I have butterflies in my stomach. I think the nervousness stems from embarking on the professional challenges I have in front of me this year. It’s always a good sign when this feeling hits the pit of my gut. I never met a deadline I didn’t thrive on.

That quality came in pretty handy when I was a daily journalist. But it can get a little dicey in other areas of life. Nothing like putting your back to the wall to get your kicks, huh? It’s heady. I think it’s one of the things that makes me interesting. Does that sound narcissistic?

Sometimes I feel like a hypocrite when I’m coaching a client who is apologetic about waiting until the last minute to get something done. I certainly don’t advocate that M.O. for everyone all the time. But there’s something about it that works for me a good deal of the time. A friend pointed that out to me a few months ago and I found it to be an astute observation.

The bottom line is I have a lot of admiration for people who accomplish great things when they’ve hit a low point, when their backs are to the wall. J.K. Rowling, Oprah, Streisand. I never consciously set out to be one of them but it seems that since a layoff nearly three years ago I have been forced to evaluate what really, really matters to me. Am I so convinced that coaching and writing are my destiny that I’m willing to do anything to make the combo work?

At what point do I say, “Nancy, you’ve lost your marbles. Now assemble them and go hop on the 9-to-5 treadmill.” Hmmmmmm. Feels like it’s do or die time.

No wonder the butterflies are in flight.