You’re ready to move: start a new business, change jobs, change locations.
You made the decision. But three months later, you’re wondering, “Did I make a big mistake?” We tell ourselves not to expect a “happy ever after” ending…but let’s face it: that’s what most of us want!
So here are five strategies to reconnect with your dream.
1. Review your reasons for moving, changing jobs and/or starting a business.
Are you moving for “a lower cost of living” or “to be closer to family?”
Clients who move for these reasons tend to call about a year after they make a change. They’re not enjoying their new lives, they say. They spend hundreds (or thousands) of dollars to escape on weekends and take long, long vacations.
And often (though not always) families find they get along better with more miles between them.
Career-changers who realize they’re following someone else’s dream tend to be the most frustrated. Maybe your mentor wanted you to follow her footsteps or your family always saw you as a business success.
The happiest life-changers are guided by their own inner compass, even when the wind changes.
2. Give yourself time.
Clients sometimes call to say, “I moved six months ago and I don’t know anybody!” Or, “I started my new business and still choke on the words, ‘self-employed.'”
Researchers find most newcomers need at least two years to feel settled in a new home. Getting used to the “self-employed” identity can take three to five years.
Before you move, and during the early stages, practice saying, “I am a…” Ideally, wait to move until you feel comfortable and proud. If you continue to choke on the words, maybe it’s time to reconsider your goal.
Some people never get comfortable saying, “I am a writer,” or, “I live in New York.” Others just need more time.
3. Go slow when you’re new.
This recommendation is probably most important to your success.
You’ll be invited to join professional organizations, clubs and neighborhood groups. Say no! Go to meetings as a guest – at least five or more times. See if you feel comfortable after the first encounters.
People are almost always friendly with strangers. You’re a novelty! But after a few meetings, you’ll be treated differently. You may find people warm up after awhile. Or conversely they may reveal they have different values and approaches to friendship.
Once, right after moving to a new city, I joined a group that seemed professionally useful and also friendly. Later I learned that most meetings were held in a place that’s very difficult for me to reach. Because I missed so many meetings, my membership was a waste of time and money.
One client volunteered at her new Humane Society. She had loved her work for a similar group in another city. To her dismay, the new group held very different values about adoption and “who would make a great dog owner.” She resigned after three months and felt awkward when she ran into members of the organization around town.
4. Make time for something meaningful.
Go back to why you moved or changed careers. What were you hoping to achieve? Are you following your own promises?
Let’s say you moved to a city because you wanted to be able to attend symphony concerts or football games. Are you following through? Or are you too busy to enjoy what brought you here in the first place?
Or you changed careers to have more time with family. Are you working through dinner, although you no longer need to put in face time?
Why make a change if you end up where you started – overworked and frustrated?
5. Have a confidante on call.
Inevitably, you’ll have a Day of Frustration. Most likely you’ll find yourself in a place where you absolutely, positively need to keep quiet. You probably didn’t get much sleep the night before. You feel like sharing your feelings with whoever’s around.
Get out your phone and dial a number you chose ahead of time: a trusted friend, a family member, even a consultant or coach. When you’re new, it’s important to project an image of “Everything is wonderful,” no matter what. After a few months (or years), you can begin to join the chorus of local feelings, like everybody else.
And if you’d like to discuss your own strategies – and your frustrations – I’m happy to consult with you! Click here to learn what I offer.