Change can and does affect us in powerful ways. Change is unavoidable and constant, even when it is slow and imperceptible on a daily basis. It can come from external sources that life presents: health, job, finance, loss of a loved one, natural disasters. It can also come from within us; we can initiate change through our decisions and actions. Either way, change can be difficult.
External Vs. Self-Initiated Changes
Change from external forces is somehow more normal than the self-initiated kind. For many of us, sometime in our 20s we fall into a pattern or adopt a script in life of the roles and responsibilities we accept. From there we move forward step by step, day by day, year by year. We then feel various degrees of stress as things “happen.” This somehow feels safer than when we decide to make big changes on purpose.
“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.”
― Paulo Coelho
In the past 9 years, I've experienced some of the most profound changes of my life. Some of them happened to me, like death of loved ones, and some were difficult decisions that put me on a path of growth that has been very rewarding.
Turn and Face the Strange
Even when we are making a change we want, it can affect us in unexpected ways. Some of you know that I'm trying to move my office to a location closer to home. The construction of the building I want to be in was delayed by a year, and my other lease was up. My current landlord found a solution for me that required us to move to a different suite within our current building, and we just completed this in December.
By early January, I felt extremely drained. While doing a daily journaling exercise I adopted last year, I made a connection to how I was feeling and the stress of the move. I had been in that old office since 2007. It was the last physical location that hadn't changed with my divorce, my parents’ deaths, ending my business partnership, and so much more. I had not expected that this physical move would affect me in any way, but it did.
Change is difficult, even if it's something we initiate or want.
Although the move has taken a bit of a toll on me, I am very excited about the prospects of moving my office closer to home and into an area with tons of new businesses and entrepreneurs. Excited to save driving as least 4,000 miles per year. Excited about the gas I'll save, and the time (roughly 130 hours per year, or 3 whole work weeks!). This is my “why.” I spent time reviewing and reminding myself of this as I moved into the temporary office location, knowing I'll have to do it again in a year.
Finding the Motivation and Strength to Change
Having a life map and clear goals has helped me make profound changes and decisions—big and small—over the past 5 years. It makes it easier to find the time and energy to do the things I need to do, so that I can do and have the things I want.
Knowing your “why” can give you the courage to make changes—and the strength to weather the stress that inevitably follows.
I knew moving would be challenging and a bit frustrating. But I did not expect to feel anything from ending that chapter in my life. I've learned to look at those feelings when they arise in order to process and acknowledge them. Every single time I've done this, I have grown and learned a bit more about myself. That knowledge helps me make the next set of decisions, helps me be a better father, advisor, employer, and friend.
People often begin a working relationship with me during a time of change. New baby, new marriage, new job, retirement, sale of a business, death, divorce, and other things that happen in life. As I work with people, I do my best to understand their vision of where they want to be so I can give comprehensive advice on how to plan for change. All these changes affect one’s financial life for sure, but there are emotional impacts, too, that sometimes hit us unexpectedly.
Understanding the full impact of change will help give you the strength to move from one goal to the next as you build a meaningful life.
What changes are you thinking about making? Write a vision of what your life would be like in 5 years in an ideal world, then work backwards to determine actions and habits you need now. Please let me know if you’d like to chat or brainstorm. Contact me online or email [email protected].
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The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.