It isn’t always obvious when you need to make a change. Life doesn’t always come with a calendar alert telling you what to change and when. There is a spectrum of human behaviour when it comes to change and reinvention. On one end of the spectrum you find people who hate it and become tense when faced with even minor change. On the other end of the spectrum you find people who actually seek out constant change and hate stability.
Most people are somewhere in the middle. Regardless of where you are on the spectrum, sometimes it’s better to seek stability and at other times to seek change. So, if you aren’t sure you’re ready for change, here are some tell-tale signs that you may need to reinvent:
You find yourself daydreaming about what you’d rather be doing. This is important information to take note of. People tend to rehearse the changes they like to make in their lives through their imaginations. Please note, though, that sometimes you don’t need to change what you are doing, but rather how you are doing it. For example, a client who was a business owner was working 60 hours a week and was day dreaming of a life with more down time. She kept thinking she needed to sell her business, when actually what she needed to do was to change her beliefs and habits about how she ran her business.
2. Irritability and lethargy
You notice that situations you used to enjoy actually irritate you now. You also may be dragging yourself out of bed every day. If you are not looking forward to facing the challenges of your day it may mean you either need to reinvent what you are doing or how you are doing it. Notice if someone comments on how negative you seem, don’t take offense, but thank them for clarifying this telling sign. Sometimes you can get so used to being irritated that you become numb to it. Awareness of the moods that permeate your behaviour is an important first step in making a major life change. You can also talk to someone that has seen you consistently for a number of years and candidly ask them how they perceive your attitude. Use their answer to activate your resolve to change.
You may feel an insatiable nagging which is a clue that an important part of your expression in the world is being ignored. You may feel that “nothing’s wrong, but nothing’s right either” or “there’s just something missing.” If these phrases resonate for you, you aren’t living the life you truly want, you are settling for something less. A big reason people cannot get beyond a nagging sense of dissatisfaction is because they aren’t totally sure what to change or how to do it. One way to gain clarity is to ask yourself, “If there were no obstacles in terms of time, money, or resources what would I do that I’m not doing now?” One of my coaching clients discovered that he wanted to be a moviemaker. This discovery led him to being the person who started making promotional videos within his organization.
If someone you know is doing something that fascinates you or if they trigger a sense of envy, or both, that is a good clue. Make some notes about what they are doing it and how they are doing it that capture your attention or that gnaws away at you. This could be someone in your community or a famous person. Chances are that person is demonstrating some aspect of your ideal life, and your fascination or aversion can be a huge sign post for you. The number one reason people don’t actively pursue their dreams is because they don’t give themselves permission to look and see what they actually want. Make an appointment with yourself. Put aside 30 minutes on a Sunday morning, and ask yourself this question: “What is it about this person that most fascinates me or that I most envy?” For example, one of my coaching clients noticed that she felt envy whenever her friend talked about her work for an arts foundation. Eventually this client created a series of joint ventures between her company and the arts foundation. The envy led her to something that created more fulfillment in her life.
5. Seeking inspiration
Another clue you need a change is if you find yourself searching for new ideas and inspiration. Observe the articles that catch your attention or which web sites you are browsing. Notice the topics of conversation that intrigue you. Keep note of these behaviours and what you find in your research. It will all become useful when you are ready to make the change. For example, another coaching client noticed that in one year she had read seven books on how to deal with difficult behaviours at work. She went onto having a consulting practice in workplace communication.
If more than 3 of these signs describe you, do at least one small action to work toward changing your life. This could mean writing in notebook (you can call it a Reinvention Journal) for 30 minutes on Sundays, or interviewing someone on the phone who is doing what you want to do, or browsing 3 web sites on topics that fascinate you. Just remember that reinventing yourself in one area of your life can enhance all aspects of your life.
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