One of the biggest decisions a woman breadwinner will ever make is whether to relocate her life, her family, and, oftentimes, her career from one geographic location to another. As she moves up the corporate ladder or grows her business to an extraordinary place or experiences major life transitions like death, divorce, or financial devastation, relocation becomes an option that will have to be evaluated. So the question is:
Stay or go?
Once that question goes out, what most people do is this: they weigh the pros and cons, write down their options, look at scenarios based on “best case” situations, assume they have all the information they need and make a blanket decision for the option that, from go, was the choice they wanted to “be right” anyway. It’s clear why having a narrow focus or zeroing in on the option you want won’t work: it eliminates too many possibilities that could offer a more optimal solution than the one you’re looking at.
When deciding a relocation, here are three questions you can ask yourself to break out of a narrow frame and truly evaluate your options:
1) With the amount of money that I’ll be allocating to living expenses every single month, what would be the best usage of that money? This question widens A LOT. A- You’re not looking at rent/mortgage allocation alone. You now have a set amount of money that you can spend in ANY way you want and you might now see that if you moved to a cheaper place, you’d spend less on rent and mortgage and could now funnel the extra cash into a hobby, a new business, having more fun, or putting more money away for retirement of savings. This opens up a very different world of possibilities where you can evaluate the options of how to spend the money, not simply whether or not you move.
2) If I could no longer relocate to the places I’m considering AND I couldn’t stay where I am, what else could I do? Dan and Chip Heath (in a book called Decisive) identify this as The Vanishing Options Test. It forces you to come up with new options, to look at different alternatives, and to get out of the mode that says, “There are only two or three ways I can go here.” The moment you ask “What else…”, it opens up possibility.
3) How can I have BOTH? Sometimes, people want to live in a location because of the weather or the activities or the hustle and bustle of the city but that might be counter to the need for a great public school system or the peace and quiet of a rural area. When you start to look at how you can have BOTH, you begin to multi-track, i.e. look for ways to combine alternatives so you fall in love with the decision you wind up making. Wavering between two alternatives is usually a sign that you don’t love either of the choices. Keep searching and the best of both worlds eventually appears.
The most important thing you can remember about relocation is this: it’s NOT permanent. You might think that you’re moving to a particular place and you’re going to have to stay there the REST OF YOUR LIFE. Do a little research. You’ll quickly learn that most people relocate across states and across the country MULTIPLE times in their lives. You are never stuck, never held back, and while your zip code might be indicative of your lifestyle and your sense of self worth, it is not something that you must hold so fiercely to that you give up peace of mind, joy, and openness to change in order to have it.
You can have BOTH…