• Natalie Mendez

When it's time for a change

Updated: Sep 6, 2019

We’ll all face times in our lives when we must make a transition, some are well planned, and we’ve thought through and eliminated much of the risk. Others show up unexpectedly, just when we've started to get comfortable, and force us into change whether we wanted it or not. I recently experienced the latter and learned several things about recognizing and accepting change - planned or not.

About two years ago I started the best job I had ever had and felt like I had finally found my place. After several years of stress, and frustration in jobs that were not right for me I felt good, energized and like I was in my element. I wanted to keep that feeling and enjoy it for a while so that I could plan my next move slowly and methodically.

But sometimes when we think we have it all figured out we’re painfully reminded that OUR plan may not be THE plan. That’s exactly what happened about a year ago. I fought it for a while despite the signs and a gut feeling that I was being called to pivot again. But when I stopped resisting and started looking at the situation and the opportunity suddenly it was very clear. Still scary, but very clear and I was ready to go. So, whether you are thinking about changing your job, leaving a relationship, moving away or making any change from something that no feels right - the following should help you with that decision.

My passion was gone

I loved my job; the position had been created for me and I was good at it. It came with growth, community, and the opportunity to do what I loved (coach) every day. Yet now I sat in my car every morning dreading walking through the doors. I still got energy from the people, but the idea of going in, day after day, completely drained me. When what you once loved feels exhausting, and you find yourself just going through the motions…it’s probably time to make a change.

I was struggling to bring my all to work. I spent more time making excuses than doing the things I needed to do…the things I once loved doing. I was complaining about things more than I was appreciating what I had and was tired of hearing myself. Most of all, I was disappointed and grieving what felt like a loss of my planned professional future. The future didn’t look bright, it looked bleak but I knew I could change that.

I didn’t want to have something I loved (coaching) ruined by the day to day of an environment I no longer appreciated. By accepting the loss and creating positive thoughts about the change, I was able to start seeing opportunity in the future.

I was more excited about the what if than the what is

As I worked through the anger, sadness, and fear, the idea of taking control and doing it on my own became exhilarating. I never thought of myself as an entrepreneur yet suddenly I couldn’t imagine how I would ever do anything else. I could see unlimited potential for the future when I thought about my own business. At work, opportunities felt limited yet on my own I knew they were endless. I knew the work I was doing was meant to be bigger but to reach that a change would be required.

I wasn’t scared. I felt empowered by the idea of being on my own and building a new community of like-minded people. It felt exciting to think about taking back control! I’m a huge proponent of not making a change until you know that you are running towards something rather than running away from something and I was running full force towards my dream.

Do you have something that you see potential in if you're willing to step outside of what's known? Have you found peace with what you're leaving so that you can move towards your own greatness?

I knew the increase in my psychological salary would be worth the temporary change in my financial salary

Confidence, time, flexibility, unlimited opportunity, these were all crucial to my psychological well-being. Being able to go to the gym at 9:00 am on a Thursday morning felt like a reward. Having time to write a blog when inspiration hit – that was freedom. The confidence that came from believing in myself – that was living!

My change wasn’t without sacrifice in other areas (shopping, travel, dinners out) but the opportunity cost of standing still would bankrupt my spirit. So I had no problem saying no to another pair of shoes or a long weekend out of town, or even a new car. Those things, while nice, were placeholders in my life when I didn’t know what I wanted. A little short-term sacrifice for the freedom to pursue my dream felt expansive, not constraining.

So what’s the real opportunity cost of staying where you are? What's the increase in psychological salary if you will just make that change?

My trusted circle supported me

All the factors above played heavily into my decision. But without a lot of prayer and the support of very wise, like-minded friends I wouldn’t have felt the overwhelming confidence that I do today. When I started telling people about my plan – I started with those who would not hesitate to tell me I was crazy. What I got was encouragement, support, and the infusion of confidence that I needed to make it happen. I got signs that clearly answered my prayers about what to do next. I worked, I planned, and I prayed, this wasn’t an overnight decision, but it did happen quickly, and I haven’t regretted it once.

If you're contemplating a big change - ask yourself these few questions – answer honestly, and make peace with your decision.

  • Does the potential change make me feel more excited and energized than my current situation?

  • When I look out six months, a year, five years – will I regret not making this change? Will I wish I had started today?

  • What is my gut telling me? What are my closest friends telling me? Are the two aligned?

Change can send you into a state of fear or growth and only you can decide which one it will be!


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