One of the hardest things about dealing with change is not knowing what’s ahead. As human beings, we like to have a level of certainty in our lives.
When things are unknown or unfamiliar, it can be very easy to start imagining different possibilities. Depending on our mental conditioning, the future we imagine can be exciting and inspiring, or it can be scary and uncomfortable.
Therefore, the better prepared we are when making a major change, the greater the chances the change will work out best for us. In sports, there is a concept called “The 5 P’s” which stands for, Perfect preparation prevents poor performance.
It is not different for you and I. If we’ve done our preparation prior to making a major change, we will avoid the risks that comes with any type of change.
I learnt the importance of being better prepared when making a major change the hard way. When I left my corporate career to start my own business, I thought I had enough money saved up to get me through the transition period. Boy, was I wrong? Having virtually no experience running a small business, I quickly learned why most businesses struggle the first few years.
The fact that I was on my own and had to do everything in the business from creating content, meeting potential prospects, following up with prospects, attending networking events, handling all administration tasks to delivering the service I was hired to provide, running a business proved extremely challenging. This created all sorts of financial pressures and could have been a lot more serious had I not changed some of my business strategies.
Fortunately over the years, I had developed additional skills which allowed me to generate additional income via consulting and training work. The key lesson for me was before making a major change, I had to ensure that I had put the right things in place that would support me over the long term, not just in the immediate short term.
Here are five things to consider when making a major change in life so that we can be confident that the change we want to make is best for us and the change is being made for the right reasons.
- Give yourself time to reflect. Change can often bring up a number of things such as concerns, fears, regrets, and also not knowing how to deal with the unknown. One of the best things we can do is to give ourselves time and space for self-reflection and contemplation. It is also advisable to go away from our normal environment so that we don’t get triggered by our environment with the same patterns of thinking.
- Be clear why you want to make a change. Sometimes change is brought about by a significant emotional event. This is where we have to be careful that we are not making a change as a reaction to an event. Instead, we have to be clear as to what our real purpose or intention is for making a change and knowing how making a change will support us moving forward.
- Be aware of other small changes that may be happening simultaneously. It is very tempting to try and make lots of changes in a short period of time. For example, if someone is going through a major career change, other changes could also occur at the same time like relocating to a new city or country, dealing with family or relationship pressures, and maybe maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine. If we have too many things on our plate, it can be very easy to get overwhelmed and even start questioning whether we have made the right decision or not.
- Have a written plan. We will never truly know the full consequences of a major change until we’re going through it or have gone through it. What can help make the transition smoother is to have an initial plan to follow. This plan has to be flexible enough so that we can adapt to any new awareness, information or insights we receive when we take action towards our ultimate outcome. We should also remember that a plan is what we know at the time we created it and there is always scope for refinement and improvement.
- Consult with people you trust. It is always helpful to have a support network and to be able to reach out to people during times of change. They can be a sounding board and offer valuable insights and perspectives that we may not be considering. While listening to other people’s perspectives is valuable, at the end of the day, we have to follow our heart and do what we know to be true for us. That is what will make the change worthwhile in the long run.
We all deal with change differently and the better prepared we are, the better the change will be for us. If we don’t consider these things, the major change we make could have some serious ramifications and lead to more issues down the track. If we do consider these things, then we are giving ourselves a much better chance of making a smooth transition and reaching our objectives a lot easier and faster.
Question: What is something else to consider when preparing to make a major change in life?
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