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A New Journey Begins: Anxious? Overwhelmed? Stressed? Don't Give Up!

By Ronnie Nijmeh

September: the month of change. Kids start a new grade or embark on their university or college careers while new graduates seek their first full-time job and adults start a new job or project. Emotions run high during this time of year and if you find yourself overwhelmed, good. You're normal!

It sure must feel lonely to think that you're embarking on a brand new chapter of your life all by yourself. The truth is, you're not, and that's exactly why you're normal.

Every year around this time you'll find families shuffling about collecting a new wardrobe or the latest gadgets for a fresh start to a new school year or career. Even the roads feel your pain as your formerly quiet commute now gives you a pounding headache since thousands more people pound the pavement (seemingly all at once, too!).

I know how you feel, let's face it, you don't need anyone to add any further stress to your life. You have enough! If anything, the goal of this article is to help reassure and encourage you to keep on going. It's okay to be flustered or nervous about starting something new.

Learn and Grow from Change

Change is one of the hardest things for people to accept. Ask yourself honestly, if you could remain the same forever, would you do it? It sure would be convenient to stay within your comfort zone.

I remember an old teacher telling a story of his daughter wanting to remain a young girl forever. She loved playing with her friends all day and living her life through the eyes of a child. She couldn't understand why she couldn't remain a young girl forever. Her father said: "If you were to stay the same, your friends would grow up and when they do, they wouldn't want to play with you anymore because you'll be too young for them."

She said: "Oh. Okay, then fine. I want grow up!"

When you put it this way, it sure sounds silly to completely avoid change. Life would pass us by and so, too, would the triumphs and trials of daily life. And while we may think we can do without any challenges, it's those very lessons that we learn from the most.

Let me repeat that: we learn from our failures and mistakes the most. While we strive to be perfect and give others a great first impression of our abilities and ourselves, we lose sight of the fact that it's okay to make mistakes. That's how we learn!

Now what about the challenges ahead? They sure seem daunting, don't they? A new place brings a whole new set of mysteries. A whole new set of mysteries brings feelings of uncertainty and uneasiness.

Questions of whether you will fit in or like the new environment will always be on your mind. These questions can make you nervous because your natural reaction is to spot the uncertain then dwell on it. But by accepting the fact that you cannot predict the future, you will empower yourself to make the best of today.

"Will I Fit In?"

We've all heard many times before to "be yourself" when meeting others for the first time. But it's more than simply being yourself; it's about being your positive self. Make it easy for others to enjoy your company. Take the time out to brighten the day of others by smiling as you wish them good morning. Focus on the positive and try your best to avoid complaining. Remember that others enjoy spending time with those who raise them up, not bring them down.

Also, people will enjoy your company if you enjoy theirs. Take an interest in them, their families, passions and work. Then listen to the answers! When you listen, listen actively and attentively.

"Will I Like the New Place?"

Leaving your comfort zone can make you feel vulnerable, but try to cling onto one thing that makes you feel comfortable. It could be as simple as a picture of a loved one or a handwritten note of your end goal.

While it's true that no one can force you to like anything, it's probably a good idea to be flexible at the outset. Remember that you will be more likely to feel at home when you don't criticize every little detail and instead try to make the best of every situation. At worst you will learn what you dislike, at best you will see past the negative and fit right in!

A Final Recap:

1. It's okay to feel overwhelmed, but it's not okay to paralyze yourself in fear. Keep moving. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Inch by inch, you will get closer to success.

2. Understand that you're not perfect; you can (and will) make mistakes. Just know that someone else has been in the same position as you and they, too, have made mistakes. Pick up yourself and move on.

3. Be your positive self and take an interest in others. People are attracted to positive people. Besides, you'll find yourself in a better state of mind too.

4. Open your eyes, heart and mind to the new environment. You may not instantly love the new experience, but at least you will learn a few lessons along the way. Best of luck to you on your journey!

About The Author
Ronnie Nijmeh is the executive director of ACQYR Skills (pronounced: "Acquire"), a report series on transferable skills that condenses hundreds of pages of information into a handy 16-page reference report. ACQYR Stress Relief and ACQYR Conflict Resolution are reports containing dozens of useful tips & tricks, interviews with experts, and case studies to help enhance your skill set. For more information, visit:

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