Practice what you preach. Walk the walk so that you can talk the talk. These are all important values to me, which I began consciously honoring ever since I became a coach. I am no stranger to big change and going through major transitions in life. One of the biggest changes in my life came in the summer of 2009 when I transitioned from a Global Marketing Communications Manager to a Life Coach. The two careers could not be more different and it was a big, hairy, scary change to make, which I do not regret for one moment. Pursuing my life’s passion has allowed me to really understand what it takes to make big changes in life and therefore help my clients gain the courage to do the same.
Now I’ve come to another BIG CHANGE in my life! I am choosing to move to Denver, Colorado. Why? It’s simple. I don’t want to be 80 and wish I would have moved to the mountains. (Besides, when I’m 80, I probably couldn’t hike them anyway.)
This quest really gained momentum last October of 2011 when I found a renter for my townhouse in Libertyville and began packing to move in with my sister. With my property rented and my things in boxes I thought, other than family, I really have nothing tying me here. My business is portable and I have always wanted to live near the mountains so, I started to do some investigating. I knew that the desert mountains weren’t for me. I needed greenery and lakes with my mountains as well as a fairly big city nearby. California wasn’t right for me. One big earthquake and that state would be gone! So, I began focusing on the Reno/Lake Tahoe area. I had been there twice before on business and just loved the scenery. After researching the area and speaking to someone who lived there, I found out that their economy wasn’t so good; much worse than Chicago. So, I turned my attention to Salt Lake City. (HGTV was giving away a home out there so, Salt Lake City was on my mind.) However, before I could research the area, I was getting a consistent response from the people around me who all said the same thing, “The area is gorgeous! You’ll love it, however if you are not Mormon…” I was given several personal examples about Mormons and how they make a point to do business with other Mormons. I have nothing against them however, knowing that the economy was already a challenge, I did not see the point of adding another potential challenge to my plate. So, Salt Lake City was crossed off the list and Denver was now on my radar!
I had been to Denver twice before for business trips many years ago but never thought about living there. So, where do I start? I belong to the International Coach Federation and decided to contact the local Denver chapter and ended-up speaking with the President of that chapter. They provided positive answers to some basic questions, which made Denver begin to look more and more like my landing pad. Then it was off to do some research, which revealed that their economy was a bit better than Chicago’s. In addition, the mile-high city enjoys 300+ days of sunshine each year! Much better than the gray days Chicago winters offer! (After the Chicago winter of 2010 where we had nearly 60 days of consecutive cloud cover, the sunshine of Denver was definitely a plus!) Denver is also a very healthy/active city. Obesity rates are lower and people are always outside for various physical activities. Well, who wouldn’t be with great weather most of the time?
So, while I sat in my sister’s home, I planned and plotted with excitement about my new life in the mountains. I felt it was important to plan a trip out there to make sure this was the right place for me. I had no problems making plans, imagining myself there, imagining how I was going to work everything out in terms of where I was going to live and how I would continue to build my business out there. I had no problems imagining all of this from my cozy comfort zone in Chicago. I was confident in all of my plans. Then came my trip.
Deciding to Move
My expectations as the plane landed in Denver was that I was going to have a EUREKA moment that allowed me to proclaim confidently that Denver was now home! Instead, I felt doubt and fear sinking in further and further. (Hmmm…where did that comfort zone go?) As my friend and I drove from the airport to downtown Denver, the route was very barren and/or industrial looking. I thought, “This was not what I was expecting.” The gorgeous mountains were there in the distance but the initial experience was disappointing to say the least.
We hung out downtown that night doing some ‘people watching’ and reading a ton of brochures. The next day, we headed out toward some ice rinks to see if I could meet the managers and potentially teach ice skating so that I would have a little bit of guaranteed income when I hit the ground in Denver. Once again, our route took us through the more run-down parts of town. This wasn’t what I imagined at all. Now, doubt and fear were creeping-in even further. In fact, fear was taking over. I was feeding into my own self doubt and the voices of the non-supportive people around me who didn’t see this as their idea of success for me. “They’re right! I shouldn’t move. What was I thinking? This is crazy! I don’t know anyone in Denver. I don’t even know the area.” My comfort zone was literally a thousand miles away in Chicago. I didn’t like this scary feeling. I wanted to retreat back to my comfort zone but I had to continue to move forward. Surely I would eventually see what I imagined in my head, right?
The next day, we headed out toward Red Rocks Amphitheatre. I had seen a picture of it in a brochure and was curious to see what it looked like in person. On our way there, the route was again somewhat barren however the neighborhoods were looking a bit better. The amphitheatre is located in Morrison and we had to drive through the little town, which was cute. “OK,” I thought, “This is starting to look a little bit better.” As we continued to follow the signs, we rounded a turn and there, right in front of us were these gorgeous gigantic rocks jutting out of the hillside. We still had not made it to the amphitheatre yet, but it was enough for me to say to myself, “Now THAT’S what I’m talking about!” We were still outside of the amphitheatre where there were hiking trails and a winding road that would eventually take us to the theatre. As we continued driving the long and winding road through canyon-like red rocks, we found a parking area close to the entrance to the amphitheatre. As we headed up the long, steep path winding next to the sky-scraper sized rocks the view opened and there we were…right next to the stage looking up at the deep blue sky contrasting against the vibrant red rocks on either side of the theatre seating. As we were looking around, we noticed how many people were there for a workout. There were people running up and down the stairs. There was even a guy who was doing down-hill push-ups! OK, now we had to pick-up our lazy butts and head up to the top. My fat body had no excuse for staying at the bottom! From the top, we could see downtown Denver in the distance. It was a really beautiful view. The Red Rocks Amphitheatre began to restore my confidence in my choice of moving to Denver however I was still on the fence about my decision. We had some more exploring to do so, now it was on to Boulder and Fort Collins.
Both towns were really nice. Boulder backs right up to the mountains so if I chose to live there, I could be in the mountains within minutes. It is also a college town and a very new age/hippie sort of place. It seemed that just about anything goes in this mountain town. Fort Collins was similar to Boulder but didn’t seem as edgy. Another college town, Ft. Collins is much further North and had a nice downtown area. Again, my confidence in choosing the Denver area was being restored but this still was not how I imagined my mountain living to be. From Fort Collins, my friend and I chose to drive the scenic route back to Denver through the outskirts of the Rocky Mountains. We were headed for Estes Park. We were on a winding road next to a river with rocky mountain walls on either side of us. THIS WAS WHAT I IMAGINED! As we continued on our journey, we were both quiet. I was gazing out the window thinking about the gorgeous scenery and noticing the small herd of rams on the mountainside. That’s definitely not something you’d see in Chicago! My friend was quiet because she was driving a winding road in unfamiliar territory however she was having loads of fun driving it! As we arrived in Estes Park, I couldn’t help but equate it to the Wisconsin Dells back in the 70’s/80’s before it was over-commercialized. It was touristy but still a nice little town nestled in the mountains. Our scenic mountain journey continued through various mountain towns until we exited into Boulder and hit the highway back to our hotel in downtown Denver. This journey though the mountains really began to support my choice to move to the area but I wasn’t completely ‘sold’ on the idea yet. Our final day in Denver allowed us some time to explore the far western suburbs of Denver before we had to turn around and head to the airport. We were almost in Evergreen when we turned around. This area was beautiful. Very hilly and nice neighborhoods. Although I wasn’t able to explore every nook and cranny of the Denver area, Evergreen was really close to what I was looking for. As we boarded the plane back to Chicago, I was still sitting in uncertainty. (Mainly because I was still a thousand miles away from my comfort zone.) The realization of my decision was setting in and making the choice to move to Denver meant that I was going to take a giant leap outside of my comfort zone, but I knew deep down inside that it was what I had to do. This is the next chapter in my life. This is going to make me grow by leaps and bounds. I literally feel as if I am jumping into the deep end of a swimming pool like a little kid (for the first time), and not knowing what the feeling is going to be like; whether or not I’ll hit the bottom; whether or not I will sink or swim; expecting an exhilarating experience but worried that I won’t come up for air.
Just like that kid at the end of the diving board, I am choosing to jump in! My plan is to move to Denver in July. At this point, I am taking a big leap of faith in expecting everything to work out. As of right now, I don’t have a place to live and no one knows me or LifeQuest Alliance. There is no guaranteed income when I get there so I am literally standing at the end of the diving board unaware of what I am jumping into. Some think I am irresponsible and crazy. Some admire me for what I am doing and want to do something like this for themselves however, I am not moving to Denver for anyone but myself. Also, I am not running away from anything but rather TO something. I am running to the life I have always dreamed of for myself and I know it is up to me to make it a reality. I trust myself to make things happen. I know I am resourceful and can find the support I need, and I have no problems asking for help! In fact….
Can You Help?
Since I don’t know a soul in Denver and I am still unfamiliar with the area, I need help! Perhaps you or someone you know can help? I need:
1. A Temporary Place to Stay. – I need a room to rent or a place to stay for me & my cat while I figure out where I want to live. Do you know anyone in the Denver area with a room to rent, or a room they might allow me and my cat to stay in while I figure out where to land? Or, perhaps you know someone with a condo that they use only a few months out of the year and they might be willing to work something out with me in terms of living there for a while? (FYI – The cat has never had an accident in his 11 years.)
2. Connections. – I need to get the Denver area introduced to me and LifeQuest Alliance. One of the best ways to do that is by offering LifeQuest Alliance workshops. Do you have contacts at:
– Local high schools/colleges/community colleges who bring in outside speakers?
– High School Adult Continuing Education Programs who manage the classes/workshops being offered?
– Corporations who bring enrichment programs to their employees? d. Associations, organizations, or religious groups who manage the guest speakers they bring in?
3. PR Connections. – Another way to introduce myself and LifeQuest Alliance to Denver is through some great PR. Do you know anyone in the Denver area who:
– Secures guests on radio talk shows?
– Writes articles for newspapers/magazines/blogs/etc. and might be interested in writing about me and/or having me submit an article for publication?
4. Networking Connections – I need to do a lot of networking. Can you recommend:
– High quality networking groups in the Denver area?
– High quality contacts to help me begin networking? Ideally, I am looking for:
– Financial Planners
Will LifeQuest Alliance Continue?
ABSOLUTELY! LifeQuest Alliance is my passion and will continue on as long as I am living. It is why I get up every morning! For the clients I have here in Chicago, I will continue to coach them over the phone or via Skype. For those of you considering coaching with me, I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and try coaching over the phone. Many of my clients have had breakthrough sessions more so over the phone than in-person. I also plan to begin offering my workshops and group coaching on-line so that anyone anywhere can get access to the empowering and enlightening information I offer. So, have some faith! Stay with me while I make this change. Embrace a step outside of your own comfort zone and share your journey with me. Together we can all PLAY IT BIG in life! The rest is to be continued…..