There are plans… and then there’s that thing called life.

When life happens and you’re dealt low blows, setups and setbacks, it’s easy to find yourself struggling with the idea of “what happened?”

What happens when life shows up as the uninvited plus one to your party? Or you realize what was working for you before is no longer working now – and it’s time to make a change?

Whether you find yourself having to re-enter the workforce or completely change your career path altogether, how do you find the courage to flip the script and switch lanes? When driving on the highway of life, depending on your destination and the time you need to arrive, there is a possibility that you’ll have to switch lanes.

For a newer driver, this can be nerve wrecking. But a more experienced driver realizes that lane switching is a rite of passage, and necessary to reach your ultimate destination.

Switching lanes requires you to take a quick look into your rearview mirror – into your past – but the glance should be so quick that you can still move forward without incident.

Looking back is only a point of reference to prepare you to switch lanes; confirming that it’s either safe to continue moving at your rate of speed or cautioning you to slow down so you can make the transition smoothly.

Switching lanes in your professional life is comparable to driving on the highway. There will be speed bumps, reroutes, and specific directions you must follow.

1. Get Out From Behind The Truck

You’ve picked one lane and you are sticking with it. It’s been a while since you’ve made any moves, and you’ve watched other vehicles speed by you with ease. Your view is obstructed and you can’t see that your current lane will not move for a while. In fact, further up the road it is merging into another lane.

It’s best that you consider switching lanes now, rather than delaying the inevitable.

Don’t stay committed to something that used to work, but no longer does. Know when it is time to pull the plug.

2. Embrace Driver’s Ed

You’ve become comfortable with riding on the highway at your current speed, so it is understandable that you are hesitant to switch. While it is natural to be nervous because it takes time to build confidence, you shouldn’t be intimidated.

You might not have examples of people in your personal circle who have done what you are afraid to do. But if you take a look in the express lane perhaps you will find mentors who once drove in the slow lane.

Remember, it is okay to be the new kid on the block or the small fish in the big pond. Learning new things should be embraced not embarrassing.

3. Don’t Get Stuck in a Traffic Jam

Don’t focus on how much time it will take to accomplish your new goal. Don’t become discouraged about your age when entering into a new field or focus on the money.

Sometimes you have to go low to end up higher, i.e. think entry-level positions. Your focus should be on the freedom of going after your dreams and finally doing what you want to do.

4. Utilize Your Turn Signal

When activating your turn signal, it is a courtesy to alert other drivers that you are coming over into their lane. You are not asking their permission; you’re giving them fair notice to watch out, yield, and adjust their speed. The same applies when you are ready to switch lanes in your professional life.

Don’t stay in a box that others created for you.

Are you afraid to try that ‘thing’ you are interested in because your friends can’t picture you doing ‘that’?

Be cautious when sharing your vision with others because not everyone will be able to handle seeing you differently. Or watching you succeed.

5. Insurance Doesn’t Prevent An Accident

Many people don’t have an issue with trying, but they don’t calculate the risk of failing.

If you think that every shot you take is going to be a bulls-eye, you are sadly mistaken. There will be things that you will try and succeed in, and others in which you try and fail.

If you are only willing to take calculated risks, are you really taking a risk at all?

You aren’t giving yourself a fair shot to succeed if you will not go after those things that scare, intimidate you, and pull you outside of your comfort zone?

6. The Right Of Way

You have the right to redefine yourself. Trying a different career path is not a threat to your moral compass or a strike against your ability to make sound judgment calls. It speaks volumes of a resilient woman who isn’t worried about going with the flow, but is still responsible for creating her own stream of income and net worth.

And if that means she has to jump the ‘comfortable’ ship to swim toward her own inflatable raft to conquer the rough seas without a paddle – then so be it.

Switching lanes is not an admission of failure; it simply means that like with time, things change. Perhaps the career you had was lucrative and now it is lukewarm. Be willing to adjust and embrace the changing times.

It is okay to reach a destination and then decide that you would like to take another journey, even if it takes you in a completely different direction. There is more than one way to get ‘there’. However, it is up to you to take every lane available until you arrive.

It’s time to take a chance on yourself. Don’t be afraid to switch lanes…I dare you! Just Saying!

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