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When faced with a decision, clients often say, "I can't make a mistake this time," or, "I want to be sure I'm doing the right thing."
There are no guarantees, but here are some ways to improve the odds.
1. Assess your strengths, limitations and values before you begin.
2. Ask friends and colleagues, "I'm thinking of doing X. If you heard that I tried X and succeeded, what would be your response? If you heard that I tried X and failed, how would you be likely to explain the reasons for failure?
3. Are you feeling especially depressed, isolated, vulnerable or scared? These feelings often lead to decisions we regret later. Deal with the feelings or take an intermediate step that will take you to a different emotional place.
4. Talk to at least three people (six would be better) who are doing what you want to do (or living where you want to live).
Ask tough questions: How did they get there? What worked and what didn't? How has the field (or the location) changed since they moved? What was their toughest challenge?
Be negative. If you've gotten this far, you've already looked at the positive side.
5. Create best case and worst case scenarios. Describe in detail how you would deal with each.
6. Create a safety net based on your own personal comfort zone. Some people sleep soundly when they don't know where they will get the next mortgage payment. Others toss and turn when their income falls below six figures to the left of the decimal point.
Be honest. If you're scared you will be paralyzed and a sense of need will drive away business.
7. Stay focused but not necessarily on a single goal. In the early stages, you may want to explore two or three avenues simultaneously.
8. Don't give up your power. When you start to feel intimidated by advice, remind yourself that you are in charge of your life.
9. Break your goal into small steps. Make a short visit before you make the final move. Find a client or two before you open the doors to your business. Take courses before signing up for a degree.
If you have chosen an all-or-nothing goal, strengthen your safety net.
10. As you begin moving toward your goal, pay attention to what happens. Do things fall into place? Does a funding source appear out of nowhere? Does a friend-of-friend offer help?
An increase in your own energy can mean you're on the right track -- or simply that you are enjoying a change from your recent experience. Interpret with care.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D. author, career consultant, speaker "When career freedom means business" http://www.movinglady.com "helping midlife professionals move to career freedom" http://www.movinglady.com/business.html