Everything is Changing, ….,
It’s already changed me.
I love the change,
The transformation fascinates me.
Everyday life as we know it will be no more.
Even the simple things have changed,
Don’t deny the coming….,
Don’t fear that which is new
Does not matter if you love it or hate it,
Just so long as you
This poem is so profound and yet so simple. It states very directly what is needed to overcome one of the most paralyzing problems of our lives. We must learn to “embrace” change! That is the key to dealing with and moving forward in life with grace and confidence. It is so simple and straight forward and yet, how do we accomplish this easily stated, but seemingly much more difficult task. How do we “embrace” change?
Some people do seem to move through life and deal with change with a sort of grace and simplicity that makes it seem easy and effortless. Perhaps, there are some secrets or keys that they are aware of, that do make life and change flow more easily. It turns out that much of the secret to doing so, involves simple shifts in thinking or mindset. There are some definite actions and attitudes that will lead you to dealing with change and moving forward with more ease and less drama and anxiety. It seems that would definitely be worthwhile. Charles Darwin famously said:
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive, but those who can best manage change” …,-- Charles Darwin
I recently had the fortunate experience of going through this process myself and it led me to explore this topic and come up with some of the answers to these questions. We are going through the process continuously, but I went through it with a conscious awareness that led me to not only write this blog, but to actually “walk the talk”, as they say.
I was invited to the National Personal Development Symposium last September, held at the Harvard Faculty Club in Boston, MA. It was a Mastermind gathering of leaders in the Personal Development field from across the country, contributing information and speaking on a wide variety of topics. I was honored and excited to be invited, however, speaking in front of large groups has always been something that struck me with that fear feeling in the pit of my stomach and caused me to forget everything that I had carefully planned to say. Initially, I thought I would attend the symposium and just participate in the panels and roundtables and not speak. As the event got closer, I saw that almost everyone that was attending was speaking. I considered this and knew I would regret it, if I did not take advantage of this opportunity to share a message. It was just four days before the event when it hit me, not only that I needed to do this, but what both my challenge and my message needed to be. I decided to “embrace change”, to face my fears and move forward. I actually wrote my presentation on my flight to Boston and practiced it in the hotel before and during the event. My presentation was, “The Simple Grace of Embracing Change” and because I was speaking to colleagues, I modified it to include, “Ways to Inspire Clients with the Simple Grace of Embracing Change!”. It was, however, a trial by fire for me, as I was, in fact, “Embracing Change” and hoping to do so with some grace!
- Reframe – Find a more positive perspective. Instead of “this is really scary!” think, “Wow, this could be very cool, an adventure!
- Reorient – Recognize this is something new and acknowledge that. Take it in, realize what you are dealing with and that it is going to be okay. Possibly even awesome!
- Reset & Assess – In almost any new situation, we revert to what is called our “lizard brain” and very basic fear and danger warnings. We need to be able to question, not ignore, but simply question these warnings. Is it real danger? Do we have reason to be fearful? What is the worst that could happen? What would happen in that scenario? What reward or benefit is there, if we face that fear or danger? We need to adjust our responses to see the situation in a more realistic way and not respond to our “primitive warning signals”.
- Clear and Reprogram – Clear the slate and don’t assume that you already know all the answers. To move forward, we need to be able to look at things in a new light and see things from all angles. To do so, we have to stop re-thinking, over-thinking and depending on past knowing! We need to avoid being “too smart to think” and look at things from a real-time perspective.
- Adopt a “Zen” Mindset – This means knowing you “don’t know” and assuming nothing is absolutely true. Opening your mind to the possible.
- Reduce or let go of expectations. Be ready to accept what may come. Let that be okay.
- Let go of resistance. Accept and acknowledge what is. Allow change to unfold and be open to the value and opportunity with an open mind.
- Look for lessons and opportunities to grow stronger and more resilient. Accept the wisdom & lessons and let change be your teacher and guide to inner peace.
- Acknowledge the new you. The small steps you have made to accept and to be that change.
There are also some coping skills and actions that accommodate change well.
- Simply take notice and be aware! Don’t run and hide.
- Accept your feelings about a change. Write them down.
- Read the Serenity Prayer. It is a powerful way to reframe your choices.
- Adopt an attitude of gratitude and see the opportunity to benefit.
- Choose your thoughts! Keep it positive. Write them down.
- Relax & destress. Deep breathing, meditation, exercise, favorite activities, eating well, sleep and general good self-care
- Set Goals that are smart, achievable and broken into small steps.
- Communicate and Connect.
- Reach out for help and resources. It is not necessary to reinvent the wheel. There is almost always someone who has faced and dealt with every circumstance you will ever face. Though you might find your own way, it is always valuable to learn from others.
To confront any change there are three keys:
- You must believe it is possible!
- You must believe you are capable!
- You must connect and communicate to use the power of shared wisdom.
I am happy to say I did speak at the NPDS Event at Havard and was told that my presentation was impactful! While I plan to work more on my speaking skills, I faced my fear and "embraced change" and I am so glad I did. I told myself I could speak with grace and confidence and kept that thought in mind. The next time you confront the need to change, I ask you to keep the suggestions I have shared in mind and see how they work for you. Let me know? I would love to hear about your successes.