I hate change. In fact, I refuse it. Things are just fine the way they are — no need for change. I can eat the same breakfast all year, leave the furniture in the same place for decades, take the same route to the grocery store for a life time. I don’t see why everyone needs to change everything. And yet, change is a constant, continual presence in my world.

It’s like standing at the edge of a familiar shore, contemplating the vast, unknown ocean ahead. Whether it’s a career shift, a lifestyle change, or simply adopting a new hobby, the process of reinventing ourselves can feel overwhelming. But here’s the thing: it’s also incredibly exhilarating and rewarding. So, how do we muster the courage to dive into our next season and adjust to it gracefully?

Acknowledge the Need for Change

The first step in allowing ourselves to change is recognizing that we’re ready for it. (Even if we only feel sort of ready.)  Sometimes, it’s a whisper in our heart, a longing for something different or more fulfilling. Other times, it’s a loud, unavoidable call for transformation. Listen to these signals. Acknowledge that what worked for you in the past might not be what’s best for you now. It’s okay to outgrow versions of yourself.

I awoke on my 50th birthday homeless, jobless, exiting a 30-year marriage, and leaving my decades long supportive community. Surprisingly, I was better than I should have been in that circumstance because I recognized that it was time for change. 

Embrace the Fear

Fear of the unknown is natural. It’s hardwired into our brains to keep us safe. But remember, every significant accomplishment in our lives starts as something we haven’t mastered. Allow yourself to feel the fear, then take a step forward anyway. The act of moving forward, despite fear, builds courage and resilience. It’s in this process that we discover new facets of ourselves.

I had a mentor say to me once, “Why are we always running from fear?” Strangest question I’d ever heard. I was thinking, “Aren’t we supposed to run from fear?” The concept of running from fear had long been embedded in my brain. There was never another option mentioned or demonstrated to me. Facing, embracing and taking a step while afraid was a jaw dropper for me. Now, I ask myself, “What have I done today that scares me?” It’s something I build into my life — on purpose. CRAZY!?!

Educate Yourself

Knowledge is power. Want to switch careers? Learn about the new field. Interested in a new hobby? Take a class or find resources online. The internet is a treasure trove of free and paid resources for nearly every interest under the sun. By educating ourselves, we don’t just acquire new skills; we build the confidence to step into our new role.

There is a caveat — we can over-educate. I love to learn, research, read, review, over-educate and do it again. That means I have to set a limit for myself — two weeks and take action or one-hour on Google and move forward. It’s too easy for me and people like me to get stuck in this stage of educating. Don’t forget the purpose of education — to lead us to action.

Take Small Steps

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and personal reinvention doesn’t happen overnight. Break down your goal into manageable steps. Celebrate each small victory along the way. These milestones are not just progress markers; they’re reminders of our capability and resilience.

I feel like every day or week or month, I’m reinventing. I’ve learned that change is the doorway to growth. Now, I don’t just allow change, I look for it. WHAT?!? I said it. I literally look for change — new opportunity, new systems, new goals. When I focus on one step at a time, it’s not daunting. 

Reflect and Adjust

As you embark on this journey of change, take time to reflect on your progress. What’s working? What isn’t? Be willing to adjust your course as needed. Flexibility is a key component of growth. Remember, the goal is not to change who you are at the core but to evolve into the best version of yourself.

Celebrate Your Courage

Finally, celebrate the fact that you had the courage to embark on this journey. Change is not easy. It takes bravery to step out of our comfort zone and into our next season. Regardless of the outcome, you’ve already succeeded by having the courage to start. Throw some confetti!

Allowing ourselves to change and reinvent at any age is a profound act of self-love and bravery. It’s about listening to our inner voice, embracing the fear of the unknown, and taking steps toward a life that feels more authentic and fulfilling. Remember, it’s never too late to adjust your sails and find your next season.

Connect with Michele on LinkedIn or read more of her articles on Plaid.