Change can often be scary. We naturally cling to what is familiar and safe. Think of your favorite restaurant. More than likely, you have a go-to entree and it's a rare occasion for you to sample something new. But have you ever tried a new entree and learned you loved it more than your old go-to? The change ended up being for the better!
But change in your life isn't always as simple as trying a new food. Some changes are hard and even making the initial decision of whether to make the change and start something new can be difficult.
Multiple questions enter your mind. What if I fail? What if I don't try? What if I don't like it? What if, what if, what if. I've said before in my previous post What If that this two word phrase powers my decisions, but it has a dark side too. Asking too many what if questions can confuse and derail you from coming to a sensible decision. So what questions should you ask yourself?
Here are the main questions I ask myself when facing the start of a new project, job, or anything that seems like a big change.
Why do I want to start?
The WHY behind your decision is super important. Why do you want to take on this new endeavor. Is it just because you had a bad day and are looking for a way to blow off steam? Maybe it's best to wait it out a few days to see if the circumstances improve. Or, is it because you are consistently unhappy with where you are and need a change for your physical or mental health? Figure out your WHY and make sure it's solid and legitimate before leaping into a new endeavor.
Can I see myself committing for the long term?
If this new endeavor is a big change in your life then you need to then determine whether or not you can commit for the long haul. And I'm not talking six months to a year. A year is not much time. It's short term. You may accomplish a lot in a year but will those accomplishments hold true over time? When you fill out job applications or build a resume, you often put down your last three jobs or work experience over the last five or so years. Why is that? Because employers care more about what you've maintained consistently over a long period of time than what you have accomplished in a year or less. Long term should be thought of in more of a five year basis or more depending on the situation.
So can you commit to this decision and stick to it for the long term? If not, maybe this isn't the road you should go down. If yes, then move on to the next question!
Will it change any of the following: my belief system, my income, and my geography?
If a change is going to impact these three areas, take your time to decide. Is this going to change or jeopardize my core beliefs? Don't commit if it puts your belief system on the line. Our faith and beliefs are the foundation for the decisions we make and the life we live. If you are confident in what you believe to be true, don't sacrifice it for what you think might make you happy right now.
How will my income change? Will it be a large upfront investment? Can I afford the change? Will my income change at all? Some changes won't affect your income whatsoever. Others will and could in a drastic way. You have to decide whether the income change is worth the risk or not.
Lastly, geography. This doesn't apply to all changes, but something new might take you someplace new in the future. Keep this in the back of your mind when jumping into new endeavors.
What's holding me back and how can I overcome this?
So you've gone through all the questions and your answers line up with taking the plunge and making the change. But you still feel stuck. Like I said before - change is scary! Change brings a little chaos to our lives. It pushes us outside of our comfort zone.
Identify what is holding you back - whether it be fear, relationships, or previous commitments - and then ask yourself how you can overcome this. Sometimes, it's as simple as closing your eyes and taking a leap of faith. Other times, it might mean seeking advice from a mentor or family member. An outside opinion can help clear the clutter in your head and help you gain a fresh perspective.
Now go for it!
Once you've made the decision to make a change in your life, it's time to take action! Go for this goal, dream, job...whatever it is! There are plenty more questions you could ask yourself. But you only have so many minutes in a day. Don't waste them weighing yourself down with questions or daydreaming about the possibilities. Take action and make this change a reality and a part of your lifestyle. It may seem overwhelming at first, but great results come with time and commitment. If you've already taken the plunge and are feeling a bit overwhelmed read my post From Overwhelmed to Empowered to learn some ways to push through the initial fear and chaos of change and come out the other side feeling powerful and accomplished.
These are the questions I consider when making big decisions, and they work pretty well for me. What are some things you consider? Or are you the brave and fearless type who can dive into change without a second thought? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!