New perspectives to silence your sea change critics
Congratulations! You’ve decided you’re ready to make a sea change. You’ve dreamt and talked about it for longer than you remember and if you don’t do it now, you never will.
But along with the excitement comes fear and doubt which is totally normal and completely understandable. After all, there’s a lot at stake.
Adding to the doubt is the perception of friends and family who think you’re weak, opting out and ‘throwing it all away’. Leaving the security and kudos of a well paid job, in a career you’ve worked hard to build may seem irrational and irresponsible.
Before you buy-in to their logic and throw your freedom dream away, here’s why it just might be the smartest move you ever make.
Job security is evaporating – your job’s never secure
With ever-increasing unemployment, no well-paid corporate, public service, business or NGO role is secure. Restructures bring redundancies and often the first people to be laid off are senior managers and executives.
Regardless of how good you are at what you do, both you and your job are under constant review. For many people it’s now a question of ‘when’ not ‘if’ they’ll be made redundant.
Redundancy is no longer a shameful reflection of your inability – it’s a common reality that’s often beyond your control. Recruiters and prospective employers are now a lot less likely to rule out candidates who have a redundancy on their resume.
Smart Sea Changers know how to embrace uncertainty and negotiate a redundancy to tide them over while they make the change.
You are so much more than your job
If your sense of self-worth and identity are defined by the work you do, there will be an inevitable period of adjustment. We all need recognition and validation but it’s more likely to come from the way you work than the tasks you do.
You weren’t born an executive, accountant, lawyer or manager. With greater wisdom, self-awareness and life experience, you’re now in a much better position to decide what you really want to do.
Your career has given you many transferable skills, knowledge and valuable experiences which can be applied to a limitless range of options.
Sea Changing enables you to step back, evaluate and decide what you want to be known and recognised for and build the next stage of your life around that.
Every lifestyle requires compromise
Demanding city-based lifestyles often compromise health, family, relationships, leisure and finances. A sea change may mean less choice for housing, schools, services, job options and a smaller pay packet.
The secret is to be clear about what’s most important to you and a willingness to compromise on what matters least.
Know what you’re consciously choosing to ‘throw away’ and imagine how it will feel to be free of the shackles that come with your current lifestyle.
Sea Changing takes courage, not weakness!
If you’re not happy doing what you’re doing and living where you live, staying where you are will lead to mounting frustration and regret. Staying ‘put’ won’t miraculously fix your problems.
When your family and friends see the toll your current lifestyle is taking, they’ll realise it’s costing you way more than it’s giving you. Their ‘throwing it all away’ bias is often a reflection on what makes them happy.
If quitting their jobs, packing up the house and travelling the world or starting a business isn’t something they’d ever do, they’ll struggle to see why you would want to do it, regardless of how well you explain it.
Rest assured, for every doubter there will be many others who are secretly envious and wish they had the courage to make a sea change!
Don’t confuse fear for weakness – they are different! Fear and doubt are part of any major change and the smartest move is to confront and address your fears so you know your sea change is right for you.
It takes far more courage than weakness to take that leap of faith into the unknown. But, if you don’t, you’ll always be left wondering if you could or should have done it
Nothing lasts forever and tomorrow starts today
Regardless of whether you make a sea change or not, your life will change. When you look back, you’ll see you’ve already experienced and survived many major transitions.
When friends reassure you that if it doesn’t work out, you can ‘get your old job back anytime’, remember…we never ‘go back’. If your sea change means returning to where you grew up or an employer you’ve worked for before, passing time and changing circumstances mean the experience will be different.
We tend to live life in stages – eg before children, when children are young or leaving home, caring for ageing parents, before or after major life events, retirement etc.
Knowing what you want the next chapter of your life to be like, now is the time to plan and prepare to make it happen.
Depending on what you want to achieve and how you want it to be, your sea change may be for six months, five years or longer.
Sea changing is all about living in the moment and moving forward. Taking responsibility and planning for the future (rather than your life being dictated by circumstances beyond your control), means you’ll always have choices.
I’ve been privileged to help hundreds of people make successful sea changes and follow up my clients after they’ve made the move. When I ask if they have any regrets, the most common response I get is,
“Yes, just one…I wish we’d done it sooner!”
Your job is not to convince others that your sea change isn’t a folly! Respect their right to have a different opinion and give them time to become comfortable with the idea.
Be clear about what you’re doing and why. Surround yourself with supportive people and throw your energy into doing everything you can to make it a smart move.
Together, we’ll hatch a plan to make your sea change the smartest move you ever make!