Perhaps you recently had an Aha moment and are feverishly searching online for a one way plane ticket to somewhere far, far away in hopes of finding yourself. Perhaps. But I’m willing to bet your story is very similar to the many women I’ve met confessing they’ve been standing countless nights in front of the bathroom mirror unable to recognize the woman staring back at them.
If you take anything away from this article, please understand this; you are not alone and you are not crazy! We all have a vision of what our life is suppose to look like, yet many of us have no clear road map. We seem to be stuck and after taking wrong turns, stumbling across a pothole or changing course altogether, we find it difficult to get back on the right track. In fact, we often find ourselves retracing comfortable footsteps over and over, making the same bad choices, or worse yet, afraid to make a choice at all.
“Admit that it’s scary. It’s normal to have fear about change, recognizing it, and even talking about it, will help smooth it over”. – Susan Crandell, author of “Thinking about Tomorrow: Reinventing Yourself at Midlife”
Many of us are going through major life changes such as motherhood, career crisis, divorce, starting a business, empty nesters, retirement or relocation. The scenarios are countless. However, the solution to placing yourself on a new path is the same regardless of what you may be experiencing.
Let me ask you if this sounds familiar. You feel paralyzed? You aren’t sure where to even begin reinventing your life? You are crystal clear on one fact; you are tired of the status quo and ready to move on. Boy, are you so ready! Here are three simple questions to ask yourself when turning down Reinvention Road; where, who and how.
Where am I today? It’s time for an honest, personal assessment. Grab a piece of paper and make a list of things you aren’t happy about in your life. Be forewarned though what you are about to write down becomes your responsibility to change. Not your boss, mother or your significant other…you. It may be your career, relationship, home or personal image, just to name a few. For this exercise, let’s say you are bored with your life and daily routine. Where’s the zest? There are no surprises and definitely no sense of adventure. Yawn.
Who do I want to be? The next piece requires visualization and journaling. Everyone balks at the famous question, “where do I want to be five years from now”? Why, because it’s tough. The answer usually is, “I don’t know”. For this visualization exercise though, it’s easy because the sky will be the limit. Forget about how you are going to get there at this point. Imagine you have all the resources necessary, money, time and support. Imagining your life in five years from now becomes a fun excise because the fear and doubt is eliminated, right?
Write your thoughts down, do a vision board, draw pictures, listen to empowering music and watch movies that have messages that resonate with you. Suddenly, learning Spanish and attending fabulous festivals throughout the Southwest and blogging about your adventures pop into your plans.
How am I going to get there? It’s time to make an action plan. The best advice would be to keep it simple so you aren’t overwhelmed. Girlfriend, unless you write the steps down on paper, including the challenges, support needed and the estimated completion date, you will remain stuck.
Your plan would look something like this, 1) Sign up for community college Spanish course next semester, $295, 2) Start WordPress blog about your journey, now, free, 3) Research the annual hot-air balloon festival in New Mexico, start saving and planning for the trip. You get the idea. Here starts your Southwestern adventure complete with fabulous food, weather, culture, amazing sunsets, shopping and fun.
We have become a fast-past society built upon instant gratification, looking for a quick fix. Following these three steps, you will not wake up tomorrow in your new ruby red shoes, but they will get you moving in the right direction for sure. One of my favorite movie scenes is from the 1991 iconic movie, “Thelma & Louise” starring Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon. In the last scene they realize they can never return to their old lives, they grab hands and drive their Thunderbird right off a cliff into a deep canyon. Now, I’m not suggesting you jump off a cliff, what I am suggesting though is that you don’t look back, take a big leap and on the way down you will sprout wings and fly!