Whether your hand was forced, or you made the decision, going out on a limb by changing the direction your life is going in can be scary, risky and yet, very rewarding. Sometimes the change can be the result of a good, well thought out decisions to change your career path, your lifestyle or your relationships. Other times, you are forced to make these changes. Dealing with a job loss, divorce, moving or managing a new health issue are all ways that you can end up out on a limb, forced to recover from these setbacks and forge ahead.
Whatever the reason, once you are committed to this new path you have to accept the fact that you are now exiting your comfort zone and taking up residence in the world of the unknown. You know that eventually, it will be fine. This new life will become your comfort zone and you will be able to look back at what you have overcome and be glad and even proud that you were able to take that risk. But, when you are out on the limb and putting in as much effort into it as you possibly can, it is hard to keep yourself motivated and not give up.
A recently published article at Psychology Today talked about just such a situation. I found it interesting that they mentioned how the company you keep can make a huge difference in how we feel about the changes we are making. They listed the 4 types of people who can change the way we think about our new challenge, and not all of them were helpful. By thinking about the people when know and deciding which type they are, we can limit our exposure to the people who will bring us down and increase our contact with the people who will help us maintain our resolve.
Here are the types of people that will make a difference:
- Perpendicular people – If you think of a diagram of a perpendicular line, you will have a good visual of who these people are. They are the people you knew when you were safe in your former comfort zone. These people could be old co-workers, people who were mutual friends with you and your ex-partner, parents at the school your kids used to attend, and so on. These people can often have a negative affect on your resolve. When you chat with them about where you are in your life now they may react with disdain or ask you if you are sure that you are making the right choices. For some of them, your changes and your success at coping with them can make them feel threatened. Especially if your new circumstances weren't by choice, talking to you may make them realize that nothing in life is permanent and you will remind them that being in a comfort zone doesn't mean security. Sudden life changes can happen to anyone at anytime. They may try to bring you down and even react defensively when you talk about what you've been up to.
- Parallel people – These are people who are on the same path as you. For example, other people who are recovering from a divorce or have just moved to the area as well. Because we all need the support of others who can relate to where we are, these people will be a great resource for emotional support, encouragement and general acceptance. When you spend time with these people, you will feel energized and more motivated. Try to spend more time with people in this category, because they will be the ones who can keep you from wanting to just give up.
Making changes and climbing out on a limb to change your life is risky but it can lead to some of the biggest rewards, even if it is hard to see it at the time. When you are trying to build a new comfort zone, the best way to manage those risks is to pick the people you spend time with. Limit the time you spend with people that make you lose your motivation and instead, spend more of it with the people who will increase it.
Have you ever been out on a limb? How did you get through it? Let me know in the comments.
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By Melissa Kennedy- Melissa is a 9 year blog veteran and a freelance writer for FinancialJobBankBlog. Along with helping others find the job of their dreams, she enjoys computer geekery, raising a teenager, supporting her local library, writing about herself in the third person and working on her next novel.