Change is a part of life, right? So, why is it so hard for most of us? Even in situations that are negative we often find it difficult to take steps toward a new reality. Have you heard the phrase ‘Better the Devil you know’? That about sums it up. There is comfort in knowing what to expect even if the results are not what you desire. The unknown is scary, AND it can also be exciting.
Let’s take a look at some women who have made changes in their career or at home and see what they did along their journey.
Janice knew in her heart that she needed to make a career change. Not only was she no longer energized by her job and the people around her at work, but she had started to dread going in to the office every day. She was busy, though, at home and at work and didn’t feel that she had time to figure out a feasible plan to change her situation.
Her first step was to figure out what would make her happier and more fulfilled at work. This seemed overwhelming at first until a good friend suggested that she keep an informal list of things that she enjoyed doing. After taking notes in her phone for a month whenever she did something that made her really feel fulfilled, Janice reviewed the list and could see some common themes – interacting with people, applying ideas to implement solutions, and traveling. She was able to identify what she needed that was lacking in her current job. Her job was an independent support position supplying input to groups within the company that then implemented related programs. It was a desk job that didn’t require any travel and barely any movement from her computer.
The next step was to begin to visualize what career change she could make that would satisfy these identified needs. Again, she felt overwhelmed. What she needed was so different from what she had . . . Then, she remembered something her mother used to tell her when she was working on a large project in college – ‘Start with a bite-size piece and go from there – it will grow.’ Ah, her mother was wise.
She had a conversation with her manager about her interest in carrying forward on the input she had to work with the groups implementing programs. Her manager who had always been impressed with her analytical abilities was willing to test out some changes in her role. She was assigned to work with a group on an important program implementation that used her original analysis and input. This test which led to a long-term shift in her role allowed her to participate in implementing a solution, work with a team, and she left her desk on a regular basis for team meetings!
Linda felt jumpy much of the time and knew that she was spending WAY too much time streaming Netflix and Amazon Prime videos. Her career was going well, and her family was doing fine. Her youngest had just left for college and all was as it should be. Then why did she feel so anxious and uncomfortable? There must be something wrong with her to not be feeling thankful and satisfied with all she had, right? OK, it was time to examine those negative thoughts.
Really taking a look at how she was feeling about herself, Linda realized that she was used to much more activity and with the kids not home on a daily basis, she was feeling stagnant. She knew she needed to find something new to change the way she was feeling and seeing herself. Easier said than done. Patterns that have lasted years are challenging to change.
Linda had always tried to stay fit taking exercise classes once or twice a week as time permitted. She decided to step that up a bit – no pun intended, and she joined a local walking club that met three mornings a week before work. Not only did she enjoy the benefits of being active, she loved getting outside more often, and one of her new friends described a landscaping project that inspired her to see their property in a whole new way.
She sketched out her ideas of how to add some woodland natural areas to the lawn and also a meditation garden with bamboo, a rock garden, some butterfly bushes and a fountain. Her husband was onboard and they enjoyed getting started on the project together. Working on the meditation garden, though, they ran into difficulties with the fountain and making things fit together the way they wanted and considered scrapping the whole idea. After a pause, they found that it was important to keep focused on the end-goal and know what pieces they were willing to compromise on along the way.
Let’s be honest, it took months longer than expected. However, they enjoyed working together, are proud of the newly landscaped property and they are already thinking about their next joint project . . .
Your journey may not be in a straight line. How you choose to handle the curves are what it’s all about.