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How to approach creating big change in your life or work

Next step to create changegeWhen you want to create a big change in your life or work it can feel daunting.

It can trigger all sorts of emotions like fear of it not working out or going wrong, or wondering if you are able to make it happen, or concern of what others might think.

But big change, in itself, is not the problem. The problem is how we are seeing it. Often, we are not seeing it as it is, but how our mind is projecting it.

Let me explain:

Big change isn’t created in one go. It is actually just an accumulation of many small steps taken over time.

For example, when I was leaving my corporate career to set up my own business back in 2001 it felt like a massive change. But in order to achieve that change it was just an accumulation of small steps, that taken consistently and persistently led to a new and better work life 18 months later.

Same when I left England to follow my dreams of living in a different country (firstly Ireland for 7 years and now Canada). On paper they looked like massive changes.

But, again, in order to achieve those dreams, all it took was many small individual steps taken over a period of time. It is only when they are all put together that you achieve the end game, the big change.

The reason this is important to get is this:

How you approach big change can be the difference between going for it or staying in a status quo that you no longer want or doesn’t serve you.

If you think of the change you want to create as something massive then that is more likely to trigger fear, anxiety, worry, stress. Those emotional states could well get in your way of progress and achieving the change you really want.

On the other hand, if you think of creating big change just as a series of multiple small steps taken over a period of time then the task at hand becomes more manageable and feels easier. It reduces negative feelings that might get in the way.

When I wanted to leave the corporate world many years ago and, later, wanted to emigrate to new countries, I was thinking of it as such a massive change that it terrified the living daylights out of me. As a result, I didn’t take any action for a long time (big mistake!). I stayed stuck in situations that were unfulfilling and costing me the life and work I really wanted.

But when I created this one mindset shift, of seeing a big change just as a series of cumulative small steps it became way easier and it was that mindset that was the catalyst for creating those big changes.

Here are some simple steps to help you approach creating big change.

Step 1 – Write down the change you want to create.

Don’t label it anything like “big” or anything else. It is what it is. Just a change you want to shoot for.

Step 2 – list down everything you can think of that you would need to do to achieve that change.

If you don’t know, don’t worry about it. Maybe your first step is just doing some research on that thing.

Step 3 – put everything you have listed into a priority order or natural sequence.

Step 4 – commit to when you will do the first few steps on that list and schedule them in your calendar.

Revise, update and tweak the list at regular intervals as you move forward.

Step 5 – create contingency plans.

Often it is not big change that terrifies people. It is the thought of what happens if it goes wrong. Address that fear up front by creating contingency plans.

Step 6– to deal with any negative feelings like fear, stress or worry, ask yourself “what needs to be in place for this to feel like a safe change for me to take?” Work on putting those things in place.

My philosophy on creating big change is this:

I would rather give something a go, even if it doesn’t work out, than spend the rest of my life wondering what might have been.

As you move forward think of creating big change just as an accumulation of many small steps taken consistently and persistently over a period of time. Because when it boils down it, at a practical level, that is all it is.

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  • Alana Mautone

    I am getting close to retirement age. The transition seems so daunting at times and I certainly do not have a written down plan. I never thought about dividing it into small pieces. Thank you for the tip. Sharing this!

  • Alana, breaking it down into small steps is really powerful. There are many benefits on many different levels.

  • Marie Mack

    These are such great tips! I find that breaking down a big goal or change into smaller steps can make it seem more manageable and less daunting to accomplish.

  • Jessica @eatsleepbe

    Going through this process right now. These tips are so helpful!

  • Jessica,I am delighted you found it useful.

  • Glad you found it useful.