Basking in the Valley of Your New Normal
Written by Lisa Montanaro | April 30, 2014

There’s a concept that keeps coming up lately when I’m doing coaching and consulting with my clients. It’s the concept of experiencing the valley of your “new normal.” It could be a huge change that you’re making to your business, like adding on a new income stream, or closing down a division that no longer gets you jazzed. Or maybe it’s changing careers or getting a promotion that you’ve been dying for, but are scared to death of now that you’ve been handed it. Maybe you’re relocating, starting a new relationship, getting organized, or working on a health and fitness plan.

change_aheadWhenever there’s a change in our lives, careers or business, it often seems daunting to us. We look at this change as if it’s a huge mountain that’s steep, scary, and unfamiliar. We have no idea what lies on the other side. We try to visualize what type of valley might be on other side, but it can be just too scary. All we may see is that huge mountain in our way. Many people hyper focus on the details of what it will take to scale that mountain — and fake themselves out, so they stay put, and sadly never take the first step.

Think back to any major change in your life, career, or business. Assuming that you’re on the other side of that change, you’re now experiencing what I like to call your new normal. It just seems… “normal” to you now. But at one point, it wasn’t normal to you at all. It was completely unfamiliar, uncertain, and unknown.

climbing_mountainI’ve experienced many major changes in my business, career, and life. I left a career as a lawyer to start a business as an entrepreneur in 2002. That huge mountain was looming ahead of me, taunting me. In order to scale that mountain, I had to plan ahead in so many different ways. It took a lot of blood, sweat, and tears.

At some point a few years into my business, I thought back and remembered what it was like to be on the other side of the mountain before I launched my business. And then I just chuckled incredulously because by that point, I was on the other side — in the valley of my new normal. And all of a sudden, it didn’t seem like such a big deal. Sure, I remember all the work that it took. I remember all the fears that I had to overcome. I’m not trying to make light of it, but from the valley of my new normal, it just seemed like what it was supposed to be, especially from the perspective of looking through the rear view mirror. In some ways, it was difficult to even conjure up the feelings of standing before that mountain years ago.

My husband and I relocated to California from New York in July 2012. Again, the idea of selling our home of 10 years in NY, relocating my business 3,000 miles across the country, leaving my friends and family, and acclimating to a whole new place to live seemed like quite a mountain to cross. Literally, we crossed many mountains by car in order to make that passage. And figuratively, there was a major acclimation period.

In fact, I think that’s exactly what’s happening as we cross the mountains between our old normal and our new normal. Most people would call that a time of acclimation. It’s after you adjust to your change that you get to finally bask in the valley of your new normal. And that’s often when we look back with rose colored glasses. Be careful not to do that. Don’t forget all the planning and hard work that it took to get you there. I’m not trying to belittle the change or transformation that you go through. I’m just trying to remind you that if you’re looking up at a huge mountain and you can’t even imagine how you’re going to get the other side of it, remember all the times when you successfully scaled a mountain in the past. Remember what it feels like to be in the valley of your new normal. And then get your hiking boots on, and take that first step.

I’ll see you on the other side.

Meet the Author

Helping others be the best versions of themselves gets me jazzed!

I’ve worn many hats in my lifetime—often at the same time—while enjoying fulfilling careers. I’ve been a performer, teacher, sign language instructor, lawyer, career counselor, law professor, coach, consultant, mediator, entrepreneur, speaker, trainer, writer, and author. 

I’m an eternal optimist and life-long learner, constantly researching ways to improve personal and professional effectiveness. And it brings me great joy to then pass on the results of that persistent curiosity to my clients and audiences. 

Of all the career hats I’ve been privileged to wear, my favorite is owner of this business since 2002. Why? Because it provides me the opportunity to work with wonderful organizational and individual clients. On any given day, I get to connect deeply with audiences, work with dedicated teams, improve workplaces, watch clients have a-ha moments, and know I’ve made a difference in their lives and careers. And that is very satisfying.