My husband seems to thrive on changing things up regularly. Me? Not so much. I learned this early on when, after only being together for a year, he told me that he’d been offered a new job. In California. More than 2,500 miles away.
I toiled over whether or not to go for quite some time. When he drove out the driveway to make the long 4-day trek, neither of us knew whether I’d follow six months later. Fortunately, I needed to get my time in at work to be vested, so I didn’t have to decide right away. Still, I struggled with what to do.
On the one hand, I loved this man and believed that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. On the other hand, if I left, it meant moving away from everything and everyone who was important to me…my 15-year career in law enforcement, where I’d worked incredibly hard to move my way up in the ranks…my family, especially my sister and nieces…my friends…my everyone and everything.
I’m happy to report that I made that move almost 10 years ago now and I couldn’t be happier! I am finally living my best life possible, with my husband at my side. I’ve also changed careers and am now a full-time freelance writer. I write for Chiropractics Economics magazine, have my own “Successful Solopreneur” column with Businessing Magazine, and have been published by Woman’s Day, Country Living, Costco Connection, and more.
While my journey has been an amazing experience, it hasn’t always been easy. So, how have I been able to switch my life up this much and still smile along the way?
Look at What You’ll Gain
One of the reasons I struggled so much with the cross-country move was because I was so focused on everything I was about to lose. All I could think about was all of the things I would be giving up if I left the only place I’d ever known as “home.”
I was so bothered by this decision that I entered counseling for the first time. After sharing all of my fears with this woman who I was hoping would help me through the decision-making process, she asked me one simple question: What happens if you get there and you actually like it?
That’s when it struck me that I had never thought of that as an option before. What if my life is better after making the change than it was right then? Was that a true possibility? I had to consider it. And once I did, I realized that this was my opportunity to live life on my own terms. This was my chance to pursue love, a new career, and a more fulfilling life all in one swoop!
For you: If you’re facing a major life change, ask yourself this same question. What do you stand to gain from this change? How could it make your life better than it is right now? What value does this change offer? This creates a huge change in perspective that can get you really excited about what may lie ahead.
Going into change with no idea about what to expect is like going into a doctor’s office and waiting to hear what’s wrong with you. It’s a scary prospect. That’s why educating yourself is so important if you’re standing face-to-face with a situation you’ve never experienced before.
This is exactly what I did when I switched careers. I knew nothing about what it meant (or took) to be a full-time writer. Although I’d written reports for court, I’d never written for a client before. Hell, I’d never even really written for myself!
So, the first thing I did was research how to write a book. Six months later, my first one was published and available through Amazon. While that was a great first step, the money coming in wasn’t enough to pay the bills. I had to write for others if I wanted to make a living.
I would sit for hours and read book after book about the art of persuasive writing. I subscribed to writer’s magazines and joined as many writing groups as I could to get on their free e-mail list. I was intent on soaking up whatever information I could about my new career so I had a better idea not only of what to expect, but also how to succeed in this new role.
I also hooked up with a multi-million dollar marketer who graciously taught me what he knew about writing. We’d spend an hour a week on the phone chatting, him sharing the tips and tricks of the trade with me feverishly writing it all down.
It took a lot of time to get myself up to speed, but here’s the cool thing: with education came more confidence. I felt less like a kayak in the middle of a hurricane and more like a cruise ship in a light, mid-summer rain. It gave me a sense of calm. I also had less fear. I knew what to expect as a new writer, reducing my concerns of the unknown.
For you: When thinking about your life change, what can you do to educate yourself so you don’t have so much fear about what lies ahead? What online resources or books can provide valuable information? Who can you speak to that has been through this before and may be able to offer some words of wisdom?
Above all, I have worked incredibly hard to have faith when confronted with any type of change in my life, big or small. I try to remind myself that, although it may not appear that things are moving the way I want them to, they’re moving the way they should.
This doesn’t mean that things are always easy or that I don’t get disappointed when I feel like things aren’t working out. I do. I’m human. They just don’t drag me down as much as they used to because I know that it will eventually work out.
To help remember this, I think back to the times when I thought “life was over” because my world turned upside down, but it actually ended up being better than before. Like when I was told that I had 2 weeks to move only to talk to the right person and wind up moving into one of my favorite houses of all-time (which says a lot because I’ve moved 12 times in the last 12 years). Or when I didn’t get an investigative job only to be hired by the company to write for them (which I wound up being thankful for because I do truly enjoy my writing career).
For you: If you feel like you’re struggling, try to keep faith. If you believe in a higher power, use that strength to help pull you through. At a minimum, keep faith in yourself because you’re stronger than you know. I know this because you’ve read this blog to the end. That tells me that you’re the type of person who doesn’t quit. Don’t start now.
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