A little over four years ago, my life was very different. I was employed, doing something that was okay but was slowly making me miserable. We were living in our first home in Oakdale, Minnesota, which was fine but uninspiring. Life could have very easily continued on and everything would have been okay. But I was sensing there was more out there for me in life. I knew that if I was going to do something different, it was going to mean making some pretty big changes. . In August of 2012, I took a big plunge and joined Terrie as co-partner of Professional Services Marketing, LLC. While Terrie had already been in business for 16 years, I had to build my portion of the practice from scratch. While the journey of creating my practice has certainly been challenging, I’m happy to say that the rewards have far outweighed the risks. I thoroughly enjoy the freedom I have as a business owner and the ability it gives me to be available for my kids. I also feel extremely invested in the success of my clients as they are building their businesses – and feel great satisfaction when they land a new client or achieve a huge growth goal. And just this summer, our family took a second big plunge and moved to a hobby farm in Grant, Minnesota, where we now take care of our horses on our own property. Making the decision to move our family to a new school district was definitely not one we made easily. We knew that it would be hard to move – and hard work to take care of our own horses. But after living here for a few months now, we are extremely glad we made the move, hard work and all. The things we’ve noticed since we’ve moved are incredible. We are so much more active (because there is so much to do!) and our kids are now going to much better schools. We still wake up each day with long lists of ‘to-dos’, but we are excited to be doing the work together as a family – instead of sitting on the couch. We are also enjoying the sweet added benefits of watching our horses graze while the sun sets behind them in the western sky. It’s a site that I will never get tired of. I know reading about them may make these decisions sound easy, but believe me, starting a new business and a big family move are definitely not decisions that are made quickly or without a lot of consideration. Deciding whether or not to take a big risk is something we all face at some point in our life. So how do you make that kind of a decision? Here are some tips that I can share based on my recent experiences.
Do Your Research
It’s important to know if what you are considering is really a viable option or not. For those of you like me, who sometimes tend to make decisions based on emotions, conducting research is essential to your decision-making process. Research the potential options available to you if you were to make a change. By conducting research on your options, you are also ‘taking action’ on something and not allowing yourself to take a risk on something too soon, just because you are desperate to get out of a situation that is making you miserable.
Go There in Your Mind
Spend some time either journaling, talking with someone, or meditating on your decision. Then allow yourself to spend time thinking about what your life could be like if you took that leap. Fast forward one year. How are you feeling? What has changed? What has been eliminated in your life because of your change? Go through the potential positives – and negatives – that you might experience if you were to make the change. I have found that ‘going there in your mind’ can really take some of the anxiety out of the situation if you allow yourself to experience them before you actually experience them.
Honestly Assess Your Current Situation
Taking an honest assessment of your current situation is an essential part of evaluating whether or not to make a change. I have found that an honest assessment is really only done by asking for input and/or feedback from close friends or family members. Ask them if they think you should make a change and if they think your current situation is really as bad as you think it is – or if you would be much better off NOT making a change. While this is an important step toward determining whether or not you should take action, this step can be very hard. It opens you up for some feedback you might not want to hear and may be uncomfortable. But it’s also one of the only ways to really hear some ‘truth’ about how things are going in your life and how the change you are considering may affect your life.
Get Some Coaching
Lastly, after you’ve gone through the steps above, it’s now time to get some help. Choosing a coach doesn’t necessarily mean you need to hire someone. A coach can be anyone that you respect and who is willing to listen, ask questions and give you honest, educated feedback. In the summer of 2012, I hired a professional coach to help me assess my career choices and help me work through the process of what I needed to do next in my professional life. I found her advice to be invaluable – and I cannot imagine going through that phase of my life without her guidance. Now that I’m in business, I find that I still need coaching and accountability and thankfully I have in my business partner, Terrie, to help me with this. We are constantly encouraging each other, providing each other advice and ‘sharpening’ each other’s knowledge and skills. I am and will always be an advocate for continued coaching because of the greatness it can bring out in each of us.
Know What You Are Built For
As Albert Einstein said,
“A ship is always safe at the shore – but that is NOT what it is built for.”
What is your ship built for? Take some time to uncover your true gifts, talents and strengths. There are numerous self-assessment and personality tests you can take which will help you in deciding whether or not you are truly a risk taker. Not all of us are hard-wired for risk-taking. Some of us are just simply more content not taking risks. But you will never know until you really do some work toward understanding your true passions, strengths and abilities. While I can honestly tell you that these past few years have been more challenging than any other time in my life – I can also tell you that they have been the most rewarding time in my life. Thanks to the changes I made, I now have a better understanding of how I’m hard-wired, what I’m capable of, and what my limits are. I feel more at peace now with myself than at any other period of my life thanks to the research I’ve done, the feedback I’ve gotten and the coaching I’ve received. I encourage you to consider doing the same thing if you are at a cross-roads in your life of finding yourself dissatisfied. The results could prove to be well worth the effort for you too!
After spending 16 years as a financial services entrepreneur and growth consultant, Kristy joined PSM as a partner in 2012. Kristy has the innate ability to make you feel like she has known you forever. A “people person” down to her core, Kristy not only has the business savvy to work with professionals, but the know-how and networking connections to get it done. With her entrepreneurial spirit, no goal seems out-of-reach. Kristy’s experience in business development, marketing, sales and coaching has spanned the financial, legal and professional services industries.