’re still alive, or that you were successful in getting a job or something. It’s been nearly a month since you’re last post, which I find scary, I guess.

Anywho, in terms of your aforementioned comment regarding your fear of posting work you don’t like on this blog, I’m going to point you in the direction of an article Jeff Atwood posted on Coding Horror yesterday.

#8 Rebooting Your Life « FourCalicos on 18, Sep, 2008 at 6:03 pm

[…] The Courage to Pull the Plug […]

#9 Help A Blogger Make His Dream Come True on 02, Oct, 2008 at 1:24 pm

[…] this page to see some YouTube videos he created for the journey. He also did an interview over at that really explains the details of what it is that he wants to do. Here is the paragraph that sums […]

#10 Bookmarks about English on 21, Oct, 2008 at 4:15 pm

[…] – bookmarked by 5 members originally found by emanrov on 2008-10-09 The Courage to Pull the Plug – bookmarked by 2 members originally […]

Leave a Reply