Growing up, I always assumed that I'd move to a cool loft apartment in a city with a lot of creative energy and pursue a career as a graphic artist. I was a fine art major in college, but I never accomplished my dream of becoming an “artist”. The reality of supporting myself as a struggling artist forced me down another path and I entered the corporate world. As a 22-year-old retail ‘professional’ and aspiring Project Manager with boundless energy, it was the right fit, and I couldn't have been happier. But flash forward thirty three years and many, many, IT projects later; I realized I was in a rut. I felt uninspired at my job, fed up with corporate life, and I craved a change of scenery.
Still, the idea of leaving my job was terrifying. As stressful as corporate life can be, it was also my comfort zone. While leaving my job was certainly a risk, I realized it was a bigger liability to stay put for another year; my health was suffering from stress and unhappiness.
After putting in plenty of thought and research, I chose to take a leap of faith and quit my corporate job and once again return to my creative roots.
Here are some things you should know if you are also thinking about taking this leap of faith:
1. Give the Decision Plenty of Thought — Then Fully Embrace Your Choice
Taking any risk is like jumping from a plane with a parachute on your back: if you think about it too much, you'll probably end up saying "nah, not today". I'm not saying the decision to make a huge move should be taken lightly or done impulsively. But once you've done your research and weighed all the pros and cons, go with your gut instinct and commit yourself to making the change happen.
There's never a guarantee that something is going to be as wonderful as you'd hoped, but follow your instincts and remember that everything is reversible.
2. Network, Network, Network
To begin my creative career, I needed to move to a place that inspires me artistically —we are in the process of relocating to the North Georgia Mountains. This admittedly makes me a little nervous because, as much as I value my alone time, I've always had a close circle of friends in the same city as me.Being an introvert, it’s never easy for me to engage people and make new friends. So to combat my fears I’m working on several ways to network in our new town. Read my five ways to meet new people in a strange town here.
3. Embrace Your Newfound “Me” Time
A creative and social network isn't going to fall into place immediately. One of the best parts of moving to a brand new town is that you get to play tourist, and there are plenty of fun activities to do by yourself. Dining, shopping, scenic parks, and site seeing are all activities that can be enjoyed solo. Without the rigid work schedule I’ll be free to explore the new surroundings.
4. Get Yourself into a Routine
It's natural to feel a little off-kilter when you first leave the daily grind of the corporate world. You're in an unfamiliar place and are still dealing with a lot of unknowns. As exciting as it is, it's also going to be stressful at times.
For many people, there's comfort in building a new routine. Try to establish healthy sleeping and eating patterns immediately, because feeling physically healthy and energetic will make a huge difference. Have a regimen, but don't force yourself to structure every minute of every day. Allow yourself free time to catch your breath, watch a guilty pleasure TV show, or simply wander your new neighborhood.
5. Accept That There Are Some Things You'll Miss
According to unofficial data (aka my feelings), Don't be surprised if you feel pangs of sadness when you see Instagram posts of your friends and colleagues hanging out at a café together or at one of your favorite happy hour spots in your former city after work. It doesn't mean you made the wrong decision by moving; it just means that you made some strong relationships and memories in your former life, and that's something to be grateful for.
6. Try Not To Have Regrets
If you have put in all the effort and planning to make a huge life change, it's because something wasn't working in your life. Once you've arrived in your new home and begin reinventing yourself, embrace every opportunity and stay positive when things get uncomfortable. Take comfort in the knowledge that you took the initiative to give yourself a clean slate and you are creating new opportunities for yourself. That's something to be proud of!