It’s October 1, 2017 and I’m visiting Eugene, Oregon to see if I want to live there.  After four days I am sold.  Before I fly back to Atlanta to prepare for yet another cross-country move, I decide to play “One Year to Live.”

Sometimes LinkedIn posts seem to belong on Facebook instead.  This article really does have a link to professional life.  Read on if you will.

Time jump back to May 15, 2015.  I’m ten years into running my own management training and coaching business.  I’m booked solid.  I own a townhouse near the beach.  I’ve lived in this town for almost 30 years.  On paper this is a spectacular life.  But this day I acknowledge that it’s killing me.  I need a change and now I’m just done.  I realize if I don’t make a big change soon I will either stroke out in the middle of leading a workshop, or I’ll wait too long and get crusty and afraid. I decide to move.

I choose Atlanta, land of business opportunity! family! cheap real estate!  My friends say don’t do it, you’ll regret it, there will be culture shock, you won’t be able to come back to California…but I do it anyway.

I survive Atlanta for two years and in many ways my friends were right.  It was hard.  I didn’t fit in the culture.  It was expensive.  I’m now priced out of California.  My business stalled out.  But the truth is, making that big change was the best thing I could have done for myself.

Time jump to August 2017. I finally acknowledge Atlanta is not for me even though my daughter is there.  I can’t make meaningful connections.  I hate the weather and the traffic.  I have no clients.  Nothing is working.  I know I need to move again but where?  I’ve invested so much in this transition it feels important to do the next one “right.” Enter Google. I ask “Where the hell should I live?”

Search results produce a quiz, the quiz produces a town:  Eugene, Oregon.  My reaction is “What the…?!”  But I know two people there.  I launch my investigation and include Colorado for yucks.  But…

In my business and my life, I now see that making decisions based on logic and research does not always serve – I have done the field study and see that too much brain and too little heart lead to questionable outcomes.  And I have a really good friend who called BS on my checklist, especially the data I was gathering on Colorado.

I visit Eugene first and that’s all she wrote.  I fall in love with it.  I move. Best decision I ever made.  No checklist.

Change is hard and can be scary and many people won’t do it.  People stay with jobs they hate, work for a boss they hate, live in a house they don’t like, stay in a town they’ve outgrown and they say, “I can’t _________(quit, move, go back to school).”  They say, “What if I change and I don’t like it?  What if it’s a mistake?”  Well, yeah, what if?  And what if the first part sucks but then it’s the best thing ever?  What if you learn something?  What if something unexpectedly wonderful happens?  What if it keeps you from crusting over? Or stroking out?

What if you wish you had tried it but now it’s too late?

In my “One Year to Live” game, I now have six weeks to live.   The game has made me question why I get upset about things.  It has made me be brave and willing to keep looking for a life I feel good about, not one I’m just surviving.  It has made me lead with my heart more than my head.  It’s put a lot of things into perspective. My life is working beautifully.

If you’re wildly happy where you are, go you and thanks for reading.  If you’re not …