“If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.” -Gail Sheehy
Change is necessary and uncomfortable. It is vital in order for us to continue to grow. We can only grow when we are challenged. Challenges only come when our situation changes. The causes of change varies from self-initiated to forced-upon by others or circumstances.
Let’s take a look at self-initiated change. This type of change comes from:
- Need to challenge our current thinking or circumstances.
- Need to change our current status or situation.
- Ability to see that changes are required before it is forced upon you.
- Just feeling bored or unsatisfied with the current status quo.
There are many more reasons why you would initiate a change. All of which puts you in control. You are in control of:
- Outcome of the change.
- Level and degree of change.
- Comfort level of the change.
- Circumstances of the change.
There are a 5 key stages of the change process that you should be aware off and what you can do about them:
- Change is uncomfortable and we need to face and overcome our fears. Fear is usually the number one reason why people resist change or give up. Fear does not go away, even if you are the one initiating it. Ask yourself these questions when fear sets in:
- Identify the fear. What kind of fear is it? Is it rationale or not? What is the possibility of it happening? If you were to put a number on that fear from 1 to 10, what would it be? What can I do to mitigate it?
- Remind yourself of how you had overcome fear in the past and what was the reward.
- Change your perspective from fear to opportunities. For example, instead of thinking about failure, think about how to be successful. Instead of a challenge, focus on the opportunity. Instead of the limitations, think about the possibilities.
- Resistance from yourself and those around you. Depending on the level of change, it is scary not just for you but for those around you. You might face resistance from the very people you expect support. However, always remember the reasons for the change. You need to be very clear and focus on why are you seeking change. What are your goals, desires or purpose for this change? Realign yourself back to the reason that you are pursuing the change. Read through what you have written down with regards to your purpose, missions or goals. Remind yourself. Explain and share them with others. Be open to their feedback and concerns.
- Distracted but get back on the track again. It’s easy to get started when the enthusiasm is high, the adrenalin is rushing and everything is new and exciting. Then time passes by and the distraction of other priorities or just the busyness of life comes into the picture. Distraction along the way may derail your outcome. Before we let that happen, it is good to have set up some time every month or quarter or mid-year to review. Review where you are today vs. your plans. Review what needs to take place next. What help do you need to get back on track?
- Disappointments drag you down but don’t give up. Failure and disappointment are just part and parcel of the learning process. Like growth that comes from change, we learn best through failures and disappointments. We learn what we can do differently, how to do it better and so on. The key is not to let the disappointments drag you down and then give up. Think about or remember , what got you to where you are today. How can use what you have learned to get to the next level. Remember your past accomplishments to build your self-confidence. It is easy for us to forget what we have achieved, what we have experienced, what we have learned and who we know that can help us transition. It is useful to review and remember. I have used this numerous times in my coaching role and have found that clients find great empowerment when they realise that they do have the abilities to make the transition. The motivation to pick themselves up and continue.
- Accountability and find someone to be accountable to. Hold yourself accountable to the change. You know the reasons for the change and the positive impact for you and those around you. In order for you to push through and achieve the desired outcome, you need to be accountable to doing the work. You can find yourself an accountability buddy. Someone who will hold you accountable and not let you get away easily. Someone who will push you and support you when necessary. I have found that this is one aspect that most people ignore or push aside. However, it is safe to say that the one who is successful is one that has someone they are accountable to. You can think about your partner, your friend, a coach, a mentor as options for your accountability buddy.
Change on your terms and remember that change is not a lonely process. Change is enriching when you are clear on the purpose, the impact on you and the people you love and going through it with a good support structure.
“Change before you have to.” -Jack Welch