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Deb Neuman Deb Neuman
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Change is goodChange is scaryChange is good!

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Lately it seems that many of my friends and family members are going through changes, both personal and professional. I count myself among them. Making major changes in life is part of life, yet it can be very scary and unnerving. But change is necessary if we are to grow and reach our full potential. Making a change that you're afraid of is far better than never making a change and remaining in a situation that is no longer good for you that you've outgrown or that simply doesn't excite you anymore. Life is too short!

Recently I was in Bar Harbor and met a young woman who was there to visit Acadia. We struck up a conversation and I learned that this young woman was on a mission to visit and hike in every national park in America solo! Deciding she needed to make a change, she gave up her cubicle and her boyfriend and set out on her great adventure. She told me that she has been so moved and inspired by all the great people she has met and that this experience has changed her life for the better.

She's fortunate she's young and doesn't have responsibilities beyond herself. I commended her for her courage and following her gut. I plan to interview her to inspire other young people to consider a similar journey and to inspire the rest of us to not be afraid to make a change. I'm not suggesting that everyone leave everything behind to hike the U.S. but I am suggesting that we not fear change but rather embrace it.

If making a change scares you a little, that's good! It should. Change is scary. Change can be a bumpy ride. But change can lead to new experiences, new opportunities and personal growth. Think about how you were as a kid. You were in 'change mode' constantly, learning new things, new skills, new schools, sports, new classrooms, friends and more. We are in constant change mode when we're growing up. Sadly, when we get to be 'grown-ups' we are often afraid to make a change because we're more afraid of what we will lose rather than anticipating what we will gain. Granted, as grown-ups we have to be responsible, and we have others counting on us.

But you need to ask yourself, 'What is holding me back from making a change?' What am I afraid of? Lay it all out there and see if you can find solutions to those fears that will make you more comfortable making a change. For example, you may want to leave your day job to start a business. You fear losing your salary and benefits. You fear the business might fail. Lay those fears out there and work on options to help reduce those fears. Fear is good fear forces us to make smart changes. But too often we use fear as an excuse from making a change and going for it.

The young woman I met told me that society dictates that at her age she should be in a cubicle in Boston working on her career. She said there is time for that, and when she returns to the career track she will bring a new perspective and new experiences to her work that will serve her well for the rest of her life. Whether you want to take a year off and hike the country or change jobs, you can do it! The most important consideration is what's best for you and those who love you. Listen to your gut and don't be afraid of change. In the end you will find yourself on an exciting new path towards your best self!

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