As dawn broke on 1st January 2000, I was sat on top of a mountain watching the sunrise on a new millennium. In that moment, I decided I wanted to create significant change in my life and work. It wasn’t a sudden epiphany that came out of nowhere. It had been brewing for a long time.
I had a great career in the corporate world but living and working by the conventional definition of success didn’t feel that fulfilling or meaningful to me. I didn't want to live and work that way anymore. Sitting there watching the dawn of the new millennium and the significance and symbolism of that moment combined with the conversation my husband and I had while we were sat there brought everything to a head.
I decided to create my own definition of success and build my life and work around that. I started to design my next chapter and create the changes necessary to turn it into reality.
18 months later I left the corporate world to run my own business doing work that felt more meaningful and fulfilling to me. This change gave me the freedom to live and work on my own terms.
Since then, I have continued to take a design approach to my life and work as and when it feels appropriate to do so. For example, I left the UK to live in Ireland for a few years before moving to Canada and having the honour and privilege of eventually becoming a Canadian Citizen. There have been many redesigns of my business over the last 20 years. I also homeschooled my son for a few years too.
Designing Your Next Chapter - An Often Overlooked But Essential Factor
There are many factors that go into designing your next chapter. But I want to highlight one specifically because it is often overlooked but critical to creating change successfully.
When people embark on creating change they focus heavily on the logistical tasks and plans that they need to do. Whilst that is an important part of the change process what is often overlooked, but equally important, is the human side of creating change successfully.
What I mean by the human side of change is navigating all the emotions that change triggers. Things like fear, self-doubt, imposter syndrome, dealing with the discomfort of uncertainty, lack of confidence, etc. Also, things like addressing habits, behaviours, and mindset patterns that might hold you back.
You can have the best plans in the world, but it is you that have to implement them and turn them into reality. Unless you have a process to effectively manage the human side of change in parallel with the logistical side you are missing an important factor that has a significant impact on whether you will achieve your desired results or not.
Identify the human factors specific to you that could impact whether you design your next chapter successfully or not. Identify the human factors that you could learn, foster, or develop to help you navigate the path of change easier.
When designing your next chapter in life and work always integrate your logistical plans with managing the human side of creating change effectively. It will make the path forward way easier and is a powerful way to set yourself up to succeed.
I just want to insert a reality check here and keep it real. Designing your next chapter in life and work requires creating and navigating change and all the discomfort, challenge, and uncertainty that can come with it. It isn’t a linear path. It isn’t an easy path either. It is a lot of hard work. There are many highs and lows along the way. There are no guarantees of success. But having said all of that, the benefits that come from designing your life and work make the ups and downs totally worth it.
The bottom line:
This is my personal mantra that has inspired me to keep on designing my life and work:
If you aren’t designing your life you are leaving it to chance. And that is a hell of a gamble to take with your one and only life.
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