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  • Mary Jaensch


Mary Wallace Jaensch

“I’ve a feeling that we are not in Kansas…We must be over the rainbow!” Dorothy, Wizard of Oz

The truth is that Dorothy had to leave Kansas to get to OZ. In her case, it took a tornado to launch her out of the familiar and start her on a new journey. I believe that we all have the same opportunity to move beyond the known and familiar to discover and create new bold technicolor possibilities for our work and lives that will offer us greater satisfaction, happiness and meaning. My question: why wait for a tornado to get you started on your way?

For most of us, moving past the familiar to the unknown is a challenge both because of our innate fears of the unknown and our comfort and familiarity with habit. Even when we have deep longings for something new or different, we wait for a tornado (a significant disruption in our lives or work) to create the energy to move forward. The challenge is that tornados are damaging and destructive as they clear the way. Over the past several years, I have found a simpler and easier approach to leaving Kansas less dramatically. I want to share that with you.

Escaping the Familiar

I have learned that finding the beginning of your next Yellow Brick Road starts with letting go of what you no longer need, even if it is something that holds great meaning for you. Like making space in a closet, we need to create emotional, mental, physical and energetic space for change and new possibilities. Recently, a mentor encouraged me to imagine letting go of my usual “suitcase” (black, hard-sided carry-on) for a new one (pink, soft case). My first thought was “Why can’t I keep both?” – a thought activated by fear and a scarcity mind-set. As I worked through my imaginative journey of switching bags and starting a new journey, I began to feel lighter and more open to looking around to see new people, places and things in my environment. I had to let go of the familiar to begin creating space for new ideas and possibilities.

Learning to let go of things consistently and persistently each day creates remarkable change over time. Let go of how you always do things and how you always think about things. Find small changes that you can make, and do them every day. Too often, we want to see enormous change quickly, but become paralyzed when we realize how much space we have to create in order to activate a big change. Small actions over time can create enormous change without the destruction of a tornado.

The recent Marie Kondo phenomenom of only keeping what brings you joy reflects how cluttered our work and lives are with what was useful but is no longer meaningful today. Letting go of what no longer best serves you is key to realizing your next dreams and creating the work and life that calls you today.

Start Down Your Yellow Brick Road – 3 Hacks

Finding the start to your to your next Oz starts with being willing to leave Kansas. You can wait for a tornado, or take control of the change by letting go of familiar ways of doing and being. Practice creating space for new possibilities every day and watch how your life changes as you move toward the Oz you now desire.

Here are a few ideas for traveling toward your next Oz:

· Start with a vision that encompasses work and your life: As inspiration to begin letting go of what no longer serves you best, create a new vision of your life and work that inspires and energizes you. It is always easier to move toward something you desire than to focus on moving away from a familiar situation that drains you.

· Let go of what no longer serves you - persistently: Practice letting go of one familiar thing every day. Start small: take a new way to work, start your day differently, add 5 minute break for meditation, etc. The power is in the persistence of making small changes daily. Check out Slight Edge by Jeff Olson and John David Mann for more insight into why this is so effective.

· Notice the changes that energize you: Begin to catalogue and then persist with changes that inspire and energize you. Make them your new default. It takes repetition to create new neural pathways and defaults. The good news – if they feel good, it is easier to do them again and again.

Life is a series of leaving familiar Kansas and discovering a new Oz. Learning to move through these cycles without relying on tornados keeps you in charge of your own pace and direction. I’m looking forward to seeing you on the journey to our next Yellow Brick Roads.

If you want to learn more about what might be getting in your way to finding your next Yellow Brick Road, check out the quiz at:

Ready to create your next career chapter? join me on September 25 in NYC for “Green Light Your Next Career Chapter LIVE! A full day of interactive, hands-on opportunities to design and activate your next career chapter.” For more information:

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