Change happens…. it’s inevitable. As John F Kennedy so aptly said, “The one unchangeable certainty is that nothing is certain or unchangeable.” Here is the key – how we navigate change determines where we end up and in very real terms the quality of our lives. I would go so far as to say, the person who masters change, masters happiness. Now, I can pretty much guarantee that your education on this topic was like mine. There were no classes on how to handle change; no birds and the bees type conversation from my folks on change. Yet experiencing lots of change is natural and inherent in living life.
Proof that Change is Natural
US Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that those folks who were born between 1957 and 1964 held an average of 9 jobs between ages 18 and 36.
The US Census Bureau indicates just under 50% of marriages end in divorce
16% – of all US households will move this year, which means new schools, new lives, new routines
It’s exhausting to think about! These statistics touch on jobs, marriage and relocation. Other changes might be the birth of a child, a child leaving home, a change in health, a natural disaster, a fabulous new relationship or the ending of a painful relationship.
Tips to Avoid the Symptoms of Burnout
To get through change, welcome or unwelcome, we often tighten our seat belts and hold our breath until the dust settles on the other side. In that process we miss powerful opportunities to grow through change and become more empowered by the experience. How might we spend our time traveling the path of change more wisely?
The journey might look like this:
1. To begin with, we’d stop for a long, thoughtful assessment of what is unfolding. We’d get real.
2. With a clear view in our sights we’d become intentional, willing adventurers on the journey. This is much better than dragging our heels kicking and screaming.
3. We’d document the days, our feelings and our “Ah Ha” moments in a Change Journal. Having a place to process unedited and unfiltered is important.
4. We’d carve out time to simply be. The whirlwind that kicks up around change can choke out all life and blur all perceptions. Quiet time in solitude can help settle those winds and the dust.
5. We’d become visionaries, getting really clear about where we want to arrive at the end of the change and who we want to be in response to it.
6. Finally, we’d surrender to the GAP. That place in between when finding our footing is tough, when the changing landscape leaves things hard to recognize. We’d trust that we can and will emerge with fresh insights and new gifts.
Contrast the ideas of handling transitions (large or small) with clarity and intention and what most people do: react to whatever hits them next in the process. The end results are dramatically different. Spend your change wisely and over time you just might become a change master!
Corrie Woods, is the author of the award-winning book, The Woman’s Field Guide to Exceptional Living and a women’s self-care coach. Learn more at www.womansfieldguide.com