The picture is vivid. My husband, sitting in the driver seat of the Mustang, while I’m next to him in the passenger seat and the salesman is in the back. It’s a test drive and we’ve been navigating the side streets, my husband getting re-used to manually shifting gears, learning how the car maneuvers, and understanding its many nuances. And then we hit the freeway, with the VROOOOM sound of the Mustang opening up. As it was muscling through its paces, I looked over at my spouse, resplendent behind the wheel, with the biggest grin on his face, going from ear to ear. Not sure if the salesman saw this or not but, in that moment I knew we were going to be transitioning into a new family car from our staid Toyota Camry.

And isn’t that what it’s like for most of us when we are gearing up for change?  Whether the change is exciting (a career change or approaching wedding) or devastating (the loss of a significant other or divorce), there is the time before the change becomes a known fact. It’s the time before we have to deal with the transition into the change itself, before a Cl.E.A.R. Path Forward™ happens. It’s that gearing up phase.

The sad fact for me is that so many people get stuck in this phase or prolong it for so long that the possibilities they started to imagine for themselves have passed them by. I was talking to a former doctor recently who shared he had all sorts of ideas for what he wanted his life to be like after leaving his high-paying job. He realized though, that he’d gotten stuck in a too familiar day-to-day pattern and the possibilities slowly faded away due to eventually declining health. Does he have regrets? The simple answer, no and yes. He is proud of his family, the kids he raised, the financial legacy he leaves, his lifetime support to the community. Yet there is that niggling “What if?” at the back of his mind. What if I’d tried to establish a foundation? What if I’d gone more out on a limb to discover the next opportunity, to affect and change the lives of others?

So what’s a person to do? Most of us want to be able to look back and say, I lived my life to fullest, during each stage of my life. The first comment I hear from most people is that they speak with family and friends as they launch into change. Here’s the rub, when talking to your family and friends; many of them want those old day-to-day patterns to remain.

Most people will not jump up and shout, YES, get that divorce, move out of the area or leave that secure job to start your own business. For some, your change constitutes a realization on their part that you want to move on. Consequently, you may hear comments like, “Why would you want to go do that?” For better or worse, it will also cause ripples of change in their lives, and stasis is much easier than change.

On the other hand, there is typically a person, whether it be a new friend, someone who isn’t accustomed to the old you, a spouse who has circumnavigated with you through other life changes, or someone going through the same indecision that you are. As you look around, discover new alliances, friends and support network that will encourage you to explore and imagine the new possibilities for your life.

In next week’s posting, read about what constitutes a choice mindset.

Kathy Hart, Ed.D. has a driving passion for human change and transformation. She has witnessed too many people silenced and leading lives of quiet despair. Her goal is to provide everyone with the support and resources needed to re-imagine and lead a more abundant, joy-filled and purpose-driven life. If you are struggling to re-claim your voice and live your life to the fullest, take concrete action by contacting Kathy at kathy@clearvisionconsult.com. The choice is yours!