If you’re considering re-inventing your life, and moving to a new location, there are several steps to take that will assure success.
Keep in mind, I did this 25 years ago, before the Internet, before FaceBook, Linked In and before “networking” was a verb.
Fast forward 25 years and some concepts remain the same, yet technology makes it vastly easier and more fun!
Trial Visit –Pre-Re-Invention
In both 1991 and 2016, I had trial visits to my new communities. I highly recommend going to your prospective new location to see if you can really live there. Sometimes a great vacation place is just that… a great vacation place. Living there on a day to day basis is totally different. Plan to spend 10-21 days in your new location. You can rent a nice place via VRBO or AirBnB now. I found a wonderful tiny cottage 2 blocks from the ocean in La Jolla that had a kitchen, bedroom, bath and living room, plus designated parking and laundry facilities.
Prepare for your trial visit by letting people know that you’re thinking of moving there. I let key clients and close friends know that I was thinking about making a change. I told people who I know are supportive of me and my work. I asked them if they knew people in my new location and if they would be willing to make a virtual introduction. Since I have my own business, my intention was to meet people “who could help me make friends or help me make money.” So I asked my colleagues for email introductions to potential business connections or people who could help me acclimate to my new community.
People are very generous! One client connected me with about 8 business referrals and 1 personal referral. A friend in Cleveland, OH connected me with 3 people in the San Diego area that he knew through a personal development/transformational leadership program. Another colleague introduced me to his uncle who is a realtor, who helped me find an apartment. Prior to my visit, I shared what I wanted and he had lined up several places for me to see online to narrow down my choices when I arrived.
I also connected with friends and former clients in my new community through FaceBook and Linked In. I hadn’t actually seen any of them, face to face, in 8 -15 years! That’s the beauty of social media – you can catch up, converse and connect after many years, careers and life experiences, like almost no time has passed!
Schedule Activities and Navigating Your Way
I emailed all of my new connections prior to my pre-trial visit. We exchanged contact information and found a time to meet, if our schedules permitted. Be sure to enter their names and contact information in your phone as well as on the calendar for the day you’re meeting them.
I like to have something planned or scheduled each day, whether it’s meeting someone or taking a little driving trip to explore. I think one of harder things to do when being a solo traveler/explorer, is to get from point A to point B.
Don’t be surprised if on your first full day you’re thinking “What am I doing???” That’s when I get in the car and drive around for 1 -2 hours, just to get a lay of the land. Pick a time when there won’t be a lot of traffic so you won’t feel pressured.
It’s important to be relatively independent. Driving around your new location will build your confidence. Let your contacts know where you’re staying and ask to meet at a convenient location. While GPS is essential, one of my new contacts stopped at a AAA office and gave me 6 different maps of the area so I could have a bigger picture view than GPS. That was extremely helpful. So studying maps may give you more confidence too.
Be a Good Guest
As with any new connection, being a good guest is important. That means letting them know how appreciative you are that they took the time to meet with you and sending an email to thank them afterwards. Ask questions about the area and what they like best. Ask for advice on getting acclimated. Again, people are generous and want to help. You just need to be ready to ask for help and know what you need help with! Are you looking for restaurant recommendations? Hiking trails? A good gym? Dry cleaners or hair care providers?
Take Time For You
All of this can be a little daunting, even if it is exciting and fun. Be sure to take time for yourself to rest, reflect and relax. Maybe write about your experiences in a journal. Call your family or friends so you feel connected to the familiar. Post some of your experiences on FaceBook. I have found over the years that people enjoy seeing and following the adventures on FaceBook. It’s another way to get feedback, support and feel connected – just when you think you’re all alone. Here are a couple really informal videos I posted on Facebook while I was away.
For more information on being a Type T leader, watch this 1 minute video.
Or order the book on How to Be a Transformational Leader in a Bottom-Line World.