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Make the change... Five little hints for taking the leap...

Posted by Meredith Papas on 17 January 2017
Make the change... Five little hints for taking the leap...

So, the dust has settled on the New Year and for many of us we are back to work, doing what we do to earn a crust and keep the wolves from the door.

But what if 2017 is the year you want to make a change?

What if getting back into the swing of things hasn't been all it's cracked up to be?

Sound familiar?
Change is scary. That's a fact for many. And all too often, while we have been tarrying, pondering what we must do, could do, or should do, we find ourselves backed into the proverbial corner, left with no other option than to finally take the leap.
Of course, you need to make sure you seek professional advice, but here are a couple of wee hints I have learned from colleagues and friends and associates which have helped me turn a thought into reality ... and then (hopefully) into whatever your definition of success is... 

Know what you want. Sounds obvious, doesn't it? But it kinda helps! Knowing what it is you want to do - and then being able to visualise it - is the first box to tick. From here, you have the platform to gather the information, skills and tools you need to make it work. You can research, set goals, construct timelines and hold yourself accountable. Most importantly, you can make it real. And something real is something you can plan for.
Mind maps, vision boards, back-of-the-bathroom-door ideas charts, pros-and-cons tables, value circles you name it are all really handy ways of getting to the heart of what it is you want to do.
One of my favourite tools is Simon Sinek's Start With Why model. It is a great exercise which you can do on your own or in a group to get to the very essence of why you do what you do. Essentially, it sharpens your focus and helps get rid of the peripheral rubbish which can distract and detract.

Plan. This is possibly the most critical stage. This is your business or new career path's roadmap. Consider what new skills you'll need (and how to attain them); look at your financial commitments and how these will be met; think about how this will affect your family and personal life. If you're venturing into business, consider whether there is capital to be raised, what do you need to set up and how will you promote, build and maintain your new venture? Be realistic and put in place a realistic and honest set of parameters within which you will make this transition.

Of course, some things catch you off guard and life can take unexpected turns. Planning need not be an exhaustive, protracted affair either. Sometimes, the back of an envelope is actually a good start! Whatever the situation or circumstances, though, some form of planning is better than none. So be it a detailed blue print or something more akin to an off-road mud map, just have something to work from! And keep it malleable. Set it stone is never a great idea!

Build your team. Or cheer squad. Or call it what you will. Decide who it is you intend to bring along for the ride. Who will help pick you up and dust you off? Who will tell you how it is in no uncertain terms? Think De Bono. Those six hats are precisely what you need in your corner when you are building you go-to mob of confidantes. These people will end up emotionally invested in this journey as well, so have your own set of selection criteria based not only on your needs, but also, where foreseeable, upon their capacity to lend support.

Be fair and pragmatic about it - and don't expect of your team what they are unable to deliver. Too, know that, sadly, there will be some collateral damage at times. Not everyone is going to get what you're doing. They won't understand the long hours, the cancelled lunch dates and the long spans of time without a call. But those who do get it will be there for the long haul. That's not just what you're mum told you when you were at high school it's actually a fact!

Your team is not just a rowdy few supporters, either. You need good professional advice and guidance and if you are going to play the card that lawyers / accountants / marketers / business coaches all "charge too much for what you already know", you might want to rethink just how serious you are. Surround yourself with experts real experts. Not just the giddy aunts and know-all mates of mates who think they're all that! If it's what you really want, then it's not worth chancing with dodgy advice.

Lay the foundations. You have planned. You know what you want and you have a team of supporters in your corner. Now, start to make it happen. Baby steps, indeed. But make each of those steps count. Now is the time to enrol in the courses or professional development workshops you need to start you on your way. Connect and reconnect with your contacts and start to build a base from which your business or new career path can grow.

It's personal, too. Laying the right foundations at home, with partners and kids - and even friends and extended family is just as important as making sure all the professional boxes are ticked. If you have a good framework in place and a general understanding of what the dos, don'ts, no-gos and boundaries are from the get-go you have a better chance of making it work without losing your family, your way or your mind!


Back yourself!! Scared? Good! Terrified? Naturally! But what's to be gained if you don't take the plunge? It's not uncommon that people find themselves at this juncture before they've even considered the afore mentioned four steps! But that is where the back-of-the-envelope planning comes into its own and there is nothing like being chucked in the deep end to sharpen one's clarity. Especially when the water is cold!

I'm not sure who said it first, but I once read that starting a business is a bit like jumping off a cliff and then building the aeroplane on the way down. It's not too far from the truth; and much the same can be said for changing career path or taking a new life direction. The most important thing, though, is to know you've got this. It was once said to me by a fellow business associate, "it is amazing what you can do when failure is not an option".
It's true. But for all the mumbo jumbo, self-help and unsolicited advice out there, it all comes down to one thing: You.

Only you know what you want. Only you can follow your instinct. Only you can make it happen.

So, in this brand spanking new year, what's it going to be?
Author: Meredith Papas
About: WORDS In business they are your most powerful tool; but use them poorly, and they'll be your undoing. Enter, Meredith Papas and iScribe Consulting. Words are Meredith's business. For the past 20 years Meredith has used the written word as her tool of trade. She cut her teeth as a journalist in Regional Queensland, where she specialised in business, agriculture and industry writing, as well as penning features and profiles on regional businesses and identities. She honed her skills as a sub-editor and proof reader, and then took on leadership roles as a newspaper editor in Mount Isa, Gladstone and Mackay. Add to that, roles as a regional editor and then senior group content editor for one of Asia-Pacific's largest regional media organisations, and it rounds out a solid skill set which spans the full gamut of high-level professional writing. Meredith has a simple philosophy: Everyone has a story to tell. But it's not what you have to say - it's how you say it. From professional bios, to business capability statements; CVs to business cases; funding submissions to content for your website, Meredith will work with you to make sure your clients know exactly what you're about. It's insight. It's experience. It's your story to tell. So, tell it.
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