How to embrace change
…Or how to be your own change manager.
Change has become the new constant. This is what we hear EVERYWHERE. It is in the way we build relationships and the way we work, spend our time or shop. It is the thing in life you may be certain of will come.
The environment of constant change should make us used to it. We should easily accept it feeling the usual comfort of daily life. Yet that is not the case for many. Not the reality for sure, if it hits you unexpectedly, forcing in the direction you would not self-pick for the future.
Yet, you need to go on.
So how to make it a digestible turned into nice experience?
As I have recently gone through a big change (yes unexpected (kind of) and yes, the one I would not be able to imagine for myself before), I am here to share my path that has led me to a state of embracing it, the state of releasing the past and the state of getting to appreciate it.
My former trainings, studying and executing of change have been a solid grounding for the process. Albeit, there have been many soft, unconventional inner factors and practices that have had same importance.
Fact. It is very different making the change happen and being the object of change. Still, knowing the theory behind supports the process in both cases.
Theory behind the process of change
There are hundreds of studies covering life cycle of change. Common denominators relate to a tough beginning and elevated end of it. Knowing that concept brings comfort from the beginning. You get to learn that although it does not feel good when it starts, one day it will. Psychologically proven.
So why it does not feel good right from the beginning? That is actually the case even for the change that is received as positive and as anticipated.
It is because of fear. The fear of unknown and the fear of the process of transformation itself.
As for the unknown, we all tend to prefer the situation when we know the outcome. I am sure you said it at least once in your life: “it’s better to know than not to know”. The reference here is not made to a specific academic knowledge of course but simply to our human existence and life in general.
Speaking about the transformation, we fear it because it is a period of intensified effort, learning new things and changing patterns. It is stressful and it is uncomfortable. But. Being a period, this “state” is temporary. A HA !
Here is how the change cycle looks like
Shock – first step when you hear “the news”, feels very uncomfortable or at least uncertain about the future. Does is sound familiar? Yes, it is fear that starts to kick in;
Rejection – state of total nonacceptance of the situation; you can have thoughts like: “This can not be true”, “Why that happens to me”, “There must be a way out”, “This is stupid, makes no sense” and so on;
Depression – state of awareness that what has happened is a fact, state of sadness and nostalgia about the past. It is also continuing uncertainty about the future;
Acceptance – breakthrough number one.
Creation and building the new in new environment. This is a breakthrough moment in motion. Now you switch from an object of the change into making the change happen. That gives relief. In that phase, one should see the purpose of the new and gain fulfillment from it.
Comfortable state, status quo of day-to-day or so-called business as usual – phase of unpredictable length before entering next change. Because, yes, next change is to come sooner or later.
The practical side
As every theory, this one is also a base. Important but again just a theory. Life proves that practice tends to be more complicated. We need more tools. We need more support to make it work.
What else can we do (in this case what did I do) to feel better and turn the new life circumstances into success the and most importantly the way to grow.
Acknowledge that, as the change was something you would not choose yourself, it has actually happened FOR YOU, not TO YOU.
You would not otherwise take the steps that are essential for your future self
Say it out loud. This change is here FOR ME. Thank you!
This may be extremely tough in the beginning. Still this shift in perspective has enormous power. I encourage you to at least try it for few minutes a day and you will FEEL the difference. Think following. It happened for me. It is for my good.
The good may have a form of development, getting to know new people (for future purpose), getting to see new places, getting to know the real you and your capabilities, maybe realizing it is time to make shift in life and finally focus on a different thing. Certainly, it is getting to grow. Pick what best speaks to you.
Change is about accepting that whatever happens is for your highest good.
Believe that everything happens in the right moment. The life is unfolding, as it should. If you have some desire for your future reality that is distant, perhaps that needs many correcting factors on the way there. Remember, obstacle is just detour in the right direction. You will only connect the dots by looking backwards as Steve Jobs once said.
Your beliefs are the only thing that will get you through the change. If you believe, that whatever the change is, you can handle it, you will. As a result the experience will expand you.
Stop resisting the change because the change is typically an upgrade.
Put your ego aside. This is a tough one. I see many of you nodding -yeah right. We are raised in a peer-to-peer, judgmental and consumption driven environment. The things we have reflect our status. If they are taken away, we feel lost, vulnerable or unworthy.
Still, ego, is the worst advisor of all and the cause of unnecessary conflicts we have with others and within ourselves.
Last but not least, Meditate
Finding the time to sit in silence, breath and perhaps get to know some meditation practices will stimulate your brain to see a bigger picture and focus on the expected and desired future.
Meditation gains regularly more followers as it boosts our creativity and lowers stress level. Perhaps for that reason it is broadly spoken of and used by many successful executives.
Last but not least, change tends to be painful. Still the pain means that we are outgrowing ourselves to get on the new level of excellence. Where we need to be.