You're considering a new career, new place to live or new business, retirement, or any other move. You ask, "Will I be happy?" If you remember the old, old song, "What will be" may not be the answer you're looking for.
There are no one-size-fits-all guidelines, but there are five questions that can help you anticipate how you'll enjoy what you get.
1. "Did I choose to make this move or am I being pressured?" When you feel in control, you are most likely to be happy after you make a move. When you feel you have few or no options, begin to explore strategies to regain your power.
2. "Am I moving to or moving from?" We've all been tempted to take a big leap and just leave whatever we'd like to escape. Sometimes the results bring surprising rewards. When you analyze what you want, rather than what you want to leave, you can make more effective decisions about your next career, city and business.
3. "Can I still be me?" I live in a town where many people move specifically for retirement. Many choose the most rural areas of the county, assuming they'll find nirvana when they've left city life behind. And many are miserable because they didn't realize what they needed to be happy ? more stimulation and satisfaction than you can find in the country.
4. "Does my happiness depend on another person or organization?" You move to be closer to your grandchildren ? and they're all grown up. You move for a company ? and your job disappears due to a policy change. You can't prevent all surprises, but you can make contingency plans and create safety nets.
5. "What options will I have three years after I make the move? Five years?" Will you have more opportunities than you do now or will you feel trapped?
There's no way to predict what will happen, whether you turn left or right at the fork in the road. But the odds are something will change in three to five years. You'll be different. Your professional field will be different. Your workplace will be different. And you'll be ready to make another move.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., wrote Making the Big Move (New
Harbinger 1999). She works with professionals who are tossing and turning over a career decision and need a coach to help them brainstorm a solution.
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