You wake up one day. You look at your business, you look at your life and you wonder, "is that all there is?" You secretly wonder, "is it finally time for me to declare what I really want?" I would venture to say that a majority of people feel this way at one time or another. They secretly yearn for something more or better or different. Then, they wake up the next day and push those thoughts aside and return to who they are, what they do, their daily life.
It's "normal" to feel this way. We yearn, often are not satisfied, follow the routine, harbor those thoughts of wanting things to be different. We make excuses, yet remain in the status quo.
However, there is another direction to go. One can "reboot." The dictionary defines reboot as an act of creating a new beginning. I wonder if it comes from the job of the shoemaker - the boots are worn down, they need new soles, a good cleaning off. Then, they are new again.
Do you want to be new again? Let's look at the Why, the When, the Can I, and the How.
First, the "why" is whenever you find yourself in a quandary or a self-reflection, asking what's next, feeling dissatisfied, yearning for more. Things are not as they were. Yesterday was like this, and today is like that. There appears to be a "calling" for something to be different. You're probably clueless about it until you can't ignore it any longer.
Second, the "when?" Your thoughts turn to the desire for things to be different, but struggle with the timing. You justify that it's not the right time, there's too much going on right now, you wonder what others would think, especially if they depend on you and love you.
Third, the "can I?" You secretly yearn for something different, but have a lot of doubt about your ability to make it happen. You question everything - your motivation, your selfishness, how will you be able to make money, what will happen. You remember that quite possibly there are people depending on you and fear it would be too selfish.
Fourth, the "how." Let's spend a few more minutes on this one.
Let's use our desire to do a different sort of work OR to rebuild a business or to start a new business. Let this be the example to dissect for the "how." Here are some tips. I take them from my own writing, from worksheets I developed in working with people wanting to reboot or reinvent. I use them myself.
There are four steps for getting started:
1. Show Up. In other words, take the step to begin the journey of exploration. Read about starting over, shifting focus, starting a business or whatever floats your boat. Show up for the possibility of something new. Admit to yourself that you have the desire, even if you think it's not possible.
2. Be willing. In other words, be open. You might be sitting there with your arms folded and your mind arguing with your thoughts. But, I invite you to start to open it. Perhaps be willing to talk it out with colleagues, family. Go into exploration mode. It doesn't commit you. It just opens the door.
3. Tell the truth. I think we've opened the door enough for consideration. So now, speak and dream out loud. Share your thoughts with others, but especially be honest with yourself. Do an inventory of where you're at, where you want to go, and where you're willing to go.
4. Give yourself permission. Okay, you now see that you are willing. Perhaps you're at the place of "no return." Can you give yourself permission to go "beyond" where you've gone before and actually try on some new ideas? Can you take on the experiments and activities and actually allow yourself to get excited and engaged?
Once you can handle these four initial steps, you might be ready to surrender to yourself and begin to tread in new areas. Giving yourself permission is the "letting go" part of the deal. Only then are you ready to explore, research, try things on for real. You're ready to become the "leader of your own life."
As a self-employed person for 30 years, I've rebooted many times. While the work is always related to my profession, I've specialized, added services, taken other services away. It keeps my mind fresh. I've had many iterations of my website. I've tried new things. I've recently, at my ripe old age, launched a new website or rather totally refurbished it to discuss my new directions and specialties. It keeps me fresh and engaged in helping people and businesses be their best and have passion.
I wish you well in this journey and urge you to take it on. If you love the way things are now - the what you do, the where you do it, etc. - then you are lucky. If you don't love it, then there's no harm in exploring the possibility of something else.
Ann Fry, MSW, is a Professional Leadership Coach, a Professional Speaker, and a cancer survivor/thriver. She coaches executives to help them be better leaders and works with people who have a desire to re-evaluate and re-invent and be the leaders of their lives. She also speaks to Cancer Survivor groups and at conferences.