By Jason Bennett
Imagine your life and your current plan. It’s one you’ve mapped out for years, one where you believe the destination has been set, and now it’s just a matter of getting there. Then imagine things suddenly going in a different, unplanned direction. It could be from something that happens personally, perhaps involving a relationship as it begins or ends, or it could be from something that happens professionally, likely from an unexpected opportunity or challenge. Whatever it is, your path is no longer set, and the future, your future, becomes entirely unwritten.
The unpredictability of life is one of the few things we can count on. No matter how well we have planned, life has a funny way of tearing up those plans, throwing them back at us, and challenging us to do something about it. It is how we respond in these moments that define us. As we grow older and time passes more quickly, these moments of uncertainty become gifts, catalysts for growth, chances to do something or become someone you never thought was possible.
- Dream on, little dreamer
What do you want to do for a living? Where do you want to live? What companies do you admire? What countries do you want to visit? What do you want to learn? Who do you want to ask to dinner? All questions where the answers can be daunting and perhaps a bit scary, but if you give some thought to the answers, when your current plan changes, it just might be because it’s time to make your dreams a reality. (p.s. You really shouldn’t wait on asking someone to dinner now, rejection is easier to move on from than regret.)
2. Follow all of your signs
One day the task app on my phone suggested I learn Portuguese. A few months later I was living in amazing Lisbon. One night I met the founder of a new dance music charity. A few months later I had quit my corporate job and was leading marketing for the Apollo Aid Foundation. I’m not saying every instance in life has a deeper meaning for later in life, but there are signs all around when your mind is already thinking about making a change. You just have to know when to follow them.
3. Keep hold of all that you are
Starting a new path does not mean becoming a new person. Take time today to reflect on the things about yourself you are most proud of, the things people say they love about you. Then think about the things you do want to change, the things people have given constructed feedback on. Do more of the former, and challenge yourself to work on the latter. As you embark on life’s new adventure, you’ll grow into a better version of you.
4. Keep your ideals high
What do you stand for? Where do find meaning? How do you want leave your mark on the world? Insightful tools like Imperative’s Purpose Profile can help reveal the answers, and knowing them will be a powerful asset as you make important decisions when life changes course.
5. Know the sky belongs to no one
The limits we place on ourselves are almost always self-imposed, either through habit or by letting others define what we are capable of. The only person holding you back is yourself, and the sooner you start focusing on your potential rather than your limitations, the sooner you’ll be ready to not just start a new adventure in life, but enthusiastically embrace it.
Do these things now and when the moment is right for you, you’ll know it is time to go. And you’ll never look back.
Jason’s Imperative is to work directly with individuals and find the tools and information that helps them thrive. He is the founder of True Star Consulting, and can usually be found building brands and on dance floors around the world.