I’ve gone through a lot of change so far this year.
I moved to San Francisco from Chico, CA. I started working full-time out of my home office for EXL until September 2013 when I started a new job at Schwartz MSL in the financial district as an account executive in public relations; a completely different role and industry. I think it’s safe to say that I’ve gone through my fair share of change this year.
After experiencing so many changes throughout the year, I wanted to share three important lessons I’ve learned to keep in mind when making a big change.
Lesson #1: Picture your success when you’re struggling and it will help you achieve it.
Making a big change in your life, no matter how exciting, is harder than you think.
When I moved to San Francisco, I thought I was going to feel happy and settled right away, since it was always my dream to live there. But that was not the case.
My first month in San Francisco was probably the hardest month of my life. Thoughts of regret went through my head daily, I started missing my friends in Chico and it was difficult getting use to a new living situation, in a city that I couldn’t navigate. Although it was exciting and I saw and did a lot of new things and met new people, it was scary and hard starting all over again.
But what got me through that first month was the simple idea that it was going to get better. I told myself, you will eventually make more friends, learn how to get where you need to go without a GPS and get use to living in a big, busy city. The idea of things getting better and imaging myself enjoying city life in the near future helped me to actually realize that ideal.
Lesson #2: When faced with change, if you rise to the challenge, it’s a unique opportunity to realize what you’re truly able to accomplish.
Another important thing I’ve learned about change is that when you’re put into an uncomfortable and unfamiliar situation, you find out what you’re made of.
I’ve been challenged in a variety of ways this year. Like going from working only on marketing strategy to now only working on public relations strategy, to knowing how to get everywhere in Chico, to not knowing how to get anywhere in San Francisco. But in every instance, I have found myself rising to the challenge and doing everything I can to turn an unknown into something that’s familiar and comfortable.
Lesson #3: Mistakes are inevitable and a big part of the change process; acknowledge their importance and learn from them as fast as you can.
Although frustrating, it’s ok to make mistakes when you’re going through a change.
I am very hard on myself when it comes to mistakes. I remember getting really upset when I kept making wrong turns my first time driving to the grocery store, or when I started my new job and didn’t know/follow all the correct internal processes. But after making so many mistakes this year, I’ve actually learned to embrace them. So now when I make them, I say, ‘Well now I know and I’ll never do that again.’
With so many changes this year, I’ve learned that change is equally exciting as it is hard, and making a change work depends on your ability to imagine and work toward success, rise to the challenge and to use every mistake as a learning opportunity.
What have you learned about change?