Making major changes takes time, patience, and constant effort. How can you describe the feeling from a major win only to be challenged terribly by something else? How can you best prepare yourself for these unknown challenges? Like anything, use your tools to minimize risk!
So, I have (had) some Rowan stock. We had no intention of taking it out, but then decided “Let’s just close the account; one less thing to worry about.” This was NOT on my project board! What’s a project board?
When we first committed to giving this dream our very best, in March, I started a project board (call it Excel, or notes or a calendar reminder – whatever works best for you. I personally used an app called Trello.). For about three weeks I went to that app daily. Literally everything we touch in the course of a day is something that must be addressed in one way or another before departure. It may involve closing an account, doing a change of address, paying off a bill, scheduling that follow up dentist appointment, getting something repaired, finding a replacement for your volunteer position, etc. Take inventory of everything you have going on, all responsibilities, and start mapping how you can end those details. Some of it you won’t know, and that’s why we write it down. With going to that app daily for the first few weeks, you are not only adding to it but you are also reminding yourself of what needs to be done. As far as how your brain functions, you are basically preparing yourself for when a person/place/thing crosses your path unexpectedly that holds an answer you don’t currently have. What kinds of questions and answers?
So I call to close my stock account. I can do it, but there is a huge administration fee because I don’t have a W-9 on file. I’m no stock guru, this is my first stock account, and the W-9 was optional so I just ignored it a year ago. “How do I get a W-9 form? Do you need to give me any directions in filling it out? Is there information the form asks for that I don’t currently have? Where do I get that info? What is the best way to return the form? What is my time frame? What are the next steps?”
Think of every item on your project board. Almost every one of those needs to go through the same process. This is a minimalistic movement, right? As you can imagine, many things need to be combined or closed. One of the things I am MOST proud of are my shoes. Don’t laugh. I sold 5 pairs of boots (because I couldn’t make any of them work with all outfits) and purchased one pair that will work. I donated all heels and bought one comfortable pair in a neutral color to go with everything. Combining shoes to increase overall usefulness and application. Credit cards? Loans? Vehicles? Toys? Hobbies? Job tools? How can you combine or get rid of that stuff?
I have my W-9 road map now thanks to the guy on the phone. My W-9 is on file a few weeks later than expected because I didn’t allow enough time for this project. It wasn’t on the project board, remember? Due to lack of preparedness I ran into a snag when finalizing the stock sale. Our mail is already being forwarded, and we are leaving soon. Ideally, we could run up to our new mail place the next county over and pick it up before we leave Cagle if it processes in time with the stock holding company. Just pay the expedited fee. I go through the whole phone thing, have to confirm my sale with another lady, go back to the first lady and she mentions the word “FedEx”. WAIT! “You mean you aren’t expediting it via USPS? No one will physically be at the house – like, at all.” They won’t deliver to another random address either without some long process. So, I apologize for the confusion and ask her to go back to the pokey option. Not ideal, but it will work. Seriously, it’s my fault for not having this on the project board months ago.
How will I get my million dollar check if it doesn’t arrive on time (which, is quite likely)?? Well, the mail forwarding service holds our mail until we say “Please send all mail to ____ address.” We’ll have them send it to one one of the campgrounds later in the year, probably later in November when there is enough mail to justify a shipment.
Steps for recognizing and dealing with “unexpected W-9 issues” and allowing yourself to progress forward:
1. Project board – document day to day life
2. Project board – note details and unknowns specific to your dream
3. Project board – work at your listed tasks EVERY SINGLE DAY
4. Questions – play the 20 questions game with experts who have gone before you. People love helping people, and will love helping you too. Network through FB pages specific to your dream.
5. Let your family and friends support you. It’s so crazy how relationships will evolve and change – let them. It’s the most awesome, powerful part of the whole process.
EASY PEASY!!!!! Easy peasy WITH a project board! I swear, it is the greatest tool we have, and it’s free.
Okay, well… if you happen to have one, two at the most, small hiccups in your plan… no worries… hiccups are a solid guarantee and you will be somewhat to prepared due to the efforts already put forward. I promise my biggest struggle will not be the same as yours. I can also promise, we all have a greatest struggle that almost breaks us. That’s why it is so hard to do. That’s why it is so worth it.
Plan B or Pause?
Around June there was some talk regarding two different opportunities, one for Chris and one for myself, that would have kept us in Houston. We immediately ordered a husband and wife meeting to talk through all of it, as neither of us had an answer to the question: “What does a compromise look like?”
It’s a very difficult question to answer. For us, it was best answered by drilling it down more: “What are the greatest benefits we are trying to accomplish here?” After that, we were able to identify how a compromised situation was better than the present.
A few weeks passed by, only a few weeks, and before we knew it we had blown past those two opportunities and were 100% back on track with Plan A.
Even during the weeks to follow we would ask ourselves: “What if Plan A is paused? What does that look like?” Now it serves as peace of mind, because we know exactly what our first steps are if we need to make a change on the road.
I think once Plan A is even a little in motion, you are solid. All that is left to deal with are unexpected problems. Those, like anything, hit the pause button IF that’s ALL you allow it to do. Bad days are a guarantee.
Defining your purpose through a series of “Why?” questions is your second tool. Use your answers to look at how you can make current or new opportunities fit.
Heart and Priorities
Your last and most dependable tool! It should be in place before any project board is started.
So, in 2011 Chris Haines and I were very, very close to a divorce. We slowly started telling friends and family the news.
It takes a village, right? Ours was a village of family and friends, of course, but surprisingly the ones who helped us daily with the absolutely yucky stuff were distant friends and complete strangers. Why was that? Is it a necessary part of the healing process to have non-biased supporters? Probably??
In this order: We brought God into our home, we fixed our marriage, we worked on relationships with our children and parents. After some regression mixed with 100x more progression, we became a stable family for the first time ever.
Since then there have been changes equally as drastic as this new journey. Personal growth was encouraged and we fully supported each other every day. Communication, work skills, and the latitude to dream big are among some of the areas that changed in each of us.
Were we hours away from filing for a divorce as the first stepping stone to prepare us for this journey? I think so.
First thing is first: get your heart right with God, your spouse, and your family. With that kind of support you can do anything!