Making changes, especially major ones, can be extremely difficult for highly sensitive people. It’s tempting to stick with what’s comfortable and familiar, even when we may not be completely satisfied. Change is hard, but it can be accomplished!
Below is Part One of a list of Lessons Learned from my “Big Move” series, where I chronicle a major move that my wife and I made to live closer to our daughter. It was a multi-year journey that encompassed a series of significant life changes, including the loss of my mother, settling her estate, selling my home of 33 years, selling my business of 35 years, and moving from New Jersey to Missouri.
It is my hope that this series of blog posts can help motivate you, as a highly sensitive person, to take on something that’s truly important to you.
- Give yourself enough compelling reasons to do something difficult. After the closing on my mother’s house, my wife and I had a heart-to-heart talk about what our next steps would be. We agreed that we didn’t want to stay in New Jersey. The cost of living was too high, and I didn’t want to work for the rest of my life. Our daughter had been living in St. Louis, Missouri for 1 ½ years, and we missed her. My wife and I decided that we definitely wanted to live closer to our daughter. The cost of living in Missouri was also much lower, so I would finally be able to retire. All of these factors gave us a strong incentive to plow forward.
- It’s important to have a clear and specific vision of what you want. My wife and I came up with a vision of our ideal home. The more houses we looked at, the more we clarified this vision. We pictured a ranch style house with three bedrooms, no further than a 30 minute drive from our daughter. We wanted an updated kitchen, a dining room, a garage, and a finished basement. I wanted a “man cave” where I could display my collectibles, an office where I could do my writing, a library space for my books, and preferably a downstairs bathroom. Also on the wish list was a friendly neighborhood and a yard where we could plant flowers. It was essential that the house be move-in ready. After renovating our home in New Jersey, we weren’t looking for more home improvement projects.
- Sometimes you have to take a chance and go after what you want. You don’t have to know ahead of time all the details of how you’re going to accomplish something. It’s important to acknowledge that making a big change is a scary process, but a little faith can go a long way. How many times have you not attempted something because you didn’t have all of the details worked out yet? I’ve done this too many times in my life! Throughout our “big move,” my wife and I found that whenever we faced an obstacle, we figured a way around it.
- The best way to accomplish a major goal is to have a specific plan of action with a time element involved. Without a concrete plan, you can easily get off track and lose your momentum. As my wife and I crossed completed tasks off our list, our confidence and motivation increased. It’s important to note that we had to make many adjustments along the way.
- Don’t be afraid to do something because it’s difficult or unfamiliar. Be willing to learn as you go. Being afraid will never help you in your pursuit of personal growth. If you want to reach an ambitious goal, you must be prepared to leave your comfort zone. The rewards of tackling a major challenge can be even bigger than you imagined. After taking on the extremely daunting task of selling our home without a realtor, my wife and I saved a considerable amount of money on commissions, but more importantly, we gained A LOT of confidence in ourselves! It was difficult for us to figure out everything we needed to do, but after that experience, we felt that we could take on anything necessary to meet our objective.
- Ask for help when you need it. I have learned that getting help from others can make it much easier to accomplish my goals. When you’re not sure what to do about something — Ask other people! It’s amazing how people and situations seem to fall into place. Throughout this entire process, my wife and I found out that whenever we needed help with something, that help magically appeared!
- Have a strategy to cope with difficult times. Staying calm in the midst of turmoil is one of the biggest challenges one can face as a highly sensitive person.Some of my coping strategies include: (1) breathing my way to “calm,” (2) accepting reality, (3) concentrating on things I can control, (4) changing my inner dialogue, and (5) focusing exclusively on the next step.
Can you relate to my lessons learned? If so, which ones resonate most? Do you have any changes that you would like to make in your life? If so, are you taking steps to meet your objective? I’m interested in any thoughts or comments that you have.
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The next post, (22) Cliff’s “Big Move” Lessons Learned (Part 2), is part two of all the lessons I learned from the major life changes of losing my mother, moving halfway across the country, and coping with poor health.