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Blue Sky Resumes is a small team of professional writers and job search experts. We offer one-of-a-kind resumes, smart career advice and fantastic customer service. This is our blog.


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How to Get Through a Big Change Without Having a Cow


I haven’t blogged for quite a while. That’s not because I ran out of things to say (My husband will confirm that I never run out of things to say) or because I just got lazy and spent the last month eating chocolate and watching reruns of The Golden Girls.

I haven’t blogged because our site was being redesigned. Once the blog content had been moved, I had to wait for the new site to go live before adding any new posts. A few technical hitches slowed us down, but we’re finally done and so here I am.

I love the new design – it feels like we just bought a really great new outfit – but getting here was a big leap for our business. We had to commit to making a lot of big changes and to investing both time and money in transforming ourselves. We also had to let go of the reins a little bit and trust a new team of people to guide us on our new path (for perfectionist control freaks like me, this is not an easy thing to do!)

The process, like most big changes, was exciting, scary, frustrating, inspiring, scary, interesting, creative — did I say scary? — and most of all it was fun. Over the last few days as we prepared to go live, I thought about the things I had learned, both during this change and during other big leaps I have made in my life.

So here are the 5 things I know about how to make big changes without having a cow:

1. Change always takes longer than you expect

When I first emigrated from the UK to Canada, acclimatizing took much longer than I expected. The move from Canada to the US was even harder – trust me, worlds apart!

When we started Blue Sky Resumes 6 years ago, the website development and business planning took months longer than I thought. And the same happened with this redesign.

Imagining the change is easy, but you never imagine the rocky bits. You never picture that moment when someone says ‘uh-ho … we seem to have hit a snag.’ So your imagined time line is always shorter than the one that is really needed.

My husband has managed large-scale construction projects, so he is better at this than I am. He doesn’t know exactly what will go wrong with his plans, but he always knows something will! This means he doesn’t freak out as much as me when the inevitable happens.

2. Because it takes so long, keep your eye on the goal

When you start running into speed bumps, it’s easy to doubt what you’re doing and look for ways out. When we moved to Canada, and then to the US, my husband and I agreed to give the new place 2 years. It’s a good thing we did because, trust me, your first Toronto winter is enough to send you scurrying back to wherever you came from. As is the first apartment-hunting expedition in Manhattan (“you want how many bedrooms on your budget? Oh, how darling!”).

At that precise moment when fear takes hold and you are seized with a sudden urge to run for safety, that’s when you need to remind yourself of the goal. Why are you making this change in the first place? If that reason hasn’t disappeared, running for ‘safety’ won’t solve any of your problems.

Just do what Manhattan drivers do – close your eyes, hit the accelerator, and pull out. Nine times out of ten, it’ll work out OK.

3. At some point, someone will get snippy

As you run into difficulties, tensions mount and relationships can get frayed. When that happens, it’s important to step back and look at the bigger picture. Your spouse is yelling at you because things are scary? Remember how much you love him or her and try to look past the anger. People on the project are beginning to get short with one another? Step back and look at how far you’ve come together.

It’s so easy to let temporary irritation turn into a full-fledged relationship problem, but it’s also possible to stop the escalation before that happens. Have an honest conversation where everyone can air their feelings. If that doesn’t work, punch a pillow.

4. Perfect is good enough

Our web designer and I decided that our dads must have been related. Mine was a perfectionist. Whenever I would try to rush something, he would say ‘Don’t be shoddy. If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right.’ Matthew’s dad used to tell him ‘perfect is good enough.’

Our dads were right. If you’re going to make a huge change, you have to throw yourself into it wholeheartedly. It’s going to be painful, exhilarating, challenging and, did I mention, scary? So you might as well do the very best that you can.

5. If changing was easy, more people would do it

I love change. its a bit of a sickness actually. I have old school friends who never moved from the English village we were born in. I moved as soon as I could, and then again to leave England and then yet again to leave Canada. These days I find myself looking wistfully at real estate listings for old English farmhouses and wondering about moving again.

But most people resist change. That opens up a huge opportunity for those of us with the change bug – or even those who don’t like change but are willing to push through it anyway. Whether you’re a job seeker, a small business owner, or an employee looking to change things at your company, being willing to try something different gives you an advantage over other people.

Remember that when you’re punching that pillow!

I’m interested – what’s the scariest change you ever made? And what did you learn?

[Photo courtesy of Bark]

Read more about Career Change, Career Success.

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About the Author

Louise Fletcher

Louise co-founded Blue Sky in 2002 after a career as an HR executive. Her industry experience includes music, video games, fashion and advertising. She lived and worked in the US for many years, but moved back to her native UK in 2012, where she now lives in the Yorkshire countryside. In addition to her full-time role with Blue Sky, she's a professional artist, so you can imagine why she couldn't answer the 'what do you do with your free time' question! Contact Louise by email.

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10 comments on “How to Get Through a Big Change Without Having a Cow”

  1. Lance Haun says:

    I love the new design. It is ridiculously nice. Your designer really did a fantastic job and they need to make my site look this nice.

  2. Thanks Lance! Much appreciated 🙂

  3. Love the messages of this post, Louise. As I’ve moved through changes, some I’ve chosen and others I’ve been flung, kicking and screaming into, the one common theme I’ve discovered is, “Change is, ultimately good” – (make that, GREAT).

    Your iteration of the steps that major change involves – and the idea of keeping one’s eye on the goal is apropos. As well, Perfect Is Good Enough < love that! As I navigate the choppy waters of building my new website alongside my web designer, I realize that to do it right will take longer than I had envisioned.

    Your story and results inspire me to keep on perfecting and moving forward to achieve the 'right' outcome.

    Terrific new website, Louise! You must be quite exhilarated

    Jacqui

    1. Thanks Jacqui, I do think ‘it takes longer than you think’ is the truest thing ever said about making change. You start out imagining the most optimistic scenario possible but when reality kicks in, you can either lower your standards, or accept the slower time line.

      Keep bobbing along on those choppy waters and just hang on for dear life! You might get seasick, but eventually, you’ll reach land.

  4. Stephen says:

    Congratulations, Louise–I love it. Fine usability, in addition to the lovely look. When I first opened it today, I wondered if somehow my firewall had been blocking it previously!

  5. Matthew says:

    Congratulations Louise & Phil!

    You all have earned a great prize. Its been an amazing project for all of us. Now you truly own this incredible site and brand from the fine folks of Able, Cogent, Tiffani Jones, and Sean Gaffney — in addition to a little spoon full of sugar from Squared Eye.

    Well done everyone!

  6. JB King says:

    The scariest change I made would be when I moved to Seattle in 1998. This would be the first time I flew on a plane, my first move where I’d be doing my own laundry, have my own furniture that was more than a standard issue desk, chair and bed like in a dorm. It wasn’t structured like university where there was a semester as this was my jump into the working world, where what I knew of the place wasn’t really a whole lot. I had seen the job ad, talked to the CEO at his parents’ house near Christmas, spoke on the phone with the VP of Technology who would be my boss and got a package of papers so I could get my visa to work in the US. I hadn’t seen the office, physically met anyone else in the company, knew what I’d be doing or anything.

    I flew out with 4 suitcases and my dad helped me find a place and settle in before flying back east. What I learned was a lot of different things about surviving in the world, how generous some people can be at helping one settle and become more comfortable where they are, and that I’m touger than I think.

    Have you thought of moving into the western part of Canada or the US? Life over here isn’t so bad, ya know. I’m in Calgary now which has quite a different climate than Seattle, but sometimes change is good. I like to think perfect is just an illusion. It doesn’t really exist, even though some may think it does.

    1. JB, I think moving is always tough but moving between Canada and the US is definitely an interesting experience as I’m sure you know! Coming from the UK, I thought they were pretty much the same – tall buildings, people with funny accents, lots of coffee drinking – but I found out how wrong I was pretty quickly! I think if we ever went back to Canada, Vancouver would be our choice. But it’s even further away from our families than we are now, so it probably doesn’t make much sense.

      Thanks Matthew – we’re really pleased!

  7. Sandy says:

    Hi Louise,
    I love your new design. It looks very inviting.

    Your article about making a big change offers great advice. Thanks for sharing your insight. Especially having gone through a big change yourself, it helps others see that a change can bring great rewards!

    I teach online students and write for our blog at AOC, so I am constantly looking for encouraging articles that can inspire those looking to change their lives in a positive way.

  8. Mike says:

    I love your blog, and your writing. It seems that change is the only thing we actually depend on. And, how we respond to it is what either allows us deal with it, or pull our hair out resisiting it.

    Thanks,

    Mike –
    you can email me with your questions at mike@directyourcareer.com or
    visit http://www.directyourcareer.com

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