Recently, I saw an episode of Iyanla: Fix My life where, in the midst of helping a family through a rough situation, Iyanla offered her definition of change. She stated, “There can be no change without chaos. All real, lasting change comes as a result of trembling at the foundational level of what exists.” I instantly started thinking about the times in my life when I had to make (what I consider) drastic life changes.
In the last six years I’ve had two life changes: in 2007, I made a major career change, leaving a profession I worked in for 23 years for another I never dreamed about doing; and in 2011, I moved from the east coast (Baltimore/DC) where I had lived all my life to the west coast (Sacramento, CA) where I thought I would never live. So I now find myself I am asking, “Was chaos associated with my change or was my foundation a little unsettled?”
I started working retail in 1984, mainly to have my own money to do things that teenagers like to do. My love for fashion became stronger and stronger as time progressed, and retail/fashion was my life for 23 years. Toward the end of that time, I started to grow a little tired: the long hours on my feet, missing holidays/vacations with friends and family, and mostly lateral moves in the latter part of my career, were just a few of the reasons why I began to grow frustrated with my job. I really did not see a way out, I felt trapped. Some in the business, non-retail world do not see how retailers have transferrable skills and, therefore, it makes getting out of retail a difficult.
In 2007, things changed when I was asked to interview for a position not in retail/fashion. My prayer was being answered but making the decision was not an easy one. When my friend told me about the position, I immediately said no. Why? It was a career change that I had been praying for; but when the opportunity finally presented itself to me, I was scared and doubtful about whether I had the transferrable skills to make the transition.
After several interviews, my potential new employer wanted a decision and I was stuck. During this time, I developed a decision-making system that I still use with all major decisions. It involves the following:
– Very specific prayer
– Develop a list of pros and cons (pros should outnumber the cons)
– Potential for growth/advancement
– Research of the organization or situation
– A list of my expectations
– Advice/consultation with my closest friends (not all friends will be able to give you good advice)
– Advice/consultation with a professional mentor
– Advise/consultation with my mother
Finally, I made a decision: I took the job and haven’t regretted my choice ever since. Based on Iyanla’s definition of change, I would have to agree. I also realize that with any type of change, being scared of the unknown plays a major role in the final decision. I have learned never to regret any decision because there is a lesson in everything. My life is far from over and I know more changes are on the horizon! I am open to all the experiences and lessons that are in my future!!
I will embrace change!