Change and uncertainty often go hand-in-hand, and right now, most people are experiencing a little (or a lot) of both!

When change occurs, especially so abruptly, it can be disorienting, even alarming. But change can also be liberating, freeing us from our habitual way of thinking about things and forcing us to reconsider the path we’ve taken and our options for the future.

If your professional prospects seem less bright at the moment or especially if you need some guidance, now can be the perfect time to explore “what if?”

What if you take a different approach with your business? What if you apply for a different position with another company? What if you go back to school? What if you explore that idea for a new investment or line of business that has been in the back of your mind for ages now?

You may be saying to yourself, “How can I possibly consider making such a major change while everything is so up in the air?” It’s anyone’s guess what tomorrow may bring, much less months from now. True, but that is precisely why now is the time to entertain new possibilities. If everything were status quo and going well for you, what incentive would have you have to change? (Exhibit A: all those plans and ideas you’ve had but never acted on.)

Granted, change involves risk. Deciding to make a major change can seem very daunting to tackle on your own. However, let me recommend to you a framework that you can utilize to guide your thinking and help your exploration. It is not a process but a variety of approaches to generating ideas.

1. Re-solve

Don’t be satisfied with “good enough” or the first solution that comes into your mind. When you “solve” something, it implies that there is only one solution. Examine the idea from different perspectives and consider multiple solutions.

2. Innovate

Humans crave novelty. Create something new (a vision, a plan, an idea). Remember, the “possible” is hidden in the “impossible.” Seek it out. The more innovative the idea or approach, the greater the reward of success.

3. Collaborate

Most of life is an open-book exam. Use all the resources available to you, and be open to others’ ideas, insights and suggestions.

4. Help

Know when it is time to lead and when it is time to follow. Be a helper and be willing to accept help.

5. Activate the senses

Tune into your instincts and let them guide you. Try shifting to a different locale or change of scenery to see how that affects your thinking. When you contemplate a possible different future, how do you feel in a particular environment or situation you might imagine yourself in?

6. Research

See what information already exists that can provide you with more clarity and a greater sense of security. Reach out to others to get answers to questions you still have after reviewing what’s already available.

7. Design

Being creative is more important than what you create. Try not to focus on winning competitions. Instead, strive to be different, unique and stand out! It’s a bigger win if you to lose a competition but gain new ideas in the process.

The ancient explorers did not find new lands by following well-worn paths. Innovation doesn’t happen when we are safe and settled. It happens when things are a bit out of sorts and we take a break from our normal routine, allowing our minds to wander into new realms of possibility.

In the words of Abigail Adams, who helped create the United States from the original 13 British colonies, "It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed. The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties.”

You will notice that the framework above invites collaboration and seeking help. I encourage you to reach out to a few friends or colleagues and brainstorm together. It will alleviate some of the burden of making a decision, expand your perspective, and be more fun — especially with sharing a favorite libation or two!