Are You Ready For Change?

I hear it a lot: “I wish I could do what you did” or “That was very brave of you.” The thing is when I left a six-figure Finance job to go back to school for an outdoor adventure diploma (“summer camp for adults” as one acquaintance put it) I felt like I was giving up, quitting, running away to join the circus.

I could hear my twenty-year old self screaming, “What happened to living abroad, working for {insert any big international firm name here}?” I had to remind that voice that I had already achieved that. Sure, Canada maybe doesn’t seem that exotic to someone who grew up in the northeast U.S. But I did it. I moved to another country. I worked for one of the biggest mutual fund companies in the world, with an amazing team of people who understood when I told them five years later that I needed to try something different – even if I didn’t know exactly what that something was. All I knew was the drum beat of change had grown too loud to ignore.

Have you also heard the call? Maybe it’s a small voice that chimes in every now and then. Or maybe you’re hearing the drum beat too. Do you pay attention to it or do you quash it under a million reasons why change isn’t good for you right now? What’s holding you back? While contemplating change, I worried about maintaining our ability to travel, maintaining our lifestyle, dashing my husband’s dreams of being a house-husband. We had our budget figured out to support the basics (food and shelter). And yes, we’ve made small changes to our lifestyle but I contend much of that came as a result of us getting older and our friends settling down, having kids etc. as it did from being responsible about our budget. The loss I feel most deeply is our ability to take two weeks and travel abroad together: figuring out the language, walking until our feet fall off, trying every local specialty. We have a plan though. It’s a carrot to keep us going until we can take that next adventure.

At first I found thinking about change hard. I didn’t know what the drum beat called me towards. I had gotten out of the habit of paying attention to what my intuition told me. I enlisted some help to figure it out. You also have resources in your life to help you figure it out. Pay attention to which of your hobbies and interests excite you. Talk with friends, family, and co-workers – they often see what you can’t or aren’t willing to see. Or try one of the many online career resources (some of which we’ll look at in greater depth in a future post) available. Above all, don’t limit yourself. This is your chance to put it all down on paper and see what grabs you.

Once you have a direction in mind you have options for the size of change you make. A small change may be all you need in order to keep yourself engaged. You can ask for a change in or additional responsibilities at work to incorporate your interests. You could start up a side gig so you aren’t losing the financial safety net. Or if you have the will and the means to do it, you can make that full-on leap.

If you need help talking through that change, you can leave a comment below, on social media, or feel free to e-mail me at kate@katemingsunoutdoors.com. I’m happy to be a sounding board if you need one.

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