A case study in making difficult life changes

Last week the topic of the Women at Work column covered several tips for a successful interview.

I shared that my daughter, Lindsey, had an important interview for a permanent position at Mayo Clinic. I am proud to say the job was offered to her a mere three hours after the interview, and she also received an email from the program director, telling her she had "nailed" the interview.

To arrive at this crucial point in her life, Lindsey had to make a lot of changes. They weren't easy, and as her mother, it was a very painful journey to watch. I pushed and prodded when necessary, and occasionally raised my voice. In the back of my mind, I knew she probably disliked me very much now and then, and I needed to be OK with that and have faith in her.

Making changes in one’s life to get what you want is difficult. Typically, we want to make changes but feel stuck. Taking action and starting to move is the challenge. Working an 8-to-5 schedule allows us to earn a paycheck, but can you make changes to earn more money or get more satisfaction?

The steps you need to take are probably staring you in the face, but who likes to increase or improve their duties that are boring, cause feelings of rejection or are mind-numbing? Maybe the change you need to make to help your job is in your personal life. It’s easy to stay complacent and do what you’ve always done, but what is the result?


Making a change is not easy, and bottom line, it will require effort. Once that concept is accepted, getting started will not be quite as challenging. Unfortunately, new clients do not generally fall into your lap, job offers are not randomly in your voicemail, and there is no magician waving a wand forcing the changes to be made automatically (don’t we all wish for that?).

In watching Lindsey make changes in her life, I have realized that the best first step for anyone is a reality check. What is it that you want? Do other people have what you desire, or have they achieved a level at work that you wish you had?

Observe those around you; have a conversation with those who have made the necessary changes to get there. Take the advice of someone who has actually walked in your shoes, and gone where you are wanting to go.

In your reality check, you may realize that a few more hours at work may be warranted. This isn’t uncommon, and you may have to grin and bear it. In the long run, your hard work will pay off.

Finally, remember you are responsible for yourself, and you need to hold yourself accountable for the changes you are going to make. Unfortunately, things will not always go your way, and you may have a piece of bad luck here and there. Refocus and draw strength from those around you to continue in your journey. Lean on the coworkers who have been promoted or achieved what you want, especially if they have "been there, done that."

Lindsey has had to dig deep and make some serious changes to go from where she was to where she is now.

To motivate herself, she looked 10 years into the future and realized she wanted more in her life and her job than where she was headed. She leaned on our family, her boyfriend, Nick, and her faith in God to provide the extra motivation she sometimes needed to keep forging ahead. She now wants to help others who are facing the same experiences she has so they can achieve greater things in life and their jobs.

In watching her through this journey, I know that changes can be made if you really want them, and it will take you to places you feel uncomfortable in and probably make you work harder than you have ever worked before. If you want something bad enough, you will just do what you need to do.

What To Read Next
Get Local