I have no tax advice for you. Nothing you should do to your lawn before the next season hits. Nor do I have anything to say about your frequent flier miles or doctor visits and insurance deductibles.
I DO however, have three must-do’s that will help you walk into a new year with more energy, peace, and hope.
REPAIR a Relationship
Nobody is perfect. Maybe there is someone you are on the outs with or someone who is holding a grudge against you. There is no better time than the present to address it. Think of the possibilities of a new year without the stress or aggravation of this energy drain.
Perhaps there is such a relationship, but a heart to heart is just not possible. In that case, forgiveness is the only option. Whether you can speak to the person about it or not, work on forgiving what they did to you. If they are mad about something you did, forgive them for withholding their friendship, love, or approval of you.
People behave within the limits of their own growth and experience. Forgive and move on.
Do it for yourself, not for them.
PURGE Unnecessary Things
It would be nice if we had the time to stop everything and de-clutter our homes and offices. But, assuming you don’t have that kind of time, the mandate here is to shed a few BIG physical items that have been in your way for longer than they should be.
Are you walking by a lean-to of unused golf clubs at the garage door? Do you have a closet full of clothes you don’t wear? Is your desk a mess?
Choose one big mess and clear it out.
Why bother? It’s one less thing to trip you up. It’s one more opportunity to see clearly.
PLAN Something Important Way In Advance
Have you ever dreamed of taking a month off? Taking a particular trip? Seeing a particular relative or friend or enjoying a holiday in a particular way but you’ve never gotten around to making it happen?
Well, that stops right now.
I once managed to take the entire month of August off. It took me a year and a half of advanced planning to make it happen. I blocked it out in the calendar, told people who relied on me for work that I’d be unavailable and made the plans to be in Vermont for a month with my family. One of the best things we’ve ever done without a doubt.
What can you do? Stop making excuses. Don’t worry about not having the money or time for whatever it is you’d like to do. Put it in the calendar way in advance and MAKE IT HAPPEN.
These three steps will help you to make the present more pleasant, usher in a new year with some clarity, and have something great to look forward to.
Enjoy the holiday season!
“I know what I want to do, but it won’t pay the bills!”
My answer to that is “It may not pay them all right away, but don’t let that be a reason to stay stuck.”
One of the biggest obstacles to people making a change (when they DO know what they want to do) is math. The math doesn’t add up to making the monthly/annual nut from day one.
“Yes, that’s true. AND… .?”
It could add up after the first year
It could make you enough money on the side to create some savings for when you attempt full time
It could put you in the position to create an alliance with someone else where you can get paid right away
It could take longer than you’d like to make the change, but you can use that time to pave the path in the new direction
It could leverage you for new opportunities that you can’t even imagine yet
It could work right away!
This is not Pollyanna speaking. This is 25 years of evidence doing the talking.
I’ve seen artists leave teaching jobs to make it creating their art full time.
I’ve seen doctors move on to related fields and be successful after much angst
over possibly losing their credibility
I’ve seen musicians leave their day jobs and develop their own unique opportunities.
I’ve seen executives change fields successfully, having no experience in the new one
I’ve seen lawyers use their training in a way that was a benefit in non-law jobs
They all made the math work … eventually.
How do you DO that?
Prepare: If you know you are ready to do something else and you know what it is despite HUGE reasons to stay put, you must start preparing.
- If you don’t have what Stephen Covey called a “possibilities account,” aka savings to invest in yourself, start cutting back on expenses in order to create a cushion.
- If your new direction offers an opportunity to start making money right away, start! And bank all that money to support a future leap.
- Involve family and friends in setting the stage for a new direction. Support makes a difference and holds you accountable.
- Complete any training or studying you need for your new direction BEFORE dropping your income.
I’m working with a woman on the operational side of show business who wants to move into another aspect of the field. She has started delegating to more junior people in her office to free up her time. She has begun asking for introductions and meeting with relevant contacts. She takes an extra hour before work studying up on people and projects she wants to be knowledgeable about. Over the course of a few short weeks, she has made solid progress toward making a change. Preparation is making a huge difference, and she is moving very quickly towards solidifying her first opportunity to make money in the new area.
Execute: Start making inroads
- If you need to become known in a new field, start asking for introductions and contacting strangers to gain information and to let them know what you are interested in.
- Volunteer in your desired field to get experience and meet as many people as you can while doing so
- Do what you want to do. Just do it. Start blogging, creating your art, volunteering your expertise or even charging for it. Just get going!
- Get your resume ready, design the website, order the new business card. Just take steps in the new direction, no matter how big or small.
- Explore the many possible ways your desired direction could provide income. For example, my son who started in music playing only one instrument, has no intention of being a poor musician. He’s learned how to program synthesizers, taught himself how to operate sound equipment and musical computer programs, jumped into musically directing musicals, volunteered as musical coordinator, contacted people who play on Broadway who have let him sit in on their show, and taught himself other instruments. He has been making money at most of these things since before his junior year of college. I’ve seen adults successfully take similarly fruitful steps in non-artistic contexts. Diversifying makes it likely you’ll work in the field of your dreams.
Leap: When the day job is getting in the way of the new thing … LEAP.
- If you’ve prepared and executed, there may come an obvious moment where the math still isn’t quite right, but jumping in with full attention is now the only way it has any hope of ever adding up.
In closing, I’m reminded about a very likely obstacle that might be making you resistant to everything I’m suggesting here. TIME. You might be thinking: “I haven’t got time to do all this.” Yes. And? That’s for a whole other post.
I’ll leave you with this:
“We make time for what we want to make time for.”
Now go run those numbers again … let me know how we can help.
Midlife is a natural time for many to ponder what they’re doing with their lives.
Wondering if you’re locked into a career you’ve devoted decades to? Not necessarily!
These folks share how they’ve made a change with no regrets.
You may think you have to stay with what you studied in college or what you’ve invested yourself in for a decade or more. You may think you’re too old to make a change. And, none of this is true.
If something else is calling to you, give it a go! You may just discover things within you just bursting to come out as Ina Garten, AKA The Barefoot Contessa, found when she took a leap into the unknown.
Right here, right now are 7 steps to truly reinvent yourself to give yourself a chance to do work that matters … work that has impact.
Be one who is actually willing to show up, get something done, and learn from it, and doors may open that you never imagined before.
If it’s time for a change, for a new you, who might you become?
A whistleblower losing their job and being black balled in their field. A politically active executive seeing no choice other than to resign after being harassed for their beliefs. A kid in school getting in trouble for trying to help the victim of a bully.
One of the most confounding dynamics of being human is acting on good faith, pure intentions, and thinking you are doing the right thing only to ‘ruin’ your life in the aftermath.
Having had both a front line and bird’s eye view to some of these scenarios, I can tell you that they are excruciating. That is, until we can step out of ourselves and see that the abrupt turn is actually a new direction being put right in our path.
In the short term there is pain, regret, loss, anger, second guessing and running the scenario over and over in one’s mind until it becomes an unhealthy obsession.
Losing a job or the ability to work in your field or attend your school have real and upsetting consequences. Short term remedies might need to be found.
However, the only way out is through.
I ask my clients to shift their perspective from seeing this turn of events as happening TO them to something that is happening FOR them. To somehow, despite the pain and loss allow the turn to become an invitation to something good and dare I say, even better. (oooh that’s easy to say, but I know, harder to do)
When all you hit are roadblocks, you have to take a detour or find another way.
What are you left with? If a vase fell to the floor and broke into pieces, you still have something left—the water that spilled, the glass pieces, and the flowers that were in it. You can still make something new.
Allow Things To Change Form
This is where people get stuck. They can’t or won’t let their hard skills and soft skills change form and be put to use somewhere new. It’s hard to see another possibility. It becomes an identity crisis. Who am I, if I don’t have what I just lost? This question has a positive answer. You have to set out to find it.
Determine the CORE
What matters now? What mattered to you about the ‘old’ thing you were doing or about the place that you were doing it in? What was central to your satisfaction or happiness with it? Where was the meaning for you?
Whatever your answer to these questions is, is the core of what’s left. THAT becomes the pursuit. Where and how can you exercise that CORE?
Whatever obstacles have been put in your way that keep you from doing what you want to do the way you want to do it are an invitation to change. Change is a tall order, and it’s not easy. But if you want OUT of the pain caused by the block, you have to do a bypass.
Let us know how we can help.