When I look at my life today compared to one year ago, I can’t believe how much that has changed. At this time a year back, I had recently found out about a friend’s suicide and I was struggling with getting back into my ‘normal’ routine. I was living in Paris at the time and everyday, instead of finding my way back, I became more and more uncomfortable with my situation. Finally I had reached a point where I knew my current situation was unsustainable. I had to change, and I had to change big.
So I left my well-paid job and moved from Paris. I began to challenge myself daily in all areas of life, with the aim of building myself up again. I made changes step by step and as I did, I began to smile again.
Making a 180 wasn’t easy, but I knew it was necessary in order for me to get somewhere new. I have this one life and I want to make the very best out of it. My drastic life change lead to people questioning if I was having a life crises or a depression. My dad even asked me if I was on drugs… lol.
Today I’m in the Caribbean, working on setting up my own business with my sister – I haven’t regretted my decision once. There are however, a few things I wish I had known before I acted. These are what I want to share with you.
1. People will question you – A LOT
This is probably the most difficult thing to deal with when making a big change. Many people will be happy for you and say that you are brave for having the guts to follow your heart, while others will react in a more negative way. I wasn’t prepared for some of the condescending comments I got such as:
“You don’t seem to have a proper plan in place.”
“You’ll have to work day and night in order to make anything happen and you won’t have ANY free time what so ever for a LONG time.”
“Let me give you a reality check, because you seem to need one.”
Yeah, not really inspiring stuff. It took me a while to discover that what people were saying actually had nothing to do with me. Their words were just reflecting their own fears and limiting beliefs. If they had to work every day for a paycheck and stay in a job they didn’t enjoy – so should I. That’s the way things work and who was I to break out of it?
Keep in mind that what you will hear when talking about your desire to change will be other people’s perceptions of how life is ‘supposed to be lived’. It will for sure be a mixed bag of reactions. Remember to keep your focus on what you feel is true for you.
2. Stay grounded
Aim to always stay grounded in life, but especially when you are going through a transition. For me, staying grounded is to maintain a strong connection to your inner self. You know what’s best for you better than anyone else (including your mom). To develop your inner connection, find an activity that helps you to focus on your inner being. It can be yoga, meditation, sports, writing, painting, dancing… whatever floats your boat.
Personally, I keep a morning routine consisting of 20 minutes meditation and 20 minutes yoga. I can’t stress enough the difference I noticed in my well being since I started this routine. It helps me find my inner focus, balance and connect to my inner self. Make this type of routine a priority in your life. Something that you stick to even those days when you feel a resistance to it. It will help immensely, I promise.
3. Stay flexible
Before I left my job I had a rough idea about what I wanted to accomplish. I didn’t have all the details in place, but I sort of knew where I was going. If I had known how much things would change along the way, I would have stayed more flexible to it from the very beginning.
When things didn’t go as I planned I tried to force them in the direction I wanted. This is not a great idea I tell you, it will only give you a lot of strain and unnecessary headaches. Instead, trust that you always are being guided in the right direction. Don’t try to push, rush or control the outcome of things. When resistance shows up, know that it is there for a reason: to tell you that this isn’t the right way to go.
For example, just a few days ago my sister and I shut down a website we’ve been working on for 2 months. Just like that. We always had some resistance towards setting one up for the project that we are working on, but because we thought it was ‘the right way to go’ we did it anyway. We let our minds interfere with our intuition and we spent hours and hours on something that we later didn’t end up using.
From my experience, our intuition is always right. Always. Sometimes it’s difficult to follow your inner voice because we listen too much to others or what is considered to be the ‘smart way’ of doing things. Something we have discovered is that we keep coming back to the initial ideas we have. The ones that get us excited, the ideas we have before we start to over think things.
If you at some point discover that you’ve gone off in the wrong direction, remember that it’s not a bad thing. Never be hard on yourself. Instead be thankful that you now know where you don’t want to go. This way you have a much clearer sense of where you DO want to end up. The bottom line is that in order move smoothly through periods of change, we to remain flexible.
4. Base your decisions on love, not fear
When making a big life change, it’s easy to get confused about what decisions to make. One game-changing insight for me was that I should base all my decisions on love, never on fear. When faced with a choice, feel if the option makes you feel light, uplifted and happy – that’s a clear sign that it’s a decision based on love.
From my experience, without any exception, all the decisions I’ve made wrong have been based on fear. Fear of what other people will think of me, of not making enough money and of showing my true colors. The choice based on fear might be considered the ‘smart way’ to go, but it’s never the right way. Your intuition knows what way to go – trust that it will guide you.
5. Know that everything happens for a reason
This might sound very cliché, but everything actually does happen for a reason. Someone once told me that you can’t see the point of something when you’re sitting on it. My life experience has shown me the truth of this statement time and time again. My friend dying, my long-term relationship ending, my panic attacks at work – all of those things, despite how horrible they were when they happened, have brought me closer to who I really am and where I am supposed to be.
I used to wanting to control everything that happened to me. I thought that by doing so I was being smart and getting the best possible turnout of every situation. That’s really going upstream – you won’t gain momentum by doing this. Instead it will be a constant battle of trying to make things fit into your plan instead of allowing yourself to follow the grand design life has set up for you. It’s when we release our resistance that we open our minds to the things we never even could have imagined in the first place.
My experience has taught me that when I stop trying to control everything, life connects the dots for me. So let life have its ways with you. Trust that it knows your desires and that which happens in life will bring you closer to it.
Stepping out of your comfort zone and going through change isn’t easy, but you will grow immensely from it. Until everything falls into place, be patient, live in the moment, cherish the positive and laugh at the confusion. You will be fine. In fact, you will be more than fine if you dare to follow what is true to you. Who knows? You might actually create the life you’ve always longed to live.