Dare to Seek Change in 2018

Step out of your comfort zone in the new year.

Posted Dec 22, 2017

“Life begins outside of your comfort zone.” Few quotes seem as poignant in business and in life—as this one by Neale Donald Walsh.

Stepping off the beaten path is daunting, but is where exponential growth lives. And what better time to reflect on those possibilities than around the New Year?

Dreamstime
Source: Dreamstime

What if you took that leap of faith and pursued a new path in your career or even personal life? You know, the one that has been in the back of your mind.

Could that became your challenge for 2018? Fear of the unknown is a big driver of inaction. But what if this was the year you finally pursued a new avenue you’ve long avoided?

Can you embrace fear?

Because if you don’t feel a little unsure of what you’re doing at some point each day, you’re probably not growing. If there aren’t tough questions swirling in your head about how you’re going to solve big issues, you’re probably not as challenged as you could be.

Some have more tolerance for the unknown than others. But most people find incredible rewards once they dare to "go there" and make mistakes. The toughest part is taking the first step.

How many times have you thought of an idea, product or service—or just a way of streamlining processes at work—and heard that negative inner voice say, “It probably won’t work.” Then the next thing you know, it is a reality—only it's someone else’s.

You may not be ready for a complete overhaul in career, personal brand or life. This is often an evolution, not a revolution. But I am suggesting that at this reflective time of year, it's helpful to write down what that other little voice has been saying. That vision of how you want to enhance your career, life, or both, and pursue your passion.

If you're like most mortals, you just can't find the time for this. Big picture commitments like this reside famously on the back burner, as they're ridiculously difficult to confront head on.

Here are some thoughts on how to effect meaningful change in 2018:

Steps to Consider

1. Find a quiet place. Create a place and time to be alone where you know you'll do your most strategic planning.

2. Know the goal. Write a one-sentence goal of how you’d like to shift in 2018. It might be all you need to start the engines—and overcome the hurdle of inertia.

3. Find the thrill. Recall the most euphoric moments of your career and life. Think about situations and projects that have given you the most joy. What skill sets are you tapping into now (or dismissing)—and how could you transition them into a position direction?

4. Imagine a blank slate. If you could envision your life as a clean whiteboard or slate, how would you redesign in? If you fast forwarded your life by 10 years, what would that board look like? Life is not a dress rehearsal.

5. What is drudgery for you? We all have to cope with things we don’t like to do, but are those activities consuming you? Is it time to hit reset and switch gears?

6. Are "sunk costs" driving you? The human mind can have an uncanny ability to unwittingly avoid losses almost at any cost—and defend deep investments of emotion, time or money for the sake of resisting change. It's sometimes referred to as throwing good money after bad, metaphorically or not.

Sunk costs can apply to anything from ill-suited jobs to bad relationships (and sometimes the two converge!) It’s worth examining what price you’re ultimately willing to pay—in very quantifiable terms. Try being as objective as possible.

7. Know your options. Have you spoken with a close friend, confidant, mentor, coach or family member about the changes you want to see? Have you read articles, read books, watched videos, taken courses, listened to podcasts or contacted those in your business network to explore your passions?

8. Focus. Keep your eye on the big picture. You might find reasons to wander off and find something easier to do. But this is worth the work!

9. Be easy on yourself. Don't get too caught up with the form your thoughts take or too many details. You're right no matter where your strategic direction ultimately take you. Take pride in the fact that you took this significant step forward.

10. Have faith. Know that you can trust in your instincts. Believe in your ability to achieve your goals. Success is a mindset.

This pursuit of allowing change doesn't take away from the past year's great achievements, or prior years. In fact, everything you have accomplished to date will be parlayed into the “2.0 You” in the coming year. It couldn’t be any other way. 

If you can embrace some initial fear and challenge to your routine, you've likely opened the doors to unimaginable success in 2018.