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When someone passes away leaving debts behind, you might be wondering if you have any personal liability to pay them. If you have aging parents, for instance, you may be worried about having to assume responsibility for their mortgage payments, credit cards or other debts. If youâve asked yourself, âCan I inherit debt?â the answer is typically no, even though those debts donât automatically disappear. But there are situations in which you may have to deal with a loved oneâs creditors after theyâre gone.
How Debts Are Handled When Someone Passes Away
Debts, just like assets, are considered part of a personâs estate. When that person passes away, their estate is responsible for paying any and all remaining debts. The money to pay those debts comes from the asset side of the estate.
In terms of who is responsible for making sure the estateâs debts are paid, this is typically done by an executor. An executor performs a number of duties to wrap up a personâs estate after death, including:
- Getting a copy of the deceased personâs will if they had one and filing it with the probate court
- Notifying creditors and other entities of the personâs death (for example, the Social Security Administration would need to be notified so any Social Security benefits could be stopped)
- Completing an inventory of the deceased personâs assets and their value
- Liquidating those assets as needed to pay off any debts owed by the estate
- Distributing the remaining assets to the people or organizations named in the deceased personâs will if they had one or according to inheritance laws if they did not
In terms of debt repayment, executors are required to give notice to creditors who may have a claim against the estate. Creditors are then giving a certain window of time, according to state laws, in which to make a financial claim against the estateâs assets for repayment of debts.
If a creditor doesnât follow state guidelines for making a claim, then those debts wonât be paid from the estateâs assets. But if creditors are less than reputable, they may try to come after the deceased personâs spouse, children or other family members to collect whatâs owed.
Not all assets in an estate may be used to repay debts owed by a deceased person. Any assets that already have a named beneficiary, such as a life insurance policy, a 401(k), individual retirement account, payable on death accounts or annuity, would be transferred to that beneficiary automatically.
Can I Inherit Debt From My Parents?
This is an important question to ask if your parents are carrying high amounts of debt and youâre worried about having to pay those bills when they pass away. Again, the short answer is usually no. You generally donât inherit debts belonging to someone else the way you might inherit property or other assets from them. So even if a debt collector attempts to request payment from you, thereâd be no legal obligation to pay.
The catch is that any debts left outstanding would be deducted from the estateâs assets. If your parents were substantially in debt when they passed away, repaying them from the estate may leave little or no assets for you to inherit.
But you should know that you can inherit debt that you were already legally responsible for while your parents were alive. For instance, if you cosigned a loan with them or opened a joint credit card account or line of credit, those debts are legally yours just as much as they are your parents. So, once they pass away, youâd be solely responsible for repaying them.
And itâs also important to understand what responsibility you may have for covering long-term care costs incurred by your parents while they were alive. Many states have filial responsibility laws that require children to cover nursing home bills, though they arenât always enforced. Talking to your parents about long-term care planning can help you avoid situations where you may end up with an unexpected debt to pay.
Can I Inherit Debt From My Children?
The same rules that apply to inheriting debt from parents typically apply to inheriting debts from children. Any debts remaining would be paid using assets from their state.
Otherwise, unless you cosigned for the debt, then you wouldnât be obligated to pay. On the other hand, if you cosigned private student loans, a car loan or a mortgage for your adult child who then passed away, as cosigner youâd technically have a legal responsibility to pay them. Federal student loans are an exception.
If your parents took out a PLUS loan to pay for your higher education costs and something happens to you, the Department of Education can discharge that debt due to death. And vice versa, if your parents pass away then any PLUS loans they took out on your behalf could also be discharged.
Can I Inherit Debts From My Spouse?
When marriage and money mix, the lines on inherited debt can get a little blurred. The same basic rule that applies to other situations applies here: if you cosigned or took out a joint loan or line of credit together, then youâre both equally responsible for the debt. If one of you passes away, the surviving spouse would still have to pay.
But what about debts that are in one spouseâs name only? Thatâs where itâs important to understand how living in a community property state can affect your liability for marital debts. If you live in a community property state, debts incurred after the marriage by one spouse can be treated as a shared financial obligation. So if your spouse opened up a credit card or took out a business loan, then passed away you could still be responsible for paying it. On the other hand, debts incurred by either party before the marriage wouldnât be considered community debt.
Consider Getting Help If You Need It
If a parent, spouse, sibling or other family member passes away, it can be helpful to talk to an attorney if youâre being pressured by debt collectors to pay. An attorney who understands debt collection laws and estate planning can help you determine what your responsibilities are for repaying debts and how to handle creditors.
The Bottom Line
Whether or not youâll inherit debt from your parents, child, spouse or anyone else largely hinges on whether you cosigned for that debt or live in a community property state in the case of married couples. If youâre concerned about inheriting debts, consider talking to your parents, children or spouse about how those financial obligations would be handled if they were to pass away. Likewise, you can also discuss what financial safety nets you have in place to clear any debts you may leave behind, such as life insurance.
Tips for Estate Planning
- Consider talking to a financial advisor about how to manage and pay off debts you owe or any debts you might inherit from someone else. If you donât have a financial advisor yet, finding one doesnât have to be difficult. SmartAssetâs financial advisor matching tool can help you connect with an advisor in your local area. It takes just a few minutes to get your personalized advisor recommendations online. If youâre ready, get started now.
- The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act caps the statute of limitations for unpaid debt collections at a maximum of six years, although most states specify a much shorter time frame. However, some debt collectors buy so-called zombie debts for pennies on the dollar and then â unscrupulously â try to collect on them. Hereâs how to deal with such operators.
Photo credit: Â©iStock.com/NiseriN, Â©iStock.com/AndreyPopov, Â©iStock.com/FatCamera
The post Can I Inherit Debt? appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.
Workplaces have always evolved with technology, trends, and research. The changing environment of our global economy and advances in technology mean organizations have to adapt to stay competitive. This also means employees should keep their eyes forward and focus on the skills that will keep them employed and open new career opportunities.Â
Looking into our immediate future, weâre seeing offices embrace telecommuting tools and implement flexible schedules to retain qualified employees and maintain social responsibility for the health and wellness of their teams.Â
With increasing reliance on technology, weâre also seeing a large shift towards prioritizing soft skills. Early adopters of artificial intelligence technology are reporting a 16 percent increase in the need for business leadership roles as the need for researchers drops and advanced technology fills the gap.Â
The best way to prepare for the office of the future is to set career goals and develop new skills, like how to run a productive meeting and collaborate within a team to increase productivity. Taking ownership of your skills and output can impress your manager and set you up for success when you negotiate your salary at your next performance review.Â
Read more about workplace trends and how to invest in your future below:
Sources: Global Workplace Analytics | NPR | CareerBuilder | SHRM | Gartner | Gensler | Lifesize | KFF | Cengage | Deloitte | IWG | World Economic Forum | Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
The post The Workplace of the Future: How to Prepare and Preserve Your Career appeared first on MintLife Blog.
With cold weather approaching, it’s time to take a couple days and get your home ready for the winter weather. To help you get started, here is a checklist with some of the most important tasks to get your house ready for the snow and cold.
Check for Leaks
In the winter, you want to make sure your home is a fortress. You don’t want any of your precious heat escaping, and you don’t want any of the winter weather getting in. To help you figure out your home’s leaky spots, you can hire a professional to do an energy audit on your home. This is a great option if you don’t have the time, or the desire to climb on your roof.
Windows: Swap out your screen windows for storm windows. During that process, check around your windows to make sure they are well sealed. To help identify small gaps, carefully hold a lit match or lighter a couple inches from the frame of the window. Move the flame around, always making sure it’s a safe distance from surfaces and fabrics, and watch for the flame to “dance.” If the flame moves, there is air movement in that spot. Use caulk to seal around the frame, or use a plastic window insulation kit to cover an entire window.
Heavy curtains will help keep more heat from escaping through your windows.
Doors: Replace your screen doors with storm doors. Again, check the seals during that process. If you can see any light around your doors, you have a significant gap for warm air to escape. Even if you can’t see any light, you still want to check the rubbery weather stripping around the door. If it’s brittle or cracking, it’s not doing its job. Installing a new weather stripping kit from a hardware store is a quick fix to make sure your doors are sealed.
Ducts: As time goes by, seals on duct work can come loose. Check your duct work to make sure your ducts aren’t letting any heat out into your attic, which can cause snow to melt and refreeze as ice dams on your roof.
Roof: Before winter arrives is a great time to check your roof for the season. Climb up (or at least get on a high ladder) and examine the shingles. Replace any that are missing or broken.
SEE ALSO: Who Knew's How to Prepare Your House for Winter
Make Sure Your Heating Systems Work
Furnace: Before it gets too cold, have your heating system checked out by a professional. The first really chilly day of winter is not the time to figure out your heater isn’t working. Have a heating and air company come out, check the systems, and change the filters, and you’ll be ready for Old Man Winter when he arrives.
Water Heater: The end of fall is a great time to drain your water heater. This should get done once a year, so if you haven’t done it recently, make sure you do before you find you only have really cold water in your house.
Chimney: If you have a chimney, make sure you sweep it (or have it professionally swept) before lighting any fires for the season. Removing the excess soot, as well as the birds and animals that made their homes in chimneys throughout the year, will help prevent fires and smoke damage. Also, examine the damper to make sure it’s still looking good. If it’s bent or warped, warm air will be able to escape through the chimney.
Reverse Ceiling Fans: If you have ceiling fans, now is the time to reverse them. Putting them in reverse will help blow down warm air that would otherwise be stuck near the ceiling, which will likely mean you can turn your heat down a degree or two.
If your fan runs on a remote, there is likely a button on the remote to switch the direction. If your fan runs on a switch, look for a small toggle or switch on the fan motor to make the change.
Be Ready Outdoors
Gutters: Make sure your gutters are ready to handle the winter precipitation. Empty the fallen leaves and anything else that has gathered in the gutters. Make sure they are secure to the roof, and repair them as needed. Also, make sure the drain pipe from your gutters is long enough and directing winter rains and melting snow away from your home’s foundation.
Water Lines: Prevent burst pipes by turning off all exterior water lines or insulating the pipes. If you have a sprinkler or irrigation system, drain the lines to make sure no water is left to damage the underground lines.
RELATED: Domestic CEO's Fall and Winter Home Maintenance Checklist
Tools: Be ready to get yourself out of the house by making sure all your winter tools are in good working condition. Turn on the snow blower, visually check the shovels, and stock up on salt or deicers. Having everything in its place and ready to go will give you a good start on digging out from a big blizzard.
Prepare Your Safety Kits
Pantry: During the winter, it’s always a good idea to keep extra food supplies in your pantry in case a big storm prevents you from getting to the store. Boxed and canned foods are the best because they take no electricity to store (in case that goes out), and have a long shelf life. Stock your pantry with a week’s worth of pastas, canned fruits and vegetables, soups, rice, beans, and bottled water, and you’ll be ready if the big one hits your town.
Boxed and canned foods are the best food to keep in stock because they take no electricity to store (in case that goes out), and have a long shelf life.
Lights: If a winter storm takes out your electricity, make sure you are ready with flashlights and candles to light your home. Keep flashlights in every room, and teach your kids where they are in case they need to find them in the dark.
Heat: If you have a wood burning fireplace, keep a solid stash of wood ready in case your power goes out. If you are in an area prone to losing power, you may also want to invest in a generator to run your furnace a couple hours a day during power outages. A good stash of blankets and comforters will help you get through chilly days and cold nights.
Detectors: Winter means an increase of home fires and carbon monoxide leaks. Make sure you and your family are protected by replacing the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and testing them before winter hits.
All the tasks on this list are important to get done before the snow starts falling. If you don’t have the time to do them all, hire a trusted professional to help you knock a few off tasks off your list. You’ll be thankful that you have everything done and ready as soon as the first big storm hits.
I’m the Domestic CEO, helping you love your home.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
A couple years ago, I was invited to participate in a focus group. I visited in-person along with about 15 other people. For two hours, we vented all of our feelings about the ways a particular health insurance company interacts with its customer base.
At the end, we each walked out with $125. The health insurance company wanted consumer feedback on their products and customer service, and it compensated us for providing our insights.
Focus groups can be a lucrative side hustle when you break down per-hour pay. You get to be a part of a companyâs market research efforts, magnifying your opinion above those of other potential consumers.
These days, you donât have to participate in paid focus groups in person. During the pandemic and beyond, you can use online focus group platforms to earn anywhere from $20 to as much as $600 per hour.
Online Focus Groups: a Viable Side Hustle
Focus groups can pay extremely well for the amount of time you actually âwork.â They can provide surges of side hustle income all at once.
However, theyâre not likely to sustain you in lieu of traditional income. Earnings can be extremely inconsistent. First of all, you wonât qualify for every survey, as each focus group has a specific demographic itâs targeting.
Often, though not always, the highest-paying surveys also have the most exclusive demographic requirements. The company may be looking to work with construction foremen who work with specific brands of equipment, for example, or with mobile app developers who use a specific type of programming.
In addition, some consumer research companies will only allow you to participate in one focus group every six months.
Just because work is sporadic doesnât make this a bad side hustle. When the money does come in, youâre getting paid so much per hour that itâs worth setting aside 30 to 90 minutes of your time.
What You Do in a Paid Focus Group
Most focus groups require between 30 minutes and 90 minutes of work. When youâre doing a focus group remotely, you may be asked to fill out a multiple choice survey. Most of the time, though, youâll complete a phone or Zoom interview with a live person.
Topics for focus groups are unlimited: You could find yourself answering questions about your favorite margarita recipe, how youâre coping with pandemic parenting or a survey related to your profession.
Some focus groups may require you to dedicate some time outside the interview itself. For example, you might have to give a specific product a test run or keep a journal of your experiences. This extra time is often accounted for in the compensation.
Where to Find Online Focus Group Jobs
All of the following focus group companies currently have online opportunities. In the past, many national opportunities could be completed remotely. But during the pandemic, even most of the city-specific assignments are virtual, too.
These market research companies pay well for your time and consistently update listings for more opportunities. We surveyed current listings for hourly pay and estimated average hourly pay given the jobs currently available.
An overwhelming percentage of the focus group opportunities listed on Respondent are remote. The majority of the listings are not city-specific, allowing you to qualify regardless of where you live.
Current job listings range between $20 and $400 per hour, with the average focus group paying around $120 per hour.
WatchLAB doesnât have as many opportunities listed, but it does regularly update its inventory on its Facebook page.
Jobs are often city specific, though there is a wide variety of cities with opportunities available. Even city-specific assignments have been primarily remote through the pandemic.
Pay for WatchLAB focus groups ranges from $60 to $150 per hour, with the average focus group paying around $100 per hour.
Focusscope is another smaller consumer research company. It updates its users regularly about new opportunities on its Facebook page, and most studies are now completed remotely.
Focusscope pays $75 to $250 per focus group, with an average payout of $100.
FindFocusGroups.com isnât a consumer research company in and of itself. Instead, itâs a job listing board. It aggregates current opportunities available across the country, and allows consumer research companies to submit listings.
You can search these focus group listings by state. For example, the pay range for current listings in Pennsylvania is $65 to $160 per hour. The average focus group pays around $100 per hour.
If youâre looking for online or over-the-phone focus group opportunities, User Interviewsâ listings are plentiful. However, compared to the other companies on this list, more of these focus group opportunities are in-person. Use filters while you search to ensure youâre only being shown the remote opportunities.
A portion of the listings on User Interviews are medical studies rather than focus groups.
Participating in medical trials can be another lucrative way to hustle together some extra cash.
Listings on User Interviews pay between $25 and $600 per hour â though very few studies get close to the $600 mark. The average focus group pays $60 per hour.
Brynne Conroy is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.
Building business credit isnât the same as your personal credit. Hereâs what you need to know to do it so your business can start financing purchases.Building business credit isnât the same as your personal credit. Hereâs what you need to know to do it so your business can start financing purchases.
The post How To Build Business Credit Fast The Right Way appeared first on Money Under 30.
Did you know that more than 500,000 Americans declare bankruptcy each year? While unfortunate, itâs helpful to know that you are not alone when it comes to dealing with bankruptcy. Even after your bankruptcy is…
The post How Long Does Bankruptcy Stay on Your Credit Report? (And How to Get It Removed Early) appeared first on Crediful.
College is expensive and everyone knows that.
Between paying for tuition, parking, textbooks, extra fees, and everything else, you also have basic living expenses to pay for as well.
All of these costs are either brand new or somewhat new to you most likely as well, so you might not even know how to survive on a budget, let alone a college budget.
Don’t worry, though, surviving on a college budget is possible. Learning how to save money in college is possible!
Related post: How I Paid Off $40,000 In Student Loans In 7 Months
Whether you are trying to survive the whole year off of what you made over the summer or if you have a steady job throughout the school year, there are ways to budget your money and not fall into any extra debt. Plus, you can still enjoy your college years on a low budget as well!
Below are my tips on how to survive on a college budget.
Use your student ID.
Your student ID is good at many places beyond just your college campus. Before you buy anything, I highly recommend seeing if a company offers a student discount.
Your student ID can be used to save money at restaurants, clothing stores, electronics (such as laptops!), at the movies, and more. You may receive a discount, free items, and more all just by flashing your student ID.
After all, you are paying to go to college and you are paying a lot. You might as well reap one benefit of paying all of those high college costs.
Make extra money.
You may need to look into making extra money if you just don’t have enough to survive on. I am a firm believer in making extra money and I think extra time can be wisely spent doing this.
Some online side gigs with flexible schedules include:
- Blogging is how I make a living and just a few years ago I never thought it would be possible. I made over $150,000 last year by blogging and will make more than that in 2015. You can create your own blog here with my easy-to-use tutorial. You can start your blog for as low as $3.49 per month plus you get a free domain if you sign-up through my tutorial.
- Survey companies I recommend include Survey Junkie, American Consumer Opinion, Product Report Card, Pinecone Research, Opinion Outpost, and Harris Poll Online. They’re free to join and free to use! It’s best to sign up for as many as you can because that way you can receive the most surveys and make the most money.
- InboxDollars is an online rewards website I recommend. You can earn cash by taking surveys, playing games, shopping online, searching the web, redeeming coupons, and more. Also, by signing up through my link, you will receive $5.00 for free!
- Swagbucks is something I don’t use as much, but I do earn Amazon gift cards with very little work. Swagbucks is just like using Google to do your online searches, except you get rewarded points called “SB” for the things you do through their website. Then, when you have enough points, you can redeem them for cash, gift cards, and more. You’ll receive a free $5 bonus just for signing up today!
- Check out 75 Ways To Make Extra Money for more ideas.
- Read Best Online Jobs For College Students
Use coupons to stay on a college budget.
Just like with the above, you may want to start using coupons.
By doing so, you can save money on nearly everything. You can find coupons in newspapers, online, and in the mail. They are everywhere so you should have no problem finding them and saving money today.
Related post: How To Live On One Income
Learn how to correctly use a credit card or don’t have one at all.
Many college students fall into credit card debt, but I don’t want you to be one of them.
Many college students will start relying on their credit cards in order to get them through their low college budget, but this can lead to thousands of dollars of credit card debt which will eventually seem impossible to get out of due to significant interest charges that keep building up.
In order to never get into this situation, you should avoid credit cards at all costs if you think you will rely on them too heavily.
You should think long and hard about whether you should have one or not. Just because many others have them doesn’t mean they know what they’re doing! However, if you think you will be good at using them, then there are many advantages of doing so.
Related post: Credit Card Mistakes That Can Lead To Debt
Only take out what you need in student loans.
Many students take out the full amount in student loans that they are approved for even if they only need half.
This is a HUGE mistake. You should only take out what you truly need, as you will need to pay back your student loans one day and you will most likely regret it later.
I know someone who would take out the max amount each semester and buy timeshares, go on expensive vacations, and more. It was a huge waste of money and I’m still not even sure why they thought it was a good idea.
Just think about it – If you take out an extra $2,000 a semester, that means you will most likely take out almost $20,000 over the time period that you are in college.
Do you really want to owe THAT much more in student loans?
Skip having a car.
Most campuses have everything you need in order to survive – food, stores, and jobs. In many cases, you do not need to have a car whatsoever.
By foregoing a car, you may save money on monthly payments, maintenance costs, car insurance, gas, and more.
Related post: Should We Get Rid Of A Car And Just Have One?
Eat out less.
Now, I’m not saying you should stop eating out entirely if you are trying to survive on a college budget. I know how it is to be in college and to want to hang out with everyone. These are your college years after all.
However, you should try to eat in as much as you can, make your own meals, and try to eat out only during happy hours or when food is cheaper, such as during lunch time. Eating out can ruin your college budget!
Have a roommate.
The more people you live with, generally the less you will pay when it comes to rent and utilities. If you are living on your own, then you may want to find roommates so that you can split the costs with them.
This will help you to lower your college budget and you may even find some awesome friends.
Related post: What I Learned Having Roommates
What college budget tips do you have?
The post Learning How To Survive On A College Budget appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.
While each person’s experience in 2020 has been unique, I bet many of you lived through some version of the following:
One day you were in an office, shaking hands, having in-person meetings, and serving a known set of customer needs. And the next day, your home was your office, Zoom was your conference room, handshakes were lethal, and customer needs were being completely reinvented.
Change has become our everything. Get ready to be stretched.
Prior to 2020, you could still get by as a great performer at work even if you were a little resistant to change. But now? Not so much. Change has become our everything. And if it’s not something you naturally lean into, then the time has come to fix it. Stat.
So if you’re someone whose default has been 'I don’t want to learn this new system, process, or way of engaging with customers…', then get ready to be stretched. If you want your career to continue to soar, you’re going to need to be able to roll with change.
Resisting change is natural
If you find it hard to get comfortable with change, you're not alone.
When my kids were babies, getting them to try new foods was an experience. After they spit spoon after spoon of strained peas or carrots back into my face, I talked to my pediatrician. I learned it would take seven to eight experiences with a new food before my baby would begin to like it, or at least stop spitting it at me.
In our work lives, we’re not always offered a grace period of seven to eight exposures to a new idea.
This is due to the mere-exposure effect. While we may like or appreciate some things out of the gate (hello, chocolate fudge sundaes), our natural inclination is often to resist anything that feels different. But more exposure equals more comfort. We're wired to prefer the familiar and comfortable.
But in our work lives, we’re not always offered a grace period of seven to eight exposures to a new idea before we have to adopt it.
So let’s talk about actions you can take to open your mind and expand your comfort zone with change.
1. Scope the change
Sometimes “a change is coming” can sound like “the sky is falling.” But usually, the blue abyss above stays put. So let’s start by putting change into perspective.
Before you panic, check the sky. Is it still there? Phew! You’re OK.
Your boss just told you that you’ll be reporting to a new team. Or you’re switching to a new people-management system, or you’ll be managing a new product or account. Before you panic, check the sky. Is it still there? Phew! You’re OK.
Start by asking yourself what's really changing and what’s staying the same. You may have a new boss or new relationships to manage, but your day-to-day responsibilities aren’t shifting.
You may have a new system to learn, but the data it’s tracking, the reporting it offers—how different will they really be? Your skills will carry over.
So start by putting some boundaries around the change. This should help you take a deep breath. Now, let’s charge ahead!
2. Find your bright spots
When my kids—the spitters of pureed peas and carrots—began remote schooling this year, the change was all kinds of unwelcome. They missed friends. Their new homeroom teacher (yours truly) was highly unqualified. Everything felt messed up.
But I asked them to spend a few minutes finding and focusing on the bright spots. Because every change has bits of sparkle.
Focusing on bright spots helps open your mind, readying it for the change ahead.
They came up with extra sleep (don’t we all need it?!), jammies all day, and breakfast and lunch in bed. (Yes, we've let go of the reins a bit here at my house.)
Maybe for you, it’s the opportunity to add fluency in a new system to your resume, or to build your reputation with a new leader, team, or customer base. What’s something you can get excited about?
Big or small, focusing on bright spots helps open your mind, readying it for the change ahead.
3. Acknowledge the pains and challenges of change
Do focus on the upside. But not at the expense of acknowledging and preparing for the challenges. Don’t put your head in the sand.
If this triggers mild concern or anxiety, don’t push that down. Give it space. Address it.
We resist change for a reason. There will be growing pains. Transitioning to a new system does provide you with new opportunities. But there will also be a learning curve. It will take time, focus, and effort. You’ll be pushed out of your comfort zone. If this triggers mild concern or anxiety, don’t push that down. Give it space. Address it.
Part of gaining comfort with change is giving yourself a chance to master it. The only way to master change is to resolve and repair pain points. We can’t resolve what we can’t see, so give yourself the space to list out every single thing, big or small, that scares or challenges you.
RELATED: Why Negative Emotions Aren't All Bad
What might live on your list?
- Finding time to learn a new system
- Having to build new relationships virtually
- Feeling like a novice after years of feeling like an expert
4. Identify actions within your locus of control
Part of what makes change feel scary is the sense of losing control.
According to the Harvard Business Review:
Many employees have had to abruptly accept fundamental changes to their work routines. And these changes have been stressful… because [they have] stripped people of their autonomy… [which] is detrimental for employee performance and well-being.
In other words, it’s normal to crave a sense of autonomy, of control. So here is where you focus on what you can control, and you make it happen.
Look at your sources of anxiety or discomfort. Identify tangible actions you can take to close the gap or minimize the pain of change.
When I left the world of full-time employment to start my own business, I was terrified of managing that change, even though I’d been the one to initiate it. But as a taker of my own medicine, I followed this very process. And when I arrived at this step, I identified a series of actions in my control.
Here’s a sampling of what I came up with
- Invite every small business owner I know to coffee and pick their brain
- Read one book per month on a relevant topic—consulting, marketing, pricing, etc.
- Hire a coach to help me learn to build
- Hire a lawyer to ensure I don’t step off a cliff
You get the idea. I was stepping into the unknown. But by identifying a series of actions designed to get me incrementally closer to known, I was re-establishing a sense of autonomy and control.
Maybe you have to learn a new system and you’re afraid it will be complicated. What steps can you take to close the gap? What can you control?
5. Commit positive change experiences to memory
I reflect on the days of smushed peas and carrots. Mostly, it was gross. But once in a blue moon, a baby would accidentally swallow a mouthful. And I was nothing but jazz hands.
Turns out, my jazz-hands-enthusiasm was accidental genius because now, baby associated mush with entertaining Mommy gymnastics. For her it became fun. And over time she downed more mush.
And really, that’s kind of your goal.
When you have your first positive experience with that new system, even if it was an accident, make a note of it. When your first client lights up at the description of that new product feature, capture that.
These winning moments add up over time. And suddenly one day you realize: Hey, these smashed peas and carrots are kinda delish! Who knew?