How long have you been secreting wanting a change in your life? Are you daydreaming of a life that reflects more of who you really are?  Would you feel vulnerable speaking your desires aloud to those who know you well?

In my coaching practice, I often see people who come with the following desires and dilemmas:   Should I start my own business?   How do I transition to the single life after being married for over 20 years?  How can I justify wanting to leave a job that pays so well? Do I keep my business small and under my control, or bring in a business partner and employees and grow it? How do I find the right business partner? Do I leave my job, or try to work out my challenging relationship with my boss? Is it worth it to go back to school?

 These are critical decisions that require careful thought and self-reflection.  I have 6 questions I encourage you to ask yourself when contemplating a similar leap:

  1. Fantasy or heart-felt desire?  Are you wanting this because your friends are doing it? Are you running from—rather than running to something? Do you want a dream out there-just beyond reach to comfort yourself vs truly having the desire and courage to go after something real and possible?
  2. What do you value? This means looking deeply at what is important for you. Do you value independence, creativity, having flexible work hours, working alone, contributing something for the betterment of humanity, making a six-figure income, being part of a cutting edge endeavor, or something else? The critical piece here is honesty—if you want money, fame, and recognition, don’t pretend otherwise.
  3. Where do you get immersed and lose time?  When do you get into “flow states”? What do you love to “be” and “do”? Where does your passion lie?  It might be selling ideas, writing code, training circus clowns, baking cakes, swimming with dolphins, building websites, or doing humanitarian work in the developing world. Look at what you love and where the need is. What gives you energy and is endlessly fascinating to you? What are your talents, skills, and gifts? If you aren’t sure, ask people who know you well. If you love what you do going forward—it will be “oh so much easier” getting over the hurdles and hard times that will come!
  4. The “C” word. This next step involves commitment.  Saying Yes to Option A means saying No to Option B, so you need to be clear about what is important enough to make you commit. You must be willing to pay the price of going for your dream. It might cost you relationships, money, time, energy, possibly failure. What would you have to give up if you take this step? What is worth doing even if you fail?
  5. What resources do you need to have in place in order to take the next step? Do you have the skills, determination, focus, money, time, and emotional support in place to go forward? If you don’t, can you get them?
  6. Longterm Picture:  How does this dream fit in with your longterm picture of your life? Is this the right time? Will you look back from a future time and regret not taking this step? Imagine how it will feel 5 years from now if you take this step.

I know the pain of not taking  “the step”, and the challenge and joy of taking “the step”. It takes vulnerability which is another word for “courage”. After careful thought if you see you aren’t running away from a problem, and you know what you value and love and are willing to commit to—go after the resources and give yourself the gift of making your dream real.