The winds of change
Leaves, weather and now clocks changing: a luxurious extra hour in bed — as long as your kids can tell time!
It’s the season for it. I’ve got friends transitioning jobs, others getting married, some starting new projects. It seems the hot, sticky, stillness of the summer has passed and gusts of change are whipping people into action.
Change is a funny thing. Even positive changes tend to blow in a mixed-bag of emotions and reactions though: some tempting us to stop mid-tack and halt our progress.
Recognising some of the different dynamics in the air, perhaps we can learn to better sail these winds of change.
Cold feet often accompany these winds. Fear is a common reaction to the prospect of change — even planned, happy changes. It’s not change itself we fear, but the unknown of what that change might bring. We are creatures of habit with a need for certainty. What will happen, be different, when I say, “I do”? Or walk into my new office for the first time? When the baby arrives? Or this new training/project/goal is finally finished? This fear alone can sometimes be enough to stop us even attempting the change.
To avoid fear’s paralysis, try asking yourself: what’s the worst that could happen here? An answer might be: I could hate my new job and have to find another one.
Weigh up the cons of this worst-case scenario with the cons of staying stuck — perhaps in a position we’ve outgrown or are unhappy in. A quick cost-benefit analysis can reassure us of why we sought change in the first place and boost our resolve to ride out our fears.
Habits die hard, and as they do we may grieve for them. Changing to something new, we inevitably lose what’s old. Although we may no longer want it, its familiarity and certainty feel “safe”. Getting married, we give up single life. Moving countries, we leave somewhere behind. Having a baby, we give up life before that great responsibility. Each event hopefully brings great joy, but also loss and sacrifice.
We might feel confused or guilty for experiencing emotions other than joy during life’s big transitions, but commonly grief for “what’s gone” can trigger denial, anger, depression.
Being aware that even positive changes conjure a rollercoaster of emotions allows us to cut ourselves some slack, giving ourselves the time and permission to fully embrace ourselves in change.
Remembering we are all “masters of change” also helps. Consider the magnitude of changes we have already successfully navigated in life’s constant evolutions.
We can feel confident that we will survive and adapt to this too.
Anticipation is almost guaranteed worse than the event. One client, after taking five years to make a positive change in her life, declared: “If I’d known then how easy it would be in the end, I’d have done it years ago. I feel I can make any changes I need to now.”
The flexibility we need for change is like a muscle. The more we use it, the stronger we are when we have to.
What’s stopping you making the changes you want to see in your life? Get in touch if you need some help navigating the winds of change!
Julia Pitt is a trained success coach and certified NLP practitioner on the team at Benedict Associates. For further information contact Julia on 705-7488, www.juliapittcoach ing.com.