A client of mine recently called me in a panic. The plan she mapped out with me over the course of a year—a bold plan to shift from survival to purpose mode, which included uprooting her family and simplifying her life in many areas—was coming to fruition.
Am I making a mistake? she asked.
Here’s the thing about dreaming big dreams: Sometimes they come true. And that can be terrifying—especially if you are the breadwinner for your family, and you’re considering leaving a company you’ve been with for over 15 years for the uncertainty of a new job. Those are the stakes for my client. They are incredibly high. And she’s feeling the weight of her worry.
There is a job to resign. A house to sell. Movers to hire. A trek across the country with her husband and three children. Decisions about where to buy a new home. Schools to research—schools that have already begun the new year. Will she have enough time between jobs to feel settled? What if the new job isn’t all it is cracked up to be?
When my client stopped to take a breath, I reminded her why this whole process started: She wanted to raise her children closer to relatives and create an easier lifestyle for her family (less time battling traffic in long commutes), all without stunting her career growth. All of which is possible with the new opportunity she’s been given.
Sometimes, things can feel paralyzing—especially for Type A-ers. We want all the answers right now. We want to see the future and the finish line and know that we win in the end. But that’s not life. We don’t have crystal balls. Mapping out a course is a great thing to do, but it is important to know that the course can’t be completed all at once. It requires you to take one step. Then another. And another.
As long as you’re clear about your why, the answer to what’s next is actually quite simple: Take the next best step.
Looking back on my life, some of my most overwhelming moments happened just before a major accomplishment was achieved. I have a vivid memory of sitting at a restaurant with a friend listing out a similar to-do list my client rattled off to me. I needed to put my house on the market, buy a new place, and pack everything up by myself, and it felt too hard to accomplish. He asked me: What’s the next best step? I’ve kept that question in my pocket for over 15 years and use it daily when things feel hard.
As for my client, of course we don’t know how her story will end. But here are a few steps she has already taken since we talked: She hired a realtor. She priced out moving companies. And she determined the start date at her new job. She will continue to take the next best step, and then the next, and the next.
This, friends, is what we call life. And she’s stepping into one she’s ready to love.
Are you facing a big life transition and feeling paralyzed by your to-do list? What is the next best step for you? Email me. I’d love to support you.
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