After years as a Senior Downsizing Specialist and Transitions Coach, you can well imagine the volume of experiences I’ve had with clients who have experienced major life transition. My clients often ask me why I do what I do. Do I have a love affair with Change? Not exactly.
I just realized over time that experiencing change doesn't always mean it's got to represent a negative experience. In truth, it’s usually the primary catalyst behind every moment of positive personal growth we have as well and helps us move toward ‘the good stuff’. Freedom. Creativity. Passion. Joy. Any of those rock your world?
In recent months, I’ve observed several close friends of mine who, for various reasons, have taken their own courageous leap of faith towards the ‘good stuff’ with remarkable results. They went Big and they went Bold. They changed everything. Job. Home. City. Friends. Even Starbucks locations (shudder). Was it easy-peasy? No. Was the result worth the leap of faith? Yes.
So, I ask this question. Are we finally at a stage in human evolution, where we can shed the societal expectations about change being bad? Can we shift the way we approach it to make it work for us, instead of being afraid of the emotions it generates in us?
How do YOU handle change? Do you have a methodology to balance yourself when ‘It’ comes knocking at your door? Getting out of your comfort zone can make the most grounded person feel disconnected, fearful and adrift. Then add lack of clarity and confusion about exactly where you’re going on your magical transformation ride and your mind just goes numb. Sound familiar?
Maybe this will help. Here are five of my favorite ways to kick fear of change to curb and move through the process of transition feeling more in control and at peace.
1) Remember the benefits you’ll enjoy once you’ve completed your mission
The key here is to slow your roll and consistently re-connect to the important reasons that led you to make the change in the first place. Think of the benefits you’ll be enjoying once the mayhem of transition has died down and envision yourself already at your goal. Does a big smile suddenly pop up on your face when you see yourself there? Hold that thought. Repeat as necessary!
2) Ask for and be willing to accept support
In this world of self-sufficiency, we often forget that we don’t have to ‘do it all’ on our own. Even Thor, The God of Thunder, had friends to call on in times of trouble! Being willing to ask for help, or just talking through your concerns with your trusted tribe of Super Hero’s (friends, family, co-workers, favorite bartender), can calm the roller coaster of emotions that often threaten to derail us from our goals.
3) Allow yourself to grieve for things lost during change
Many people think of grieving as something you only do when you lose a family member or friend. But, we experience loss in a lot of ways throughout our life, especially through change.
Allowing yourself to acknowledge those feelings of grief for whatever you had to leave behind is essential to your healing and makes room for the positive and joyful things you are transitioning into.
4) Get curious
Getting curious is one of the best ways to get unstuck and open your mind and heart to new adventures. Focusing on what truly interests us as humans not only gets us energetically excited and emotionally revved up, but it also creates positive chemical/cellular changes in our brain that make us better.
I know it can seem scary to try new things, but I find that if I’m truly interested in a new place, topic or activity, my sense of curiosity often pushes me through any discomfort my egoic mind is trying to generate.
5) Focus on Gratitude
I saved this one for last, but it’s the most important tool of the five. Whenever we are experiencing change, it helps immensely to take a time out from the crazy day and 'To Do' List and create give yourself some quiet space several times a day, even if it’s for 15 minutes at a time.
Then, take a deep breath, close your eyes and name the things you are most grateful for in that moment. No matter how stressed you are, going to a place of gratitude will always shift your thoughts and emotions to a better place and help remind you to appreciate the abundance you already experience.
Whether it’s your ‘tribe’ (family, friends, etc.) or you just need a little support from a transitions life coach like me, always know that there are loving and positive resources out there ready to help you successfully move through any life transition!