I’ve had a few conversations with friends and clients these past few weeks about “when is it a good time” to do something, tell someone about a decision, or make a life change.
No-one likes change. We’re human. It’s how we’re made.
And then there’s the mind monkeys, or gremlins, whatever you call those voices you hear in your head. They talk to you all the time prompting more self doubt than you had in the first place. We all have them. They’re normal for humans too. We can learn to control them, so we start to hear them less and less.
If you find yourself saying:
- When that happens I’ll do…
- If only I could…
- I need to wait until…
then you’ll understand that “when is a good time” is a common question to ask oneself.
Working out when is a good time
There may not be an answer to this. If a friend asks you when they should do something, what do you say to them? When a close friend asked me this the other week, my response was, “is there ever a good time?”. She thought about it, and agreed that there wasn’t. So we then talked about what was “right”.
Now right for her may not be right for me or you. I suggested she listened to herself, and when she felt it was the right time it would be good too.
By listening to yourself and working out what’s right for you, is the only way you can work out when a good time is for you. [Are good and right the same things? Maybe that’s a conversation for another day. I’ll continue to use both here as I’ve found people use them interchangeably. So that’s what I’ll do too.]
If you continue to ask others for their advice, you’re not owning your own choices. I know they’re hard and you want someone else to take responsibility. However, it’s hard because you know you want to change something and it feels like you’re ready. You’re just waiting for the right time to do it.
I was forced to make a big change
When I was growing my first business, I knew I was getting close to making the decision to leave my salaried position to grow my business further. Then I was made redundant and the change was made for me. I was fortunate that I had no control over this in one way, as it made me step up and continue to grow the business with a new focus.
You’ll hear some coaches talk about thinking about each day being the day before you die – what would you want to achieve today? What would you do if you knew this was last day that you could do that thing? Would you still stall and not do it? Or would you take the opportunity to just do it?
If I was to tell you now that if you don’t do it today you never will, how would that make you feel? That you have to make a change? Or it’s not worth it?
Life changes whether we like it or not
It is a fact of life that life changes. We have no choice. There are the seasons we live through. Natures life cycles of birth, growth and death. We accept that spring follows winter. We accept that death is a part of life.
Yet we often struggle to do something which only takes a few seconds to do. Yes, telling someone about a decision you’ve made only takes a few seconds, even though it’s taken hours, maybe months to think about it. Farrar Storr’s book, The Discomfort Zone brings this to life. If you’re living in discomfort because you can’t find “the right time” to tell someone about a change you’d like to make, how much are you stopping yourself from moving forward in your life?
Most change makes us feel uncomfortable. You may well feel that the change is outside your comfort zone so you don’t want to take that step. Yet you know that magic happens when you take that step. It’s all so confusing.
All of this is going round and round your head. You’re stopping yourself going anywhere with all this self-talk.
Keep it simple
Whilst the change/s you want to make may be complex, if you can keep your steps simple, you can make the change happen more easily.
Know what you want to achieve
If you know what you want to achieve, you’ll find the small steps to make changes easier. If you’re still confused about what you want, talk it through with a friend or coach and get it clear first.
Stick to your values
Be yourself. Your core values are just that. If the change you want to make is to support your values then you’ll know that it’s the right thing to do.
Ensure you’re staying safe
Whether you’re making a life change or changing careers, staying safe will be important to the timing. I include your mental health as well as your physical health here.
Creating the change at the right time
When a friend asked me to go to Malawi with her to a village in the south of the country, I felt too that it may not be the right time. However, I couldn’t find any reason why I shouldn’t go with her. It’s a fantastic opportunity to live in a village for two weeks and contribute some skills. I’m leaving my family, who are very able to look after themselves, and my business, to go off exploring. Is that a bad thing? For me it’s not. I’m excited and delighted my friend asked me. I’ve had three weeks to think about it and two more to prepare everything I need.