How Can I Tell If It’s Time to Make a Big Life Change?

I’m a business mindset coach, podcast host, and industry speaker. In 2015, I retired as a school psychologist to focus full time on my multiple 6-figure online businesses. Since then, I’ve worked with hundreds of online entrepreneurs in growing their business vision and game plan.   

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Hi, I'm Marion

Hello Hello!  And welcome to episode 15 of the Dare to Decide Podcast…I’m so happy you are here.  So we are heading into December in just a few days…which is one of my favorite times of year for many reasons, but the main reason is that it’s naturally a time when we start to evaluate our lives.

Asking ourselves “What am I even doing here?”

It’s a natural time to take a step back and look at the bigger picture of your life.  To create some distance between yourself, your ego and how you’re spending your time here on this planet.  That sounds so meta…but you know what I mean.  It’s a time for reflection.

Because all too often people just operate on autopilot.  They get up at the same time every day + eat the same breakfast + clock in at the same job + drive home at the same time + eat dinner and go to bed.  And then they do it again and again.  Like a groundhog day existence.

One month will go by.

Then 2.

Then a year. 

And before you know it…5 years have gone by and it’s the same story.  

I think if you were drawn to the title of this podcast episode, then maybe it’s because something inside of you knows that something is off.  Something is wrong.  


You might know what that “something” is…could be your work, your health, your relationship…

Or maybe you can’t really put your finger on it.  You can feel that you’re out of alignment somewhere, but it’s not super clear exactly what’s really wrong.

And gosh, I know how that feels because I’ve been there. 

I was working as a school psychologist in Las Vegas.  I had a long commute to and from work.  My son Cooper was a baby at the time…and I’d drop him off at daycare on the way to work and then pick him up on the way home.  I spent my entire day staring at a computer screen in a converted closet that they made into an office…so it had no windows and it was just, I mean, I’m not that picky with a lot of things and I didn’t go into public education because I thought I’d get a corner window office…but a closet is pretty tough to spend 8 hours in a day.

Anyway, the days slowly chipped away at my energy.  I went from being someone who naturally has a ton of positive energy and excitement for life and taking risks…to someone who literally sat in my parked car outside of work to wait until the absolute last minute to walk inside to begin the work day.  

And I still remember the day it hit me like an uppercut to the gut.  I had just picked Cooper up from daycare and we were driving home on the freeway.  I was just driving, looking up at all the billboards advertising lawyers (because in Las Vegas most of the billboards are for lawyers…it’s kinda weird).  Anyway, I was driving along and BOOM.  It was like someone had punched me in the stomach and I couldn’t breathe.  

And a series of really painful thoughts ran through my head.  I remember it so clearly…I thought to myself “What the hell are you doing with your life?  Is this what you want?  Are you going to clock in like this for the next year?  The next 5 years?  10 years?  What happened to you?  Is this the life you dreamt of since you were a little girl?  Is this all there is?”

And I cried.  And I’m not typically one that cries.  But I did that day.  If you can relate to ever having similar thoughts to what I just shared…then you know that it’s a painful thing to realize that you’ve allowed your life to turn into something that isn’t even you anymore.  Almost as if your life is not your own.

That day was a PIVOT point for me.  

I made the decision on that freeway that day that I would not settle.  I had no freakin’ clue what I was going to do, but I knew the option to stay where I was was not really an option at all.  

And I share this story because I would guess that YOU can relate on some level at least one time in your own life.

What I had that day is what we call in the psychology world a “lighting bolt moment”…which is this single moment of clarity that strikes you like lightning.  It’s like all of a sudden the clouds part and you see things with crystal clear vision and you know exactly what needs to happen next.  You can’t ignore a lightning bolt moment when it happens to you…and it’s actually a very empowering experience if you’ve felt one before.  

But most of the time, our body and our subconscious mind is speaking to us in whispers trying to tell us that something is off.  So physical symptoms like headaches, back aches, anxiety…these are all very often physical manifestations of unhappiness or misalignment somewhere in our lives.  We may not know exactly WHERE, but something is off and our body and subconscious know it.   We all too often just pop the Advil or pour a glass of wine to mask it and move on.  

But the thing is, if you feel that something’s wrong, or that your life is slowly filling with unexplained anger, exhaustion or hopelessness…then know this…those rising feelings will eventually drown you if you keep ignoring them. 

So this is the perfect time of year to stop. Take a deep breath (like take one right now as you’re listening.  Just breathe in very deep, bringing the air all the way into your belly and then just release it completely).  

And let’s take a step back right now and over the course of this coming month.  Let’s look at where you are in life and where you’re headed.  Because you’re never ever stuck unless you choose to be.  If you realize that the train you’re on is headed to a destination that you do not want to go to…then now is the perfect time to ask yourself “Where do I want to go instead?”

So I want to share 6 very simple and very powerful points to consider when thinking about making a big life change. And I didn’t make these points up…I got them from Adam Markel who wrote a great book called “Pivot: The Art and Science of Reinventing Your Career and Life”.   But I’ll link to it in the show notes for those of you who want to dive in deeper.

But he talks about these 6, He calls them PIVOT POINTS.  

And whenever I hear the word PIvot, I think of that episode of Friends, the one where Ross and Rachael are carrying the couch up the stairs and he’s shouting Pivot Pivot!   

But I digress.  These 6 pivot points are pivotal (see what I did there). They are important to really absorb right now…maybe over the course of this next month over the holiday season, write these down and consider each of them as you consider what shifts you might want to make.

Alright, let’s dive in.

#1:  “You don’t have to be special to pivot.  You BECOME special when you decide to…

So it’s a big myth that changing the course of your life is for other people.  There are people out there that have less time than you, less money…they aren’t as ridiculously good looking as you are.  They don’t have the educational background and training you do.  But guess what?  They made the decision to reinvent themselves.

Were they scared?  Sure!  Anytime you’re making a big change it’s going to be scary.  So being scared or nervous is actually a good sign…it means that you’re taking a risk and doing something outside of your comfort zone.  And that’s the good stuff…that’s where life goes from black and white to full on color.

So please let go of the idea that living the life you want is for someone else.  Someone richer, smarter, more talented or luckier.  It’s BS.  

Pivoting is a choice. It’s a decision.  That’s it.

#2: The real risk of change isn’t that you might try and fail.  It’s that you might NOT try and you’ll regret it.

So we can’t have this whole conversation go by and not talk about the elephant in the room…and that elephant’s name is regret.  

I told the story in episode 5 about how I overheard a conversation among a group of women in their 60’s one day, and this was right after I had ended my marriage.  I listened as one of the women talked about how her husband had just filed for divorce and she didn’t know what she was going to do.  She then shared how she wished she could have gone back in time to the very beginning of their marriage and left him the very first time he cheated on her.  How she knew then that he wasn’t “the one” but that she was afraid of what would happen to her if she left him.  

Basically, it was a story about regret.  It was a story of her living the past 35 years from a position of fear…versus personal power.  

There is nothing more painful than regret.  

But the good news is that this is your life we are talking about.  But that’s the best part…it’s YOUR life.  You get to change it.   

#3: Pivoting is NOT an extreme sport.  It’s a step-by-step, realistic way to change your life.

Soo…there are a lot of personal development gurus out there that say you need to take Massive action in order to change.  Or in order to really make a total life shift, you need to burn the boats.  Right?  Like – ditch your plan B and put yourself in a corner so you have no other option but to succeed.

And yeah, that type of rhetoric is persuasive.  But it doesn’t need to be that way.  Or at least, I don’t think it needs to be that way.

Going back to my lightning bolt moment on the freeway that day when I realized I needed to leave the practice of school psychology…I didn’t show up to the office the next day and quit.  

I had a baby, a mortgage, bills to pay…to just say “the hell with it all” and burn the boats so to speak and quit would have been extremely reckless and short sighted.

So instead, I began to explore my options.  I do not think it was by coincidence that I discovered coaching soon after that day…and I dove in with my full ass (because remember…we don’t do things half ass around here).  I sacrificed sleep, weekends, you name it…but I grew that side hustle to the point of replacing my full -time income…and it was at that point I was able to tell my supervisor that I wouldn’t be renewing my contract in the fall.  

And it was one of the best days of my life.  It wasn’t easy but nothing worth accomplishing ever is.   And it’s always worth it. 

#4: Tolerating unnecessary misery is lame.  

Well, so in the book, Adam Markel doesn’t say the word lame.  That’s my word.  He said putting up with unnecessary misery is unreasonable…but the word lame also fits. 

So it’s a fact – most people are not content in their lives.  They stay stuck in marriages that are unhealthy.  They stay stuck in jobs that suck the life out of them.  They stay complacent with their health and carry around an extra 20-30 lbs and zero confidence.  

If the people are you…the people you spend the most amount of time with…if they are unhappy with their lives, you may feel that your desire to change your life is somehow frivolous or even unethical or selfish.   That’s too much to ask.  And that you should just be grateful.  That it’s wrong. 

But what I think is wrong is choosing to slowly die from the inside out.  Choosing to waste the life you’ve been given by being unhappy.  

So one thing I want to say here is that if you are unhappy, you’re not alone.  We ALL go through seasons of unhappiness in our lives.  Again, it’s a sign from the universe that something is out of alignment.  Something needs to change.  And we can choose to tolerate it and stay the same…or we can chose to take a step back and pivot.

#5: The past is never wasted.  Pivoting is about making sure you don’t waste your future.

Ugh, this one smacked me hard across the face 8 ½ years ago.  When I realized that I no longer wanted to be practicing as a school psychologist, the very 1st thought I had was “Everything I had done the past 7 years would be a waste.”   

I mean, I had huge student loans from graduate school I was still paying on…and now I was making the decision to quit?  What is wrong with me?

But the thing I didn’t realize then, that I know today, is that everything I learned in my 4 years of graduate school and in my practice was leading me to this point.  The skills, knowledge and experiences I accumulated don’t disappear because I shift my career.

So in your case, realize that your past is never wasted.  

In fact, your past is a clue to where you should be!  All of the experiences and incidentes in your life so far are clues to what you are truly committed to.

#6: Waiting to change is the same as not changing at all.

Oh gosh…this is something every human being on the planet has fallen for at one time or another.  

If you’ve ever said things like:
“Once it slows down at work, I’ll have some time to start painting”

Or

“I’ll start working out in January.”

Or

“Once the kids leave home, I’ll start a business”

Those of type of thoughts are all what we call “SOMEDAY THOUGHTS”

Someday I’ll write a book

Someday I’ll run a marathon

Someday I’ll go to London

And what do we know about Someday Thoughts – they usually never happen.

It’s a universal law that the longer we wait to do something, the more likely it is that it won’t happen.  The longer you wait to leave a job you dislike or an unhealthy relationship…the more likely it is that you’ll stay.  This is why I tell clients who really struggle to get their workout done, to do it VERY 1st thing in the morning.  Because the more time in the day that passes, the more likely it just won’t get done.

And so we need to think of waiting as the arch enemy of pivoting. Waiting is like the Joker and Pivoting is Batman.  We want to hang out with Batman.

And on that note, that sums up the 6 pivot points to really soak in right now in your life.  

And on a personal note, I’m very fired up about this whole concept because I’m making my own pivot right now in my business.  Over the past 8 years I’ve been coaching in the fitness and nutrition field.  I’ve always had psychology and mindset at the forefront of my business…but I’m ready to make a shift and make that the sole focus of what I do and how I work with women.  

I’m sharing details of this new pivot and what lies ahead in my email newsletter that will go out on Sunday…so if you aren’t on the list and you want to get plugged in to what I’m building right now, I’ll drop the link to join my email list in the show notes.  

As a final thought, I just want to leave you with the reminder that you are under no obligation to be the same person you were 5 years ago.

5 years ago I absolutely hated eggs.

Today, I have 2 eggs for breakfast every day and it’s my favorite meal

10 years ago I lived in high heels.  I mean, I maybe had 2 other pairs of shoes in my closet…the rest were all high heels.

Today, I haven’t worn high heels in maybe 2 years.

So what you like and what you do may change…but your spirit, your morals, the essence of who you are doesn’t change.  

Have you ever seen that movie “You, Me and Dupree”  where Owen Wilson talks about your “ness.”  which is your name with ness on the end..    So my Marionness hasn’t ever changed.  I’ve had the same Marionness since I was in diapers.  Your Sarahness or Elizabethness will never change.  But how you spend your day and your life can and should absolutely change and grow with you.

Ok you guys.  I hope this episode spoke to those of you who just needed to hear the words.  I appreciate you being here…and I’ll see you next time.

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