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It’s OK to Change Your Course

in Do What You Love, Money Basics, Rants

Note: This is a post from Adam Baker, founder of Man Vs. Debt.

I want to let you in on a little secret…

It’s OK to change your plans.

Turn about-face. Pivot. Take a 180.

We live in a world which punishes those who take actions to correct a mistake or a course.

Wishy-washy, we call them. Flip-floppers. Unstable. Irresponsible. Lazy. Whimsical.

A whole host of terms with negative connotations for people who take abrupt action to change their course, especially when that course may have been a recent decision.

I’ve been talking a lot about “consciousness” in your life’s direction – and “flexibility” in how you structure your life.

Part of this is realizing when things need reversed.

It’s OK to sell your house for less than you paid for it – if you realize that freedom is worth more than the loss.

It’s OK to settle down and buy a home – if you know that’s the right decision for your family.

It’s OK to pull your children out of public schools – if that’s what you truly believe is best for them.

It’s OK to put your homeschooled children back into a public school – if you change your mind.

It’s OK to sell something you just bought – if you realize you no longer need it (or never needed it).

It’s OK to spend money on things that bring joy, purpose, or value into your life – even if you are paying off debt.

It’s OK to move into an RV, a sailboat, a truck with a rooftop tent, or a cabin in the woods – if you crave to explore these living arrangements.

It’s OK to quit backpacking around the world – if you no longer realize it fits with your current goals and passions.

It’s OK to shut down the business you recently launched and take a corporate job – if that’s what you are being called to do.

It’s OK to quit your new promising career and pave your own path – if you know deep down you’ll do what it take to make it a reality.

*****

Realizing you’ve started down the wrong path – and correcting course – is admirable.

It’s a trait that’s far too uncommon these days. It’s a principle that should be praised, not ridiculed.

Staying with a condition in your life that you no longer believe in – just because you picked that path 12 months earlier – is insane.

People will challenge you. Most will criticize out of fear. They’re afraid of what similar changes might mean for their own life.

If you take advice from people who are scared – don’t be surprised when you end up trapped in fear yourself.

What’s one decision or condition in your life that needs reversing?

Go ahead and flip-flop.

It’ll be OK.

{ 105 comments… read them below or add one }

Morgan June 16, 2011 at 12:21 PM

It can be really difficult to make certain sacrifices in life. To do things that you never thought you would do. Sometimes good things and sometimes unfortunate things.

But no matter what, like you said, it’s O.K.! There’s nothing to be ashamed of!

I have had so many twists and turns in my lifetime and I view all of them as a positive change because no matter what, it always took me in the direction I wanted to be in (whether I knew it at the time or not).

I’m proud to be ‘wishy-washy’. :)

I’ve been a fan of yours for some time now, but don’t comment often. Never-the-less, love what you do! Keep those positive vibes! Fantastic post!!

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Jenny @ exconsumer June 16, 2011 at 12:26 PM

This is sage advice Baker. I’ve always wondered why those that aren’t afraid to change courses are considered flakey, while those that stay the course — even while completely miserable — are considered reliable and honorable citizens.

Even paths that were once right for us can become wrong for us over time. We are always changing and evolving, and our lives should reflect that growth as we explore new ways.

Just imagine what our world would be like if more people stopped wondering and wishing, and started planning and doing.

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Steve M June 16, 2011 at 12:29 PM

Couldn’t agree more Adam – thanks for posting this and reminding me that life is a journey, that the choices we make are not permanent (that they/we can change) and that all we really have to do is remain true to ourselves in each moment. Awesome!

Steve

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Radman June 16, 2011 at 12:31 PM

I totally agree with the changing course thing or flip-flop as you put it. I guess I’m just more curious as to way you posted it. Thinking of plotting a new course for yourself?

Radman

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Kates June 16, 2011 at 12:40 PM

I too am proud to be wishy-washy. :D

I learned through all of my experiences, both good and bad, and I don’t regret one minute of it. I’ve started on many paths only to learn that it wasn’t the right route for me, but at least I tried and I don’t have to wonder, “What if?”

Hell, I’m going back to school to pursue my dream job because I absolutely loathe working in the corporate world.

Excellent post and thanks for the reminder that it is okay to change our minds, even if we believe it is, it’s always nice to hear it from someone else.

xoxo,
.Kates.

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Cyn June 16, 2011 at 12:43 PM

Start with teaching our young people how to take risks, that it’s ok for them to take risks, that they have a safety net and support. Let them know early on how smart they are, that they’re valuable, that the world needs their vision, their voice, and that they can contribute in unlimited and priceless ways. And definitely teach them about personal finance at a young age. If every kid were empowered in that way, there’d be less need for articles such as this. “Staying with a condition in your life that you no longer belief in – just because you picked that path 12 months earlier – is insane.” It might be insane to you and I, but to the person choosing to stay there out of fear or security, it’s very rational.

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Sherri June 16, 2011 at 12:54 PM

Fantastic message! I just wrote today about going back to work after 4 years as a stay at home mom. It was an incredibly tough decision but for many reasons I think it’s the right one … time will tell. Initially I was going to be a stay at home parent until my boys were in school full time but we changed our direction and that’s all about to change (come Monday!!). I’m still trying to deal with the guilt of leaving my kids each day but I’m making a conscious effort to be positive and give it a real go.

Thanks for giving permission to change course … a lot of people need that push and permission to change. Well done.

All the best,
Sherri

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Brooke June 16, 2011 at 12:54 PM

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

We’ve been living this way since June 2010, instituting many changes in our heretofore predictable lives. It is terrifying sometimes, but wow, every person in our family and our family unit as a whole is SO much the better for it.

Thanks for this post, Baker. It is such a great message.

B

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Alex Humphrey June 16, 2011 at 1:04 PM

To put off writing my book. I have been putting it off and putting it off. It’s time to do an about face, change course, and start writing. It’s time to do it.

Thanks, Baker.

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Alex June 16, 2011 at 1:11 PM

YES. THANK YOU. This is wonderful.
“They’re afraid of what similar changes might mean for their own life.”
Some people forget that the entire reason they stand/stood for their beliefs is to help set others free, and if one is doing what they truly believe in, no matter when that is and what they’ve said before, well, aren’t they free? We’re in a constant state of change.
Again, this was wonderful.

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Brooke June 16, 2011 at 2:08 PM

BTW, has anyone seen Conan O’Brien’s recent commencement address at Dartmouth? Right on point….http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmDYXaaT9sA

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Karl Staib - Party Biz Connect June 16, 2011 at 2:20 PM

I had a blog for 3 years, trying to turn it into a business, until I realized I wasn’t playing to my superpowers. Once I stopped beating my head against the glass wall I realized that I needed to change directions. It was the best business decision I ever made. I now throw Twitter parties for people who are trying to launch their products. I have so much fun and the business is taking off.

I think it’s imperative to know when you are heading in the wrong direction and switch to a more profitable and happier route. If you keep banging your head into the glass wall, it doesn’t mean it will eventually break. It may mean that you break.

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Deena Dollars June 16, 2011 at 2:23 PM

I love this post. Thank you, Baker. I am struggling with my “dream” right now, and reading that I have permission to change course is really, really amazing.

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Caleb June 16, 2011 at 2:43 PM

My fiance and I are going through a big pivot in our lives at we are headed away from conventional paths (grad school and corporate work) towards escaping, travel, and entrepreneurship.

When people ask why, all I say is that “I’m pivoting my life towards where I really want to be.”

Most people just don’t know what they really want, or are unwilling to decide.

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Tara@Riceandbeanslife June 16, 2011 at 3:08 PM

Great post! I’ve been a direction changer in my life many times and called wishy-washy more than I care to recall. The funny thing is, given enough time, we’ve had many of the very people who shook their heads at our decisions in bewilderment actually tell us, eventually, how much they respect the courage we had and continue to have even in the face of uncertainty. I think it is so easy to be so sold on our expectations of what we should be and what others think we should be than to be real with who we are. And sometimes that requires being brave enough to realize you are driving down the wrong street. Thanks for addressing it. Sometimes all someone needs is permission to make that left turn.

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Shannon June 16, 2011 at 4:02 PM

You’re not doing your income report anymore?

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Brenda June 16, 2011 at 4:51 PM

What wonderful words. About 10 months ago I sat up and took a look at my life and wasn’t happy with where it was. Nothing huge, but I made changes and have heard nothing but questions about why I have changed what I am doing. My response has always been, “I don’t want to turn 45 and realize that my best memories are from watching life instead of living it.” I’m glad I’m not alone.

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Stephanie June 17, 2011 at 11:12 AM

Brenda,

I turned 45 this April, and you are ABSOLUTELY correct in making changes now instead of FINALLY realizing, as I have now, that if you don’t follow your dreams NOW and not wait a moment more, you are gonna find yourself 45..65..85 years old and still be stuck in the rut, on the wrong path or dreaming-but-not-doing-anything-about-them…

Good for you, full speed forward and don’t look back!!

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Shari June 16, 2011 at 5:10 PM

Perfect. Just what I needed today. Thank you.

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Heather Allard June 16, 2011 at 6:38 PM

Love it. I’m looking to change courses very soon and this was great encouragement. :)

Thank you.
Heather

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Kylie Ofiu June 16, 2011 at 7:29 PM

Excellent post. I started studying last year and thought it was the direction I wanted to go. 1 month into it I was presented with a much better opportunity and have been trying to do both because my husband doesn’t want me to quit school. Problem is I do not see that career in my furture. I would be much better off quitting now and putting the time and energy spent on it to what I really want to do.

I think if you know what you want and make the changes to do it, you are so much better for it.

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Chelsie June 16, 2011 at 8:03 PM

I have a great paying, secure corporate career that I value. In January I opened a Yoga Studio, wanting to learn more about running my own business, as well as step out of my comfort zone. Today I made the decision to close it down for the summer (and likely permanently in December) so that I can reevaluate what I’m missing from my 9-5 that is leaving me to look for fulfillment elsewhere.
As soon as yoga became an obligation I lost the passion for it – And that’s reflected in the studio’s success.
I was feeling a little down and conflicted about this, but reading this post reminded me that I followed my heart – something I can never regret, and now instead of wondering whether the business owner life is for me, I can tell you with confidence that it is not.

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Rick June 16, 2011 at 9:39 PM

Once again, you’re right on the money. Fear is the silent killer looming over each decision we make, and too often is the driving force in a lack of action. I think we have a lot to learn about ourselves, and I now choose to acknowledge and challenge the fear in my life more so than ever. Thanks for the powerful reminder for us to remain cognisant of this often subconscious driving force.

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Sunday June 16, 2011 at 10:41 PM

It’s SO awesome to get affirmation from you and from all your readers like this. I am recently butting heads with quite a few people over quite a few changes in my life and it often leads me to not to waver in my decision necessarily but to have less faith in it or to at least not feel as excited about it as I was prior to the naysayers. It’s sometimes hard to keep in mind that life is all about the journey and if you booked a flight to the wrong destination, it’s okay to cancel the ticket or trade it in for another when you realize where you should be going. Why not?? No one wants to spend their vacation in Alaska when they packed for Mexico so rather than buy a parka and trudge through it, buy that freaking poncho and MARiaCHi yourself down south! You rock, man; thank you!!

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Dara June 16, 2011 at 10:47 PM

AWESOME!!

Of course I’ve known this is OK. I left behind a career many would dream of (one that requires a bunch of extra school and training) because it was the wrong path for me. Many looked down on me as a “quitter”. I’m in a different job, working on figuring out the best route for me to create income so that i can break free of this job as well.

How did society come to decide that it’s better to keep doing something you hate, than to change course and do something you like? Isn’t stress one of the biggest problems in western culture today? The more people who change course and thrive, the more we can debunk the quitter myth!

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Crystal June 16, 2011 at 10:56 PM

Baker – you totally rock. I have lived the conventional life and started working on the re-design several years ago. I am 53 years old and advocate people dream and live that dream – do something unique.. even if it is twirling in the rain – go do it! I love your blog and your promotion of happiness. Rock on Baker!!

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Ned Carey June 16, 2011 at 11:09 PM

This is a lesson I learned recently. It’s not good to change because you give up. It is good to change because you realize you have different needs or goals. Many people get invested in what they have already done and want to continue it. The answer is to keep asking what is the best for me moving forward.

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Adam Stanecki June 16, 2011 at 11:30 PM

Most people don’t get where they want to go because they won’t make a decision. It’s in the DOING that we succeed. Ironically, you actually make a decision not to make a decision. So, why not make what could be the right decision rather than choosing to do nothing?

I always think of Kenny Rogers, “you gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, know when to run.”

Making the decision is the important part.

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Matty June 17, 2011 at 3:57 AM

“Staying with a condition in your life that you no longer believe in – just because you picked that path 12 months earlier – is insane.”

………or 30 years earlier.

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Stephanie June 17, 2011 at 11:22 AM

Amen Matty,

I was particularly wrestling with this one. Heavily invested in decisions that you made decades ago that no longer apply nor fit..so hard to change, let go or do an about face from…but I’ve discovered that relief and actual happiness can be on the otherside once we listen to that thing inside of that says, “..time for some changes…..”

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Kevin M June 17, 2011 at 9:33 AM

Is this foreshadowing?

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Allison @ House of Hepworths June 23, 2011 at 11:10 PM

Ditto. I’m getting worried about you guys. You haven’t blogged for a week!

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Mr. Green June 17, 2011 at 10:45 AM

I needed to hear this while I was in college. I wanted to change majors but felt like I had to finish what I started even though I didn’t feel like I was on the right path. I knew it would take me an extra year to finish and cost me another year tuition.
Thankfully I switched, and it turned out for the better. Just needed to know it was ok back then instead of feeling guilty about it.

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Danielle June 17, 2011 at 10:50 AM

Good post dude. I think that too often we forget this simple stuff.

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Jo@simplybeingmum June 17, 2011 at 10:54 AM

Going to forward this to the Hubby!

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Susan June 17, 2011 at 10:55 AM

There is a book called “The Dip” and the author talks about the myth that “winners never quit and quitters never win.” The premise is that if some goal is really important to you, that you will get to a point where you go into a “dip” and you’ve got to work harder than ever to persevere and get through it. But the author also states that “winners quit early and often.” It isn’t unusual to get into a project or situation that seems right and after awhile one realizes that it isn’t. Successful people aren’t afraid to change course.

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KarenJ June 17, 2011 at 11:09 AM

Thanks Baker, this is just what I needed to hear – right now! I took a J-O-B 18 months ago to support my husband who was starting in a new career. I have taken more jobs in my lifetime out of financial necessity than I care to mention. My goals and dreams have nothing to do with these jobs. Lately, I’ve been feeling the need to re-invent myself (again) and a voice inside that is telling me I’m not on the right path. Thanks for being a supportive voice!

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Kel June 17, 2011 at 11:24 AM

God, I love this post!
I grew up in a home that really frowned on changing course. “Kill yourself to finish what you started, wether you like it or not.” I’m currently married to someone with that same mentality. :/
I CRAVE change. :)
Thanks,
Kel

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Stephanie June 17, 2011 at 11:25 AM

Great, great post and timely indeed!!

We are so invested in staying the course, as if it is some badge of courage to continue on in our misery or ill fitting suit of armor. How refreshing to even entertain the notion that we CAN change paths, how ever many times need be, to find happiness and fulfillment.

May we all have the courage to saddle up and ride hard, in whatever direction our heart takes us!!

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Krista June 17, 2011 at 11:46 AM

Thank you SO much for this. :-) It was just what I needed this morning. I’m pulling up stakes and moving to Amsterdam and then Australia. Those who think like this article does are thrilled to pieces, and the naysayers are in full critical swing. Thanks for giving me an extra shot of bravery and strength with this article. :-)

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Financial Samurai June 17, 2011 at 11:50 AM

Baker, what have you decided to do? Good luck with the change!

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Shannon June 17, 2011 at 11:57 AM

This is inspiration for our journey! My husband and I are in the middle of packing up our belongings and getting rid of what we didn’t need…in order to find a more self-sufficient lifestyle for our family. We have met more resistance than support from our friends and family…and at times, we’ve both struggled with fear. I’m so glad to know that there are other “pioneers” out there, blazing the trail ahead…to inspire the rest of the world!

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Dr. Laura @ WhoIsLaura.com June 17, 2011 at 12:23 PM

I feel like this post was written for me! Thanks for the wisdom and encouragement Baker.

Dr. Laura

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Stephanie H. June 17, 2011 at 12:32 PM

Thanks for sharing this.

I have always believed it and often try to share it as well, to mixed reviews.

Luckily for me, my mom instilled in me the confidence to try things. I recall, when I was looking to get out of a line of work I was starting to hate, she said, “So try something else. What’s the worst that can happen?” That question – what’s the worst than can happen? – has stuck with me since that day and has provided me with the courage to pursue things I might otherwise not have. I agree that is the fear – of failure or of success, and of what others think – that keeps most people from acting on what they know they want to do. Who are we living our lives for?

I have changed courses so many times throughout my life (sometimes because of factors out of my control, like living as a military brat and moving a lot, or getting laid off when a business owner made poor choices about the business) and even when I couldn’t see it at the time, those changes have always led to better situations and meeting wonderful new people. How can I complain about that?

My husband and I made the decision to walk away from a very successful business, sell our house and cars and give away or donate most everything else we owned, and to travel, a few years back. It was very hard for some of our friends and family members to understand. In fact, we lost some friends and some family relationships will never be the same. But, you know what? The friends we lost were not actually true friends – isn’t friendship all about supporting one another in the pursuit of our dreams, even if we don’t agree with what our friends are pursuing or it’s not right for us? The relationships with family that changed says more about the obligation than the real connection – we are connected by birth, but stay connected to family by choice. Because we made choices they did not agree with, or that challenged what they were pursuing, they now feel differently about us. And, that’s ok. I would not give up the time we had off, the experiences we had and the people we met for anything. Especially not for other people.

I love this quote:
What would you attempt to do if you knew you would not fail?

That’s how I try to live my life and what I recall when I am pursuing something, especially those things that are scary.

To those who are not pursuing your dreams out of fear, only you can change your feelings about the fear. Walk the path in your mind or on paper – what’s the worst that could happen? Most times it’s the fear of the unknown that keeps us in place, not moving forward. Get to know it!

For those who are stuck because of the wishes or fears of others, you are also in control of that situation. You have a choice in allowing others to control you. Are you living your life for yourself or for them? I can almost guarantee you they are not living their life for you.

Change is hard and scary, Not taking a chance on your dreams, even harder and more scary. I’d rather KNOW, for myself, that the pursuit was worthwhile or that it was not the best decision. You only know that by trying.

I’m pretty sure Milligan will never fear change – she is being groomed at an early age. Kudos to you, Baker and Courtney, for providing her with the experiences she has had. Those same types of experiences are some of the best gifts my parents gave me as a child.

Rock on Baker, Courtney and Milligan!

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Sarah Russell June 17, 2011 at 12:50 PM

Oh my gosh, I’ve done this with *so* many websites and web businesses. But then again, I’m prone to having what I think are great ideas and running with them before I have the good sense to take a look at whether they really suit my life and goals…

At least most websites and web businesses can be sold for something on Flippa once I figure out that they’re not right for me :)

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Cooper June 17, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Great article! I have always believed that it’s better to make a decision (even if it is the wrong one) rather than flounder in indecisiveness. At least by making a decision you can move on with your life. I had to practice this at the Arby’s drive-in the other day when I couldn’t decide between a French Dip and a large roast beef sandwich. I finally just went with my gut and got the French Dip and I was so much happier after I just made the decision.

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Brigitte June 17, 2011 at 2:48 PM

So dead on. Yesterday, I wrote about the shift in focus of my business plans — dramatic and initially heartbreaking. But as I walk the new path, I know making the change now was important.

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marianney | CityVids.tv Denver June 17, 2011 at 3:53 PM

ah this is awesome. so many times i have changed course and felt silly for it and wondered if people think i am flakey. but so what? life is about change right? and we are constantly evolving, learning and changing. it’s only natural that we’d also want to change our environments or lifestyles from time to time.

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jolyn June 17, 2011 at 5:04 PM

Looking forward to reading where the next step in your lives takes you. :)

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Tranque Fuller June 17, 2011 at 7:55 PM

Interesting post! Isn’t the key being clear why you feel moved to make an “about face”? Are you motivated by clarity and a new understanding …. Or just reacting to fear??
If your usual M.O. Is to start things only to retreat not long after then maybe it is time to stick with something hell-or-high-water just to prove to yourself that you can. But as you say there is honor and wisdom in recognizing you’re heading down the wrong path and making adjustments.

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Untemplater June 18, 2011 at 1:26 AM

So true. We are constantly changing and sometimes we end up getting sick of something we once were crazy about. I used to love cooking, baking, and trying out new recipes and then lost interest in it all. I spent something ridiculous like $130 on a saute pan that just sits in the cupboard now.

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susan June 18, 2011 at 10:35 AM

Well, I just rode my bike past the RV everyone is talking about.
Never heard of manvsdebt, i have now!
This RV is not in Portland, but right here in little ole Greenwood, IN
I am very impressed with the blog and life direction, I walked away from my job 2 months ago and still have not found my new “job” in life.
Good Luck to you and your family on whatever new decision you must have made.

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Lee June 18, 2011 at 10:50 AM

I am new to your blog.
It has alot of great info.
Did I just see your RV parked on a sidestreet in Greenwood, IN?
Good Luck to you and your family on whatever new decision you have had to make.

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Ellen Berg June 18, 2011 at 11:30 AM

A-to-the-men! Great googly moogly, even my 8th graders feel like changing course or making mistakes are the worst thing that could happen in life, which goes against their developmental nature! Yes, change your mind and change your course if your circumstances change or you realize it’s not working for you.

I’m going to print this out and use it as a discussion piece at the beginning of next school year. It’ll be interesting to see how the parents react!

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eva hamori June 18, 2011 at 9:31 PM

When we decided to sell off our highly successful Auto Wrecker, our paid off home, and me quit my job after 20 years, people thought we were crazy. We had the life they were aspiring to achieve. But if it is not the life you dreamed to get to, it matters not how much you make, but to get on the right path as soon as possible. We leave in 44 days to find our life’s dream. With two kids in tow, moving slow, and enjoying the journey.
Nice to know someone out there thinks it might just be okay.
eva

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Nick Laborde June 19, 2011 at 5:57 AM

Thanks for the reminder man…

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Farnoosh June 19, 2011 at 9:34 AM

Thank you for the necessary reminder here, Baker! So much needed to hear this.
I had to back away from a Toastmasters club that I myself founded 3 years ago. I did SO much for the club for 2 years but then my blogging and other priorities took over – I have felt so guilty because I founded the club and the membership has gone down and they are struggling but it’s not a priority for me and I had to break my commitment – which was really already fulfilled in terms of official terms as President etc …. and it still gives me a bit of guilt. Thank you for the reminder here.

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Momma Yen June 19, 2011 at 10:25 AM

Thank you.

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Daniel Noriega June 19, 2011 at 2:12 PM

Baker, if there is one post you should allow yourself to re-post every year or so, this is it.

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Over-Educated Nympho June 19, 2011 at 3:35 PM

A blog reader of mine sent me a link to this article, and she was dead-on. My parents spent $250,000 sending me to 18 years of private school/universities, and after I spent several years in the industry, I realized I was miserable.

I wanted to be a writer, but I was *terrified* of telling my mother that, considering how much she and my father had sacrificed so that I could have a brighter future than either of them had when they were 18. I thought she wanted me to be the big badass power-house that she should have been, if the opportunities had been available to her like they were for me.

When I told my mother that I want to return to grad school to get an MFA in creative writing (which will be my 4th degree), she gave me her blessing. Since that day, I have been happier than I have been in five years, if not ten. I suddenly feel so *free*. It’s okay if I ditch my first career! It’s okay if I move halfway across the country for grad school! It’s okay if I move back into a tiny one-bedroom apartment! It’s okay if I went from being a highly-regarded professional to a novelist!

It’s been the most wonderful about-face I’ve ever made in my life, and I’m looking forward to seeing where this new road takes me.

I wish the best of luck to all those before and after me who are doing the same. It takes a lot of courage to change course after the age of 22. I applaud everyone here in the comments who show such courage and determination.

xoxo Vix

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satish | health on budget June 19, 2011 at 8:05 PM

The toughest decision in the world is to admit you made a wrong decision and change course. Of course, no one wants to admit that they made a mistake and they keep sticking to ideas even if you are not as passionate or if the environment has changed. So I really liked that you wrote about your opinion on changing course.

Successful businesses change courses all the time whether they decided their decision was a mistake or if they find out their ideas no longer work in the changing world. Also, by changing course, finally you will be able to get to a winning idea that is relevant and that you are passionate about. I think it is a good idea still to analyze pros and cons of changing course before making a hasty decision at the spur of the moment.

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Rachel Denning June 19, 2011 at 8:17 PM

I think it was Anthony Robbins that said that we give so much more credit to those who are ‘stable’, ‘constant’ and ‘reliable’.

But if we’re never changing or trying, then we’re not growing or becoming better.

I also like the philosophy that the way to succeed faster is to make more mistakes. :)

Thanks for this.

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Leah June 20, 2011 at 11:54 AM

Wonderful post — sometimes it’s so hard to remember that it’s ‘okay’ to change plans. Thank you for the reminder!

On a happier note — we move onto our sailboat in Mexico in 3 months. So if you guys are craving a Mexican sailing vacation to get away from it all for a bit…drop me a line! :)

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Nora June 20, 2011 at 2:38 PM

Great post, Baker! I find it interesting just how many people are making big changes in their lives right now. I guess something’s in the air.
I just wrote about almost the same thing the other day! In it, I suggest that Destiny is a Direction, and that you’re allowed to change course.
http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/2011/06/destiny-is-a-direction/

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Max June 21, 2011 at 11:09 AM

As soon as the recession hit, I made a major change in my life. When everyone began going back to school I decided to push forward and begin a new business. This was one of the most difficult decisions I had to make, but I’m glad I did!

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Andy June 21, 2011 at 11:23 AM

Great article. It reminded me of an article that I recently read call the “The Sunk Cost Fallacy” which explores the psychology of why we, as humans, have such a hard time changing course. In summary, in most people, the fear of loss is a more powerful motivator than the joy of gain. So, most people end up “settling” for what IS as opposed to what COULD BE if only they had the balls to change course. It is a great read: http://youarenotsosmart.com/2011/03/25/the-sunk-cost-fallacy/

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Ethan June 21, 2011 at 2:36 PM

That last one really resonated with me because I’m currently pining to leave my corporate job. I’m making it a reality but the added social pressure is definitely a factor in my hesitation. Thanks!

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SB(One Cent At A Time) June 22, 2011 at 11:00 PM

Change is the way of life, even the definition of leadership is to bring about change for mutual benefit.

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Peter G. James Sinclair June 23, 2011 at 9:00 PM

Makes me excited Adam to know that I live in the O.K. Corral. That’s a fight that I will certainly win…..because it’s O.K.!

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Allison @ House of Hepworths June 23, 2011 at 11:07 PM

I hope everything is okay with you and your family. I haven’t seen you post in a few days, and I’m missing you! Please take care of yourself. Huge hugs to your wife and you in your time of mourning.

We are thinking of you!

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Cal June 25, 2011 at 8:15 AM

Great post. Thank you very much. I would love for all of the negative people I work with to read this. They are so very narrow minded and are fixated on believing that there is only one way to do something and one way to live. I am crucified nearly every shift I have because of my journey.

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Jennifer D. June 25, 2011 at 5:52 PM

Thank you. I forgot that it will be okay. Fear has/had taken over almost all of the thinking process and in turn I/we have been more unhappy in the last few years than ever in our lives. We used to live by the seat of our pants and then, some how, we started worrying about stuff. All kinds of stuff. Stuff that didn’t even matter. I/we are working hard to get back to that place of joy we once had, and so easily lost. It has been a tough road, but that is because I/we forgot it will be okay.

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TSM June 25, 2011 at 9:36 PM

I think everyone having issue with changing course is the fear of the unknown, or the expectation that you ‘have’ to do what you planned. I know for me, I switched career paths when going to school — took a little bit longer, but it worked out for the better!

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Grace June 27, 2011 at 7:27 PM

Thanks so much for this post. I’ve been asking for a sign, but sometimes it’s just staring you right in the face. Thanks again.

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Annie Andre June 28, 2011 at 12:20 PM

Baker,
It’s ok to flip flop! I used to feel so ashamed for shifting directions. I recently learned this lesson and have since felt proud of my multi passionate personality and ways.

Thanks Baker, you are wise beyond your years.

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Randy June 29, 2011 at 2:00 PM

Great post.

It’s only wise to reevaluate decisions you have made if the factors that led you to those decisions change.

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Eric Hansen June 29, 2011 at 4:11 PM

Last year I went through the second to last one – closing down a business to take a full time job. It was a really difficult thing to do and I felt terrible about it. My mom was so happy for me because I had a “real” job again, but truthfully, I felt like I failed. Quitting the biz and having a boss again felt like a step down and not a step up. My dad and friends and colleagues that are or were entrepreneurs knew exactly how I felt. Kinda hard to explain to people that aren’t. Thanks for the reminder that changing course is OK.

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Squirrelers June 30, 2011 at 5:09 PM

Great post, and I agree. I think many people stay with poor situations in life because they think they’re supposed to, or worry about what others think. We each need to do what’s best for ourselves based on our own assessments, and make our own decisions.

I’m reaching the point in life where I now see that my lifetime, risk-averse tendency of worrying what others will think or say is not the way to go. Rather, it’s best to humbly, respectfully make your own choices to do whatever the heck you want to do, regardless of what anybody else thinks.

Be true to yourself, and be willing to make changes as needed, and make the changes in a responsible way.

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jeannie June 30, 2011 at 9:51 PM

Amen!!!!!!

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Kaplan July 1, 2011 at 8:28 AM

you just gave me the best advise I could ever get, been so long that I have second thoughts on pursuing my original plans which is the basic thing in marketing, but was also thinking of using the alternative route to explore new things that might be beneficial to me.

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James Thomas July 1, 2011 at 4:28 PM

I loved this article! It was actually me beating myself up for changing, and not society around me. I found a lot of comfort in Seth Godin’s book, “The Dip”. It deals with exactly this topic.

Good Stuff!

James

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Sibyl Chavis July 3, 2011 at 12:21 PM

So true Adam and such a great point. It is easy to get living and learning and evolving your opinion confused with flip-flopping. I really appreciated what you said because that really is what life is all about. We don’t have to do things the way we always have and we are supposed to learn and grow … even if it means we change our minds. Great post and point.

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Laurel July 3, 2011 at 3:55 PM

Many people confuse the feeling of excitement with the feeling of fear. I enjoy your website and admire what you are doing. Selfishly I hope you continue to enjoy what you’re doing for a long time!

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Paul July 3, 2011 at 9:22 PM

Geez, do I need a flip flop bad! Choose the wrong career many years ago and it’s time to move on to something else.

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Cassie July 4, 2011 at 5:48 PM

This is true, but only to a point. Sometimes I think people get all wishy-washy because what they really want is scary…sometimes it takes a lot of bravery to stay on track to where you really want to go rather than go to the known rut of comfort, security, and familiarity. It is why so many people have trouble quitting smoking, losing weight, saving money, making the changes that they REALLY do want, but are hard. Now, if you are talking about changing plans because the new plans will truly be the best for you, then of course, but I think sometimes, this could be a cop out for going back to the lazy, easy ways of before instead of actually tackling your dreams and doing what you really want and should be doing. So many people jump out of the boat when the going gets tough. That’s why so few marriages stay together and so few people actually go after their goals. It’s so much easier to follow the herd and stop when it gets “too hard”.

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Dwight Anthony July 5, 2011 at 9:38 PM

Totally awesome speech there Baker. So many people conform to social norms that they make society make the rules. Truthfully, it’s all BS and smoking mirrors. Do what you love is what really matters.

P.S. Baker, I’ve added man vs debt to my blog roll as it’s really relates with the message I live with daily.

Dwight Anthony
Financially Elite Blog dot Com

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Shannon July 7, 2011 at 7:36 AM

Do you post articles once every three weeks?

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Susan July 7, 2011 at 1:08 PM

I think that we should learn to embrace change more because that is what life is all about. We all change constantly; Our bodies change even at a cellular level. Everyone should be prepared for the unexpected and learn how to adapt in order to survive and to thrive. Keeping yourself in the same routine for years or thinking “inside a box” is boring and not very challenging.

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Tom July 8, 2011 at 4:51 PM

Best wishes, and I look forward to reading about what’s to come.
Tom

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Shae July 11, 2011 at 5:51 AM

Excellent article and great comments too. It’s ok to live life on your own terms and noone should judge you for that. Of course we know that’s not always impossible and people wil judge you but at the end of the day who cares what others think. I am about to start my own business and already some members of my family can’t understand why I would want to leave a secure job. But once you start to expand your mind, there’s no looking back.

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a reader July 12, 2011 at 12:57 PM

I bought a really expensive toy 8 years ago and it’s been a pain in the rear mostly, and maintaining/storing it and the skills required to use it are also expensive. The emotional distress it causes me is pretty high, but I have tolerated this for the entire time, to my detriment. I can afford it, but it is not fun any more and I need to sell it. Unfortunately, one of my parents really loves this particular toy and has a bunch of other ones and is the one I have been getting approval from to use and keep it. I want to please him but I also want to be stress free, and these two goals conflict. (Ugh.) It’s a specialized antique item that only people with a similar specialized skill set (i.e., license) can use. So, how to sell it? Any advice?

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Robinson July 12, 2011 at 11:11 PM

I took a job as a commercial lender. During that time, I learned that I didn’t support what I was selling. Prior to taking the position, it was a “dream” job. I learned a lot of lessons that I think I can carry with me for the future.

Thanks for the post, Baker.

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Get a Job You Love July 13, 2011 at 7:21 AM

What a refreshing article! Love your take on this topic, and it is so fab to see so many comments agreeing that you CAN choose to do whatever makes you happy in life. So many people are held back by what society (parents, friends, family, colleagues, etc) says you SHOULD do. Life is short, so there is no time to waste in following your dreams and having the courage to change course when that is the right thing to do.

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Saundra Davis July 16, 2011 at 10:08 AM

Great post Adam! You are wise behind your years…possibly because you are fearless? I have had 5 careers and no regrets – I do what I love and yes, the money does follow. I ONLY work with clients I love and who love me.

Some call it wishy washy – I just say “hey, I’m a Libra.” Enjoy your life – you just get this one (maybe?).

Peace and Blessings to you and your family.

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Robert Avila July 17, 2011 at 2:22 PM

Thanks Adam – Awesome Post!
You shared some really great examples that really hit home. Knowing that it’s ok to change course also is a huge help when making decisions. Sometimes we feel like a decision we make will be forever and that we can never change it. This really adds a lot of pressure. If we go into things knowing we can always change course if the future it’s a lot easier to make decisions and keep moving forward.
Wish you the best!

Robert

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Sophie July 18, 2011 at 6:12 PM

Wow, that’s pretty inspiring! I changed my course 3 years ago and I’ve never regretted it since. It’s always harder to work against the flow (your “destiny”, if you like) than to accept the changes that come with living your own life according to your own responsible priorities.

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Emily July 19, 2011 at 12:23 PM

Thanks so much for posting. Your words “It’s OK to change course” have been on my mind lately. Six months ago I traded in a paid-off car and bought a car above my means. Stupid. Today, after reading your post one more time for reassurance, I am taking the steps to change course and correct my mistake. It will feel good to unload $20K of loan debt! And, the progress towards financial freedrom is totally worth the unfair judgement I may receive from others for being “wishy washy” or “unstable.”

- Emily

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Butterfly Jewel July 22, 2011 at 3:14 AM

Loved your post!!! You don’t here this said to often. Most people criticize people who change and think you should stick with something for a long time. If it’s not something that aligns with that person or his/her goals, they have to be the ones to make the decision to stay or to change and not based on what others think they should do. When it comes down to it, each of us is responsible for our own decisions in life and can’t really blame any choice we make on another. So, it’s better to make decisions that align with us and own them, even if we have to change again down the road. Life while constant, until we die, is always changing. So, in our lives, we will have to change. We must recognize when change is needed. Of course, some changes can be scary, but sometimes the consequences of not changing can be even scarier.

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Tim July 22, 2011 at 8:10 AM

I feels great to know that your options are always open. In this tough economy, so many are facing difficult challenges, myself included. I don’t need anyones permission to change course, but it good to be reminded!

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saulne July 24, 2011 at 8:54 AM

hi,
i’m french, so don’t blame me if my word aren’t correct.
i just discover your website, and i would say :
2 years ago i wrote comic’s book. i got pay enought to work on it approximately 12 month. i took my time to do it right with a lot of detail, color, ect… after 8 month of work, i’m only half way. it was impossible to finish this book with the same routine.

i decided to flip-flop as you say. the second part of my book is now in black and white. at this moment, a few friend told me i was crazy to do that. we can’t change our mind in the middle of a book !

this book is sell since a few month, and guess what ? 90% of critic love this turn. so yes ! it’s ok to change our plan.

Sylvain

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Michelle August 11, 2011 at 12:40 AM

Something that needs to be changed is that I need to be more OUTGOING!

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Jennifer August 18, 2011 at 6:48 PM

Beautifully put and totally appreciated! :)

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Ron August 20, 2011 at 9:53 AM

Emily and Butterfly Jewel are good example of positive out comes. They have really good advice, many people are too proud to change even when they know the situation will only get worse. People will think they are a failure- who cares what other people think.

Always cut your lose and start again.

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Yayson Potter August 22, 2011 at 9:39 AM

This is excellent advice. We get so stuck in staying the coarse that at times we forget why we are doing something or worse know why but am too afraid to make a change even though we know that it would be better to do so.

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Jo August 30, 2011 at 4:18 PM

Great article. I could not agree more. It’s when you are engaged in life and making things happen that the need to change course often comes up. Not so keen on the wishy-washy, irresponsible and flip-flopping name tags through.

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