Let's face it: sometimes our best plans and intentions don't work and we find ourselves back at square one. It is during these time that we feel like a failure and we want to give up. I remember starting my coaching business over 10 years ago and struggling with identifying my target market and marketing my services. I had a fancy website and no customers coming through the door, and my cash register was not ringing at all. I felt like a failure and that my "dream job" had steered me in the wrong direction. I decided that quitting wasn't my answer, but instead I needed to start over.
"But where do I start?" I asked myself over and over again. We've all had to start over in some area of our lives like our career, marriage, business, education, diet, etc. It is so easy to revel in the disbelief of the disappointment that we forget the power of pursuing what is next on the horizon if we keep moving.
Here are my seven reminders on How to Start Over Without Regret:
1. Leverage your failures.
Instead of quitting when things don't work out, leverage the learning from your failures. Ask yourself, "What is working or what did work in my situation or circumstance?" Write down even the small things that are your successes.
When things don't go as planned, we often have the all-or-nothing attitude but instead, I want you to do more of what IS working. In my case, I was great at networking, but I was networking in the wrong locations with younger entrepreneurs and not attracting my ideal clients. What was working for me was networking, but I needed to change venues to network with professional women who could afford my services instead of marketing to women who were in startup businesses.
2. Dump your junk.
Don't bring your old attitude and expect to create new outcomes. It's tough not to fault the things, people and reactions that have hurt you or caused you to start over, but if your goal is to start fresh, you can't do that reading yesterday's news. Dump your junk and move on and decide that it doesn't matter why it didn't work; it only matters that you have decided you deserve more in this new season of your life. Decide to give your new season a fresh start without baggage. (This one takes practice.)
3. Don't announce that you are starting over. Just do it.
You don't need to validate your choices to make a change in your life. Just do it. Nike said it best. Move on and everyone around you will soon see the change in your life. Your next steps aren't about anyone but you being comfortable with your new choices and this new season. No public polls necessary. When we are insecure about our future we often consult others so that we feel better or to prepare them for our shift. This isn't required or necessary.
4. Recycle what worked.
Don't discard everything that represents the failed marriage, job/career, etc. Instead, recycle the gifts that these experiences taught you. Even bad experiences start off good. So ask yourself, "What did I love about this experience and what would I never do again?" Use this restart opportunity as motivation to begin again wiser and stronger, and use your bag of tools called "learning lessons" as a result of your experience.
5. Prepare for your weak times.
Plan in advance for those times when you will feel like going back to what did not work for you and create a solution in advance. It might mean that you delete phone numbers to prevent yourself from calling people in your weakest moments. It might mean not buying sweets for the house if you know that stress will make you eat more than your share. Whatever you do, plan for your weakest moments in advance. We all have moments where we vacillate between what is best for us and what is easy for us to have now. Challenge your "now" and replace it with what you want to see in your life long term.
6. Celebrate your baby steps.
Remember to acknowledge all progress toward your new goal. Sometimes, we set milestones that are too far away instead of understanding that the long run is just a bunch of short runs, and that we can and should celebrate along the way. If you sell that business at a loss, celebrate that you are no longer attached to it. If you end a toxic friendship that lacked trust, rejoice that you now have room to create authentic new relationships.
7. Take a new route.
The unknown is scary, but it is also equally scary to do what you know and continue down a dismal path. Give yourself permission to play bigger although you are starting over. So often when we start over we become timid and afraid to swing for the fences because we are so busy recovering from an intimate dance with failure. Understand that success is built on mistakes and lessons learned. You can still have what you want even if you didn't get what you wanted in the past.
8. Keep moving.
Standing still is the recipe for disaster. I want you to move and try something different to change your view. As you move toward your new vision for your life, you will meet new people, opportunities and experiences waiting for you to play full out. I'm writing this column on The Huffington Post because I attended an event and had the privilege to introduce myself to Arianna Huffington and share my work with her, and as a result, learned about this opportunity. What if I decided to stay home that day and not attend that networking event? You wouldn't be reading this post.
9. Learn from your haters.
Yes them. What others think of you really isn't your business so stop replaying that track. The people who study, watch and obsess over you know how powerful you are and that is why they are threatened by you. Instead of asking yourself, "Why do they hate on me?" Ask yourself, "What do they see in me?" It is the answer to this questions that will allow you to elevate this energy and understand that your haters are there to teach you a very important lesson. They see your talent, brilliance and potential sometimes more than you do.
Starting over is inevitable. Share with me how you are planning your new start.