As I sit in the sun looking out at the beautiful flat water and preparing for my 2016 year, I have to stop and take a deep breath. So many things have changed in a year. In order to plan for 2016 I must first reflect back on the 2015 year.
We packed up our entire life into two cars with two children and a 25 cubic metre container. We were lucky to sell most of our furniture with our house and headed from the big city of sails to the much smaller city, Nelson. We arrived in Nelson in January 2015. We were ready for our new adventure. We wanted to change so many things. It was time. We are catalysts for change but this time, we added in two young children to the mix. We thought it would be fun, easy and everything would work once we arrived at our destination.
We were ready for what Nelson would throw at us. We had done multiple risk analyses, we had visited the city three times in the past three years and it looked like a great city to stay for a while. We visited one school and decided it would work for our two children the oldest who would start a new year in year 6, his final year of primary school and knowing no one. Our 7 year old was adaptable she would fit in just fine. We had been looking at rental properties for some time so we knew what we wanted. Or so we thought.
Upon reflection, I wonder what we could have done to make the transition into a new much smaller city easier. For those of you who are contemplating a move into a smaller city I reckon this will be worth the read. My word for 2015 was transition. Everything we have done has been in transition.
Here are the learnings.
- Are you moving for lifestyle?
If so ensure you understand what you mean by lifestyle. Once you have defined what it is then check in and see what the ” ethos ” of the city you are moving to and determine whether it will meet your ” lifestyle ” requirements.
- Business or a Job?
If you are bringing a business into the new city, then do homework around whether it will work in it’s current shape. If you are coming from a larger city, then you will need adjust your programme to suit. Be prepared to wait. Small town politics will be in play so while you are waiting get amongst all of it and observe. Join every group you can until you know where you can fit.
Avoid meeting the larger organisations until you have been settled for a year and know how you can best serve them. If you are needing to have full time employment, then ensure you have that sorted before you move into the city as most is done on a who you know basis not what you know.
If you are buying a business be very careful that you do all due diligence. If the business has been successful because of the people who have owned it have been around in the city for a long time, be wary. Being new doesn’t mean people will buy from you straight away.
3. Disposable income
Cash reserves are a must so you can sit back and observe and recalibrate your programmes to suit your new market and also your old markets. How you approach each one will be different and it will require some time to adapt and adjust. This will likely include travel and more than you had imagined. The worst thing is to also have financial stress.
4. Small city mindset
If you have only lived in a big city, then small city mindsets can take something to get used to. The main point to note here is that you can’t change it. You can influence how you adapt to it but you won’t be able to change it. Keep your opinions to yourself or before you know it everyone else will know what you think.
5. Give it time
If you are anything like me, you will have moments where you want to throw it in and go back to the big city that served you so well. You will be in tears often and feel resentful of your friends you left behind and the new people you meet who seem to have the lifestyle thing down pat. Winter will be the worst where the city seems deserted and empty, dull, bland and cold. Just when you think you have had enough, the sun comes out, the people reappear and the city fills up for the tourist season. The locals who have been through what I have all say, give it 2 years. Time will help.
I am a year in and hoping time this year will bring new experiences and a chance to meet and work closer in the local community. I am looking for a chance to collaborate and work alongside other colleagues in my field. I want to see more people who move into the region survive their transition.
Does it take something to shift everything you have to an unknown city? Of course it does. I can proudly say my 7 year old received an excellence certificate for her personal development and learning. My 11 year old survived the year and has done extremely well across all his subjects and even tried new sports. His reason for liking the city is that he can be himself and doesn’t have to try to be someone else to fit into the big city mould.
We have more time together as a family. When travelling, I get to say goodbye to the children in the morning as they wave me off at the airport and are there to pick me up in the afternoon on my return. They are healthy, happy and confident.
So as I prepare for 2016, my word is explosive growth. We will be taking our legal business development programme into Sydney and Melbourne. My Empowher days will be in more locations across NZ. My SHIFT your business group coaching programme will be across more locations in NZ. Our online programme will be released along with another e-book and there is so much more.
For me, I know 2015 was one of the toughest years both physically and emotionally and 2016 will be equally tough but in a different way. There will be far more travel and the same intense focus however I now have the balance with family and lifestyle that is enviable to those who live in larger cities.
Was it worth it? I can’t answer the question yet as I have given myself two years but this I do know. If you have quality family time and a happier family then that goes much further than sitting in traffic and buying your childrens love with gadgets, toys and promised time that you couldn’t keep.
I am excited to see where 2016 will lead me. It’s game on. I will continue to support my Blues team in the hope that this year will be their year too.
As always keen to hear where your focus will be in 2016 so leave them below.