Three Steps to Making One Bold Life Change

ValerieDenisePhotos-41 I spent much of 2015 in a state of unrest. After over two years of freelancing and struggling to grow my own business, I began to question not only my career moves, but if San Diego, where I was residing at the time, was the place for me.

I had spent seven years in this beautiful beach town. I had grown a solid community. I had been dating a wonderful man for five years…

But something was missing.

I tried a career change and traded my flexible coffee shop freelance days for a 9-6 at a PR company, but only discovered a toxic work environment. The sense of unease in my soul persisted. I needed a change.

I started taking trips whenever I could in order to escape: Kauai for two weeks, whirlwind road trips up the coast, a weekend backpacking in the Sierras, jetting back home to Colorado. And then one spontaneous trip to San Francisco in September changed my life forever.

When the wheels of our plane touched down, I felt a vibrant buzz of energy I hadn’t before. We spent our weekend dancing on rooftops with new friends, picnicking with wine and cheese in the park, riding bikes across the Golden Gate Bridge, and wandering down streets lined with candy colored Victorian houses. I had conversations with a multitude of other twenty-somethings like me, chasing down their dreams and enjoying the vibrant lifestyle of the city. I began to feel a tug on my heart. Move? To San Francisco? Me?

Was this the answer to my restlessness, a move and a new home?

I visited again in November and the voice grew even stronger: home, it said, this is your new home. I began to fall deeply and passionately in love with this city by the bay.

Back in San Diego, I had to make changes. I quit my job at the PR agency. I turned down what would have been my dream job offer in San Diego. I broke up with my boyfriend of five years. I dropped it all and began a full-time job hunt in San Francisco.

And, to start…It. Was. Hard. Daily I was met with the discouragement of unanswered emails, discarded resumes, and an aching heart. But I had made a decision, and I was going to follow through. Finally two months of job hunting paid off: I had an interview. I got the job. I was moving to San Francisco.ValerieDenisePhotos-39 Of course there are ups and downs to every big transition, as exciting as a fresh start may seem. I had to say goodbye to friends that had become my family. I had to grow roots in a new city where I knew only a handful of acquaintances. I had to adjust once again to a full-time job in an office. And I also had to come to terms with the fact I would not be able to wear my bikinis at the beach every weekend!

But over the past few months in my new city, I started noticing little changes in myself. I finally felt at home. Making this brave move not only gave me the opportunity to grow in my career, but in the discovery of a new sense of confidence in who I am.

When you’re facing down restlessness and trying to muster up the bravery to make the hard decision, take the first step, or make the move, keep these three lessons I learned in mind:

1. Be Willing to Challenge Opinions

When you’re preparing to make a big change, chances are everyone is going to have an opinion. I had several trusted friends advise me against what they saw as a reckless move. Others told me it was a phase, something I would get over once I settled into my ideal job. But my heart told me otherwise– and for once, I trusted it.

Listen to the trusted wisdom from your closest confidants and hear the valued opinions of others, but don’t take everything they say at face value. The ultimate decision is yours; you have the choice to accept or reject their ideas and challenge their well-meaning advice, too. You accept what you believe to be true.

2. Surprise Yourself

We all see ourselves in a certain way– we have our likes and our dislikes, our list of to-dos and never-dos. But what would happen if we allow ourselves to break free of these boxes we build and instead be willing to surprise ourselves?

Instead of thinking in definitives– I am NOT a city person. I would NEVER move. I do NOT want to work for anyone other than myself ever again – infuse each thought with possibility. When we are flexible in our growing, we discover pieces of ourselves we never would have otherwise, and we allow them to flourish.ValerieDenisePhotos-37 3. Don’t Forget to Celebrate!

Once you take the leap or make your brave move, allow yourself some time to simply rest, basking in the beauty of right now and finding pure enjoyment with where you are at. Our society places so much emphasis on striving for the next achievement, the next goal, and the next check-box that it becomes all too easy to forget to enjoy the now.

Look at all you’ve accomplished! Take time to honor your progress and celebrate your wins and your bravery. You go, girl!

It has been nearly six months since I made the bold decision to move to San Francisco.

And honestly? This has been the bravest decision I have ever made, and the most active proof of trust in myself and in my faith– but I have discovered a sense of joy in who I am and the energy that surrounds me unlike anything I have experienced before. I can say with unwavering confidence that I am right where I am supposed to be.   

Allow yourself the ability to not only dream a little bit bigger, but act on those scary steps to do what you need to do to be where you want to be. Step into your boldness. Watch what happens and surprise yourself.

Photos by Valerie Denise

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