In January, I celebrated the fourth anniversary of living in Las Vegas. Frankly, I don’t think the oddsmakers would have bet on my love affair lasting this long.
For years I was one of those people who shunned this place. I blush when I think of the misconceptions I held. I was convinced (although not from actual experience) that it was nothing more than a shrine to tackiness.
My attitude began to change in 2002 when I decided to throw a birthday party for myself and picked Las Vegas because it seemed so ridiculous. The surprise was on me.
What I discovered on that celebratory weekend was that this was a creative hotbed. Although I had no aspirations to build a casino myself, I was fascinated by the entrepreneurial spirit that I saw blooming in the desert.
When I returned from my sabbatical in late 1999, I settled back in Minneapolis, but I felt my time there was coming to an end. No other place was really calling to me, but the hunt for my new hometown had begun.
After my granddaughter was born, I knew that I wanted to live closer to her family in California, but I decided against moving there. How about Las Vegas, I mused.
It seemed totally crazy at first. At the same time, I was ready to shake up my life and couldn’t imagine a place that was less like Minneapolis.
Once the decision was made, I was unprepared for the scorn and skepticism from other people. “Why are you moving to Las Vegas?” suddenly replaced, “What do I do about health insurance?” as my most frequently asked question.
I took this as a sign that I was making the right decision. As Paul Hawken says, “If everyone loves your idea, it’s too late.”
Then came the next challenge: I had only visited the city as a tourist. I had no idea about how to even begin my search for a home.
How it all came together, I now realize, is the same process that’s useful for making any kind of change. Whether you’re starting a new profit center, relationship or planning a trip, these steps will make moving on less stressful.
* Decide what will support your change. When I was floundering around in uncertainty, my daughter came up with the best suggestion. She said, “Why don’t you get a map of the city and plot out where things are that you’ll want to be close to?”
I did just that. I looked up addresses for post office branches, libraries, Target, and Trader Joe’s and marked them on my map. It was immediately obvious that the things I wanted access to all clustered in one area.
Seeing that on my map, made it easy to focus once I began looking. In making any change, begin by identifying what you want and need to have access to. You could mind map it for added clarity.
* Get help from someone who knows the territory. Just as my search began for a new home, I got an e-mail from Pat Egan who was visiting his mother and stepfather in Las Vegas.They proved to be just the link I needed.
I had met Sharon and Joe Cruse briefly in Minneapolis several months earlier. Transplanted Minnesotans themselves, they answered my questions and connected me with a real estate agent who showed me the house I now live in.
The biggest gift, however, was that Sharon was so enthusiastic about living here that my apprehensions (which had grown to massive proportions) disappeared.
* Allow discomfort. For the first several months, I thought I had moved to a foreign land. That passed as I found my way around, located places and people I loved.
I also took up a new hobby I called Get Lost on Purpose. From time to time I’d strike out with no destination, no map and see where I ended up. It’s a great way to exercise curiosity and alertness.
* Connect and share. I’d been warned that once I relocated, I’d have more visitors than I’d ever had in Minnesota. While that was true, I found that I really enjoyed being the insider and sharing my discoveries with tourist friends. Sharing my passions was a perfect way to nurture my own enthusiasm.
Although I’ve moved many times in my life, this one proved to be the best teacher I’ve had.
Throughout the month of May, I’ll be sharing more ideas about making change and moving on. I’m even planning to share a few stories about some of the bold dreamers who live in this place.
Can’t wait to see where the new theme takes me. Glad to have you along.