Is it time to start reimagining your life? Start with a checklist

I have been fortunate to have the freedom of choice in my life and it has steered me through a life I enjoyed. I chose a place to settle down and start my own financial planning and wealth management firm, and I was happy both professionally and personally.

Until I wasn’t.

Now, that might sound like I had reached a negative spot in my life, but in reality, I had just reached a point where I was ready to pivot.

I often talk to clients about their big dreams and what the picture of their ideal life looks like to them. We talk about how it’s possible to take their dreams that feel like “someday” dreams and start making them happen now.

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How did I reimagine my life? After visiting with some friends who had retired to their dream location and others still working who relocated because they wanted to, I realized I was ready to do the same for myself.

Instead of waiting until I retired to make the move, I started reimagining how I could still run my firm as efficiently as if I were in the main office but do so from a place where the palm trees and ocean were just a step from my front door. Now I successfully run and manage my Kansas-based firm from Naples, Fla.

Many people would feel comfortable reimagining their life when a major shift leaves them ready for the process. That may be retirement, divorce or something else that acts as a natural end to one segment of your life and leaves you open to a new direction.

For me, I realized that you can reimagine life at any moment. You don’t have to wait for the perfect time to come along, and if you feel the desire to move in a different direction at any time in life and for any reason, then that becomes the only shift you need. Consider these questions:·

▪ Are you living your ideal life?

▪ Are there changes in your life you are scared to make?

▪ Do you feel that reimagining your life sounds great for some people but wouldn’t work for you?

▪ Will you be satisfied at the end of your life if you stay on the same path you’re currently on?

After I made the move, I found the book “Life Reimagined” by Richard Leider and Alan Webber. This is a book that focuses on many of the principles I have implemented in my own life and I think it could be valuable to people who feel stuck or who feel that life is happening to them based on the natural progression of age, rather than making intentional choices to live how they want each day.

It provides a map for starting to reimagine your life and asks you to reflect, connect, explore, choose, re-pack and act.

The book talks about how fear can hold people back from living the life they imagine. Many will be afraid to suggest a reimagined life to the people around them for fear they might get angry, think the idea to be silly or not buy into the same desire.

There may be many people in your life who must be considered if you choose to pivot in a new direction, but including them in the process, considering their questions and fears and allowing them to make suggestions that could enhance your vision means that you could end up with an even better outcome than your original “dream draft.”

There were two main parties that would be impacted by this move and I knew that all had to work together to make it successful. The first was my wife.

Instead of bringing up an intangible proposal, I did some research and presented her with tangible items to consider our reimagined life. This included potential homes in the target area, a schedule to visit our children and grandchildren and plane tickets to visit the area and see if it was a fit for our lives. Luckily, she agreed to this new adventure and we planned the transition together.

The second group was my work team.

We had already invested in research and technology to make remote offices work as seamlessly as our main office when both our vice president and director of marketing reimagined their lives in different locations. We implemented strategies that made it feel as if our remote employees were just down the hall.

For client meetings, the local team manages in-person meetings and plugs the remote employees in via video conference so that their physical absence is never felt.

Our clients even have the freedom to meet us remotely from their work or home, which makes an easy transition for those who don’t live in the area, who move away from our office or who don’t want to spend time commuting for a meeting. Thus, my move was not unique and having a new office on the east coast was an easy decision for the team.

Have you reached a point where you’re searching for something different than the life you’re living now? Are you ready for a “life reimagined” moment?

Michael J. Searcy is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNING™ professional and member of the Financial Planning Association of Greater Kansas City. He is president and CEO of Searcy Financial Services, Inc., a fee-only registered investment advisory and financial planning firm located in Overland Park and manages the company‘s Naples, Fla. location.