How to Know When It’s Time to Change

UPDATED: March 25, 2020
PUBLISHED: May 10, 2017
How to Know When It’s Time to Change

At some point in our lives, we all experience this moment. Some consider it rock bottom. Others, a divine crossroads. For everyone, a tipping point is a sometimes inexplicable conjuncture when change is required. Mom always said: Change is painful but necessary.

Related: 4 Powerful Habits That Will Change Your Life

A crisis—whether self-imposed or coming from an external source like illness, job loss or natural disaster—can inspire the reflection required to turn your life around. More often, a tipping point is the buildup of bad habits that come full circle into an epiphany, personal crisis, physical illness or destructive behavior.


Crisis can inspire the reflection required to turn your life around.


If you sense your world is collapsing, or an aspect of your life is just too much, here is what you do:

  • Be grateful. Thank whatever forces to which you ascribe (including those making you crazy) for the opportunity to grow and change.
  • Feel the feels. Embrace the anger, fatigue, resentment or fear that plagues you. There are no wrong emotions. Emotions can be tools for positive change.
  • Identify exactly what is wrong. Acknowledge that you are the common denominator.
  • Humble yourself. Let go of ideas about how your relationship, job and lifestyle should be. Accept how it is, and open yourself to the notion that the situation can be better than you can imagine on your own.


Chris DegenaarsChris Degenaars

19; content and social media strategist for small businesses; Dallas

For years, depression meant I struggled to find motivation to get out of bed, talk or do anything. I turned to cocaine and pills to try and find happiness. When I did go out, I was constantly getting in trouble—being arrested for underage drinking, in-school suspensions and associating with all-around bad influences who accepted drugs and alcohol. In January 2016 one of my old friends—one of the happiest and most outgoing guys I knew—committed suicide. That hit me hard. The day I found out, I flushed the cocaine and pills, deleted and blocked all of the people I was hanging out with [on social media], and I began meditating and attending church regularly. Since then, I’ve dedicated myself to making other people happy through my blog and helping drive awareness of mental illnesses. Professionally, I became the right-hand man to the CEO of my company and contribute to my industry website.

Jennifer DavisJennifer Davis

51; certified leadership coach; Hopewell, New Jersey

I grew up being a perfectionist, Type-A workaholic: high school valedictorian, Wall Street investment banker, never got a B, Stanford University Business School, thriving in high-pressure consulting jobs. The true catalyst for change was when one of my three teenagers was struggling, and for the first time in my life, I had absolutely no idea what to do. That was when I started therapy and realized that I had been basing my career and life on what I thought I should be doing and what society and my family expected of me versus what I truly wanted. This gave me the perspective and strength to pursue a coaching career and energy work instead of returning to my corporate career. In my new work, I see myself as successful as I travel on my path and honor my truth as opposed to salary, number of clients, or other more traditional measures that I had been used to. It brings me great joy to read testimonials from my clients that mirror my stated life purpose. This is how I am making a difference in people’s lives, which is incredibly gratifying.

Ashley HillAshley Hill

30; owner of ALH Group, a college preparation company; Cincinnati

After I started my business in July 2010, I was struggling with how to expand. Several years ago revenue slowed significantly, and I contemplated quitting. Instead I asked my current clients what they really needed from me most, and I learned that the answer was just one component of what I offered: strategic scholarship consulting. As a result, I niched way down to focus only on this service, and sales have grown, along with brand awareness—so much so that I was able to quit my corporate job and focus only on growing my business.

Related: How To: Change Yourself in Positive Ways


This article originally appeared in the June 2017 issue of SUCCESS magazine.

Emma Johnson is a business journalist, gender-equality activist, and founder of the world's largest community of single moms, Emma and her best-selling book, The Kickass Single Mom, and her organization, Moms for Shared Parenting, have been featured in hundreds of national and international media outlets.