Making Your Move – and Making Your Mark
With less than three weeks to go before our move to Omaha, it occurred to me that this is the first time I’ll be moving without the benefit of joining an organization in a traditional office environment. I’ve moved so many times with the military, but I knew upon my arrival that I’d meet interesting people, reconnect with old friends, and be part of a team. That always seemed to make the move less daunting. But now that I’m in business for myself, I have to be a bit more deliberate about how to become part of a new community.
It’s a fascinating puzzle – the same flexibility I cherish also leaves me untethered. And with the rise of remote work and the gig economy, I’m not the only one in this boat! In fact, this is one of the considerations in this 2010 article on making the leap to self-employment in the NYT:
In addition to structure and predictability, a workplace offers a built-in sense of community and belonging, which is hugely important to happiness, Ms. Pryce-Jones said. One of the biggest problems faced by the self-employed is loneliness, she said. So make sure to connect regularly — either online or in person — with other business people, she advised.
You can imagine that this is even more relevant been pondering how our relationship to work (and each other) is changing with advances in technology. Yes, I can Take Back Work from anywhere – but moving while self-employed can be a double whammy. How might I mitigate the loneliness and adjust to my new environment more rapidly?
Luckily, I didn’t have to look far. In the spirit of engaging with other business people, I reached out to a man I’d met who’d made a similar transition: from Silicon Valley to Augusta, GA. His advice proved useful to me, so I’ll share it with you – (and it’s not just for the entrepreneur types out there!):
- Respect the vibe of your new hometown. It’s going to be different, and you’ll be tempted to make comparisons. Some things will be better, and some will be worse. Take time to learn what makes this place special. Developing an appreciation for the local delicacies, sights, and sports teams will have you feeling like you belong sooner.
- Find your tribe. Reach out to your network to ask for connections to others in your new town. Chances are that if you have a mutual friend, you’re going to have other things in common. Also explore avenues for meeting people who share your interests, like Meetups. If you’re a fan of TED Talks, connect with the local TEDx chapter if there is one – they often do events throughout the year.
- Get involved. Putting your talents to work on something that matters is a great way to meet people AND make a difference. Plus, it’s one of the best ways to get beyond the superficial and create deep, meaningful relationships.
Let’s make this list bigger – what are your suggestions?
My #1 tip happens before you leave – allow yourself to move on to something new. This begins by letting go of the artifacts that you have held onto in your old life, which is a good first step towards letting go of the biases that you have held onto in your old life. This does not mean that there is anything wrong with who you are – what you have done in life has led you up to where you are today, and that’s a great thing. It’s a reflection that embracing an adventure requires a willingness to try something new, which often requires letting go of something old (whether tangible or visceral). Few people capture the spirit of this better than Mari Kondo – when those artifacts, those biases, and sometimes even those people have served their purpose in your life, take the time thank them with joy. Then move on.