When it’s not all about you….

Part of the ecology of your goals is the people around you and this is something you need to think about very carefully when you’re planning.
Who are the important people in the situation and how will what you do affect them?

If you’re single and have no dependants, giving up your job to start your own business will only have consequences for you whereas, if you have a family to provide for, you’ll have to take their needs into account.

There’ll be the financial consequences to consider, of course, but will it also impact on your ability to, say, help your kids with their homework, ferry them to activities or simply spend time with them?

What about how you currently allocate your time? How will that have to change?

What support do you need to put in place to help things go as smoothly as possible?

And this is not only a practical point but a psychological one as well. If your family is used to having you fulfil certain functions in their lives, how will they react when this changes? If you were the one who cleaned up after them, how will they deal with doing it for themselves? Will you and they be able to accept lower standards - at least until they’ve mastered the skills needed? The upside of course will be their increased independence – is that something you’ll see as a positive?

Will your partner understand and support you? Will your success damage their estimation of themselves or will it increase their pride in your achievements?

Whatever reactions you get from everyone, you need to know how to deal with them and how you’ll get everyone onside.

This must be the time for getting everyone together, discussing all the pros and cons and negotiating as fair a distribution of tasks and rewards as possible. Not something you should do when you’re all tired and/or hungry!

Try to set aside a couple of hours when you can all be undisturbed and have an agenda that you can work through calmly.

Beyond the immediate family, who else will be affected by the changes you’re going to make? If you’re going to launch yourself on a new and better life, will this win the support of your friends or might they be envious of your success? And, if the worst happens, how will you deal with the loss of that friend?

It’s important to remember that the people closest to you have their own picture of who and how you are and how they relate to that. They believe, rightly or wrongly, that they know your capabilities and may have a vested interest in keeping the status quo. Keep in mind that when they seem to have reservations about your ability to do something, it’s often a reflection of their doubts about themselves and their own capabilities.

This may seem a touch pessimistic and I hope you won’t get that kind of reaction but, if it does come and you’re prepared to deal with it, it’ll lessen the pain and, if that person is important to you, you’ll be better equipped to help them come to terms with the new you.

To finish on a more positive note, seeing you take on challenges and succeed (whether it’s as you originally defined success or whether you’ve made necessary adjustments) will have a very liberating effect on those around you.

You’ll be a great role model, especially for your kids; you’ll demonstrate in the most compelling way that things can and do get better when you tackle what’s wrong in the right way.

And it’s more or less a given that when you’re happy, it rubs off onto other people. Spread a little joy and watch how everyone benefits!

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