Think of a time when you had a significant change in your life. What was that experience like?
We all go through changes. In fact the Greek philosopher Heralius said “the only thing constant in life is change.” So, why can it be so difficult to change and how can we handle it better?
Let me share some key lessons that I hope are helpful the next time you’re faced with change.
Let’s be clear, there are two main sources of change: 1. Change we initiate and. 2. Change that is thrust upon us. Change we initiate can be a new diet, a career change or even a new commitment to a relationship.
Too often, we experience another kind of change: sudden loss, health issues, financial setbacks. It is this type of change that I want to talk about today. How can we see opportunities in the more unexpected changes?
Lesson #1: All change is uncomfortable.
Change often causes some degree of fear and anxiety. Why is that? Because change disrupts our behavior patterns and triggers the “fight or flight” part of the brain. We’re wired to be alert in times of uncertainty, but this can get the best of us at times. First, we scan and address the external environment that we find ourselves in; things like new routines, planning and resources to support us. However, it is the internal feelings that can be harder to manage. It is natural to be uncomfortable. We must do our best to accept that and acknowledge how we feel as we experience change.
Lesson #2: Embrace the transition.
Once we are more self-aware of how the change may be affecting us, we can begin to explore opportunities for growth. When I coach people in transition, they often discover things they need to let go of from the old way and how to embrace the new. A good analogy is of a bridge spanning over a river or canyon, a journey to the other side.
Lesson #3: Become something new or different.
Staying on the bridge analogy, imagine your own bridge of change and transition. What does it look like, how long is it, what is the weather or environment? Become more aware of the transition from the known (where you started the journey) and where you will end up (the other side), and know that the bridge between is often the unknown. Sometimes the other side can be the unknown as well.
Start by assessing where you are today. Then, identify the growth opportunities. Ask yourself: “What are the characteristics of a brave and resilient person moving across the bridge, or on the other side of the bridge? How do they think? What do they believe?” This can help you tap into the internal resources for growth, and maybe even help you transform into that person and continue the journey.
We are all on a journey and often it helps to have a fellow traveler or guide who has been across many bridges to help you along your own journey.
Consider booking a complimentary coaching session with me if you want to explore your journey with a guide to help you along the way.