It’s often said that change is the only constant in life.
That may be true. And what is equally true is that it’s possible to evolve and adapt how you respond to change, and how you create it for yourself.
Often, I hear from clients that:
- the changes they’re less than excited about “came out of nowhere” and they’re firmly in reaction mode
- the changes they desire to create for themselves have been percolating for a long, long time, but they’re not making progress
- the desired changes they worked hard to create have left them feeling like they’re playing catch up. (That’s certainly the challenge and blessing in my life lately.)
The good news? When it comes to change, you can always make it easier or make it harder.
Many of us are eager to categorize all the changes in our lives and label them “good” or “bad,” “easy” or “hard”. Really, that’s just a distraction. Being in the midst of change means challenges and silver linings. It’s which you focus on that matters.
Every change you create (or creatively respond to) also comes with a ball of emotions, and like emotions do, some of them will conflict. Swimming in that emotional soup can easily shift your focus to staying put, instead of moving forward. That can make adapting to the new much harder– even when what’s new is exciting and desirable.
Whether it’s stepping into your vision for your life, stepping up at work, changing jobs or cities, there are many practical strategies you can use to stay in a place of creative, inspired change-making.
Here are a few to try:
Watch and listen. Whether it’s a job change or putting your life vision into action, when you’re ready to move, the signs begin to reveal themselves. Your quiet inner voice grows louder. You get restless. And you still might have no idea how to move forward. Except that, underneath all that, you do. You’ll have ideas. Try them out.
Clear space. Emotional space, mental space, space on the calendar for taking creative action. Constructive change requires space to unfold.
Let go of rationalizing. Every minute and every ounce of energy you spend rationalizing is one not spent on creating a result that you want. So gently let go of excuses, clinging to what’s ok but not what you want (or how you want to be), old stories that tell you this is hard–whatever needs to go. This takes time, so just keep noticing what’s not serving you and switch gears.
Stop battling resistance. There’s a lot of teeth-gnashing over the feelings of resistance that we can sometimes feel around change. I hear this one from clients all the time, and I have a different take on it. Resistance is a natural response, and there’s no need to waste your time engaging it in battle. Do something that inspires or nourishes you instead and resistance will feel less like your enemy.
Own your vision. Write it down or make a visual representation. Check in with it regularly. Find someone who will support you and what you most desire. What is the change or the outcome you want to see? Know that intimately and you will be living it before long.
Tap your resourcefulness. You have done this change thing before. (No, really, you have.) This is what we so quickly forget: how you successfully created or managed one change is how you will successfully create or manage another. Look for your success stories and your lessons learned, and (the important bit) apply them.
Practice choosing and creating results. One mantra that I love and regularly use is this: What do I want here and how can I choose that? Start doing this everywhere and do it every single day. Practice may not always make perfect, but it does rewire how we think and act.
Cultivate positive emotions. Social science and psychology research show that our brains can tend to a negative bias– and where the emotional soup of change is concerned, that can stop you in your tracks. The antidote? Consciously create more positive emotions by doing the things that inspire you, make you laugh, let you feel content.
Where in your life are you feeling the need to create a change, or creatively respond to one? I’d love to hear how you’re putting these strategies to work.