One thing I am asked a lot is how to deal with change. Change in relationships. Change at work. Change in mindset. Change with family. Change is universal. I’m a champion for change. I truly believe we all have the capacity to make changes to create an experience we desire. But, I know, change can be hard.
The last few months I’ve experienced a lot of changes in my professional field. To name a few: new leadership, new styles, new initiatives, and a new boss. I’ve had to give myself a dose of my own medicine and a million pep talks to navigate through these changes. I thought I’d share some of my best tips for dealing with any change:
1. Accept the reality. Sometimes change happens outside of our control. There are some things you cannot change. Instead of burying your head in the sand (I tried it, it doesn’t work) just accept that the change is happening. Note: this does not mean you 100% agree with the change, just that you are aware of its existence.
2. Be emotional. I’ve cried a lot the last few months about the changes. I’ve said not nice things about the changes to my support system. I’ve journaled about it. I’ve processed it. I bought a really expensive purse thinking it might help. I’ve worked through a whole series of emotions. What I learned from doing that is no emotion is more valid than the other. They all have their place in the process. I’ve also learned not to judge myself for the emotions I’m having. Feeling anything less than joy doesn’t make you a bad person… it makes you human.
3. Be logical. Right along with the emotions, there is a sense of logic that has to play a part. This is where I see a lot of people fall when they are going through change. So, don’t just quit your job because you don’t like the change if you don’t have some kind of back-up plan… that’ll lead to a whole different kind of change that is even less fun. Have some sense in the actions you take, but don’t be so logical that you won’t take a risk… a calculated risk. Set goals. Create an action plan. Give yourself a deadline. Whatever it takes to add some logical sense to your mindset.
4. Breathe. I spend a lot of time and energy trying to be very intentional about my breathing. It calms me down. It gives me space. It gives me the opportunity to respond instead of react. Breathing is your friend during change. It will support you in ways you can’t imagine. Your energy comes from your breathing. The first thing I learned when I started practicing yoga was learning to control your breath can teach you how to have more control in your life. I practice a simple 4-7-8 breathing technique. Breathe in through your nose for four counts. Hold for seven counts. Breathe out through your mouth for eight counts. I do four rounds of this, and it is a game changer. PS- I also use this when I can’t fall asleep!
5. Gratitude. I normally write three things a day for which I’m thankful. In moments of change, uncertainty, and chaos, I write a full page. This allows me to focus on all the great, wonderful abundance I already have, and also opens me up to receiving more. On one particularly rough day, I wrote three pages. Focus on the good, and you may even be surprised when, one day, the change you’re going through shows up in your gratitude journal.
6. Recognize change is an opportunity for growth. When you are experiencing change it gives you an opportunity to evaluate your values. What do you want from your life? Is this bringing you closer to your goals or further away? When you look at the change through your values, it can often show you a more positive outcome. Use the change as a catalyst to become more of the person you want to be.
7. I always have a choice. This one is really powerful. You are not a tree. You are not stuck. The reality is: you can always make a different choice. Sometimes that choice is changing your mindset. Sometimes the choice is rejecting the change and moving on to something else. Sometimes the choice is accepting the change. Or a million other choices in between. You always have a choice. You may not always love the options, but the choice is always yours.
Change is inevitable. Misery is optional. For me, misery isn’t even on the table. So, I’m doing everything in my power to move through my changes as proactively as possible. Change has a way of waking you up to the life you’ve been living, and making you more aware of the life you could be living. As I’m working through changes in my life, I hope that it provides some insight on how to navigate your own change(s). What one tip can you implement today?