“You are daring to imagine a different life!” Thus Birdie (Jean Stapleton) comforts Kathleen (Meg Ryan), who decides to close her store in You’ve Got Mail.
Whether you like the film or not (okay … it’s one of my faves), the words offer a powerful message. One of the things that keep us from change … moving on to new things … is fear. I recently wrote about that particular aspect of career change:
But now I’d like to take it to the next level … what career change might feel like for you. And how to prepare yourself for what lies ahead.
How moving toward a different life feels
Just the idea of change can sometimes feel like an emotional earthquake. And that holds true even when moving toward exactly what we want. No matter how exciting the thought, moving to real live action steps can feel daunting. That’s why dreams often stay in our heads.
Human beings may dream about a different life, but something inside keeps our feet planted right where they are. In fact, our minds work hard to keep things steady and level as much as possible. And change — even just the idea of change — can make us feel like we’re off balance.
Our brains hold tightly to certain patterns that feel “normal” — even ones not all that great for us. And they resist what feels like “abnormal.” Good news is that we can change that. “Neural plasticity (also neuroplasticity) is the ability of neural networks in the brain to change through growth and reorganization.”
But first we have to get through the obstacle course inside that tries to protect us by keeping things the same. Simply put, our brain creates red flags like fear, anxiety, and hyper-awareness that feel like warnings we need to heed. So moving toward a different life might at first feel quite uncomfortable — or worse.
Now about that good news…
Luckily, you don’t have to make change happen all at once. In fact, slow is much better for creating new and lasting brain cell patterns that help us move to each and every next step.
Even a small thing like beginning to research a dream is a wonderful way to nudge new neural pathways into being more receptive. Concrete action pushes the emotional roadblocks to the side for a moment — and lets you begin to feel like you’re moving toward something. And each and every new step helps propel you forward.
After some initial research, informational interviews might be a great next step. Also, maybe time to take a course to learn a new skill or information related to your “different life”. Or start a blog about it. The more you explore, the more real (normal) it begins to feel. And the more you can see what feels right for you. And what doesn’t.
Moving toward a new and different life
means we’ll make some missteps.
But each time learning and getting closer!
So what new and different life will YOU dare to dream about? And what one step might you take today — even the tiniest of steps — to move you forward. Feel free to share your thoughts and dreams. 🙂
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