August 2, 2010

Four Easy Steps To A New Life!

The morning after I got my You-Are-Officially-Laid-Off notice from my job, I will admit I felt a little lost. For 5 1/2 years I had gotten up and done the same thing every morning and now, now not only did I not have a job to do, I also didn't have a place to go . . . except my dining room table to eat a slow breakfast, linger over my coffee and meander on over to my computer in my jammies.

Sounds like a dream come true, right? A 2-minute commute in your pajamas? Well, yes and no.

Yes, because who doesn't dream about working in their pajamas? And no, because I hadn't had any time to prepare, really prepare for this moment.

So, I didn't know what to do. And, every day for the next several months I asked myself "How do I do this, what's next, just how do I go about reinventing myself this time?"

This isn't the first time I found myself in this predicament. Like a lot of women who move through the phases of their life, I had several little new beginnings, i.e. having a baby, going back to work after the baby, graduations, etc.

The biggest, most significant start-over I faced, however, was right after my divorce . . . learning all over again how to support myself and now my kids, going it alone in a very couple-oriented place, creating a new normal for me and the kids and eventually moving on with my own personal life...pretty momentous.

And, this lay off, well, it was kind of the same way as the divorce in how life-changing it would become. But, this time instead of facing the next few years with an I-wonder-if-I-can-do-this feeling, I saw a real adventure coming around the corner.

The adventure didn't start that first day at my computer in my pajamas, tho. I had spent time over several years asking myself some questions.

Cheryl, do you love going to work?

Do you truly enjoy what you do with your evenings?

Are you moving closer to your life goals?

Are you living your values?

When you lay your head on the pillow at night, 
do you feel full and satisfied with life?

For most of life, we often just do what we have to do and I was no different. I didn't want to work full time and leave the kids in daycare or to fend for themselves after school, but the budget demanded it.

But now, here I was, at a place in my life where I could do just about anything I wanted to do. Funny thing, tho, what exactly did I want?! It wasn't until I was laid off that I realized I . . .

Here's what I did. It's very simple, but it worked for me.

Step one:  Think of just one thing in your life that you want to change/do. Your one thing can't be to change someone else, it has to be something you have some measure of control over. And, it should be something challenging, something you haven't been able to accomplish yet.

Step two:  Write your one thing down on a piece of paper. Use a sheet of paper that is big enough to add to.

Step three:  Tape up your piece of paper in a place where you will see it regularly.

Step four:  Make it your goal every week to add an idea under your goal of something simple you can do to move closer to what you want, and do it!

You don't have to wait til you are laid off like I did to start this. It's doable no matter what your circumstance. Its all about baby steps. :)

Once I had this simple structure in place, the ideas started to flow. But, something else interesting also began to happen. I noticed that as I disciplined myself to think about my one thing every week, to do something to move toward it on a consistent basis, my life was not only changing in baby steps, but so was I! While I wasn't looking, I was becoming a new woman, inside AND out. I really hadn't counted on that.

So, what one thing would you like to change in your life? Maybe it has to do with your body and/or health, like me. Whatever it is, commit to sharing your one thing with someone significant in your life, and if you are comfortable doing so, share in the comments or via an email to me at {cherylwrites at gmail dot com}.

Whomever you share with just telling another person is often enough to set some things in motion in your heart to spur you on and get the ball rolling!


Photo courtesy of Creative Commons: 


  1. I loved this post!! I've been a stay at home mom for 17 years. My youngest is 13....that means in 5 years.....yeah? What? I don't know, but you are such a great example of how to handle change.

  2. You should be a life coach! This is a great idea. Now I need to just come up with something.

  3. This is such an awesome post! These steps work in so many aspects of life. They're basically what I used to lose my excess weight, and when I learned I was losing my job last year, I put the same basic plan to work. As the only non-finance person in a finance department, and having survived two rounds of cuts, I knew my days were numbered. That gave me time to come up with a plan, to sandbag some $$$, and to prepare myself emotionally. When the time came, I was able to exit gracefully (well, as gracefully as I'm capable of doing) and without regret.

    I'm so glad you posted this as I think many people will benefit from it!

  4. Hi Cheryl -- yes, the knowledge that we have the option to create whatever life we choose it so empowering! I love it.

    Of course, I am a life coach so I fully embrace this concept. And I work in my pajammas a lot :)

    The goal is to be motivated for the right reasons.

    Thanks for the 4 easy steps.