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February 24, 2011

Do You Embrace Change?

Here we are approaching the end of February already – how did that happen?!  I apologise for the lack of blogging since the beginning of January but my family and I have been busy “embracing change”!

Embrace and change – 2 words that we often see side by side, particularly when being encouraged to see “change” as something positive, something to work with to our advantage.  But so often, in my experience as both a life coach and as an occupational therapist, that is so much easier said than done.  And in these economic times, as so often before, change is hoisted upon us whether we like it or not.

Since the turn of the year, my family and I have been surrounded by changes – moving to a new part of the country, new job, new home, new school, new community, making new friends – the list is almost endless.  Talking to 2 friends recently who are also embarking on major life changes,  we agreed that we felt rather as if we’d taken a running jump off a cliff, unsure exactly of the landing.  Sure, “embracing change” is easier to do if one has initiated the change oneself; seeing that change as positive, moving forwards, personal development, creating opportunities and seizing them. I don’t have a crystal ball but I am convinced that we will have a safe landing – if that is what we believe, are determined to have, focus on and work steadily towards.

Just stop for a minute and think about what “change” means for you? What feelings does it conjure up for you? Is the principle feeling one of fear, excitement, anxiety, challenge, opportunity?

If change equals fear or anxiety in your book, have a closer look at that emotion.  Consider where that fear comes from, what it feels like, looks like, sounds like and how it impacts on you.

How does that fear serve you? 

Does it stop you from doing things you’d really like to do? 

What is it that you’re really afraid of? 

Why not focus on what you do want as opposed to what you don’t want?

Change can be scary, whether one’s initiated it or not.  Anthony D’Angelo urges us to “become a student of change.  It is the only thing that will remain constant”.  Which is true – nothing stands still, not even time!  So really, each one of us is handling change – however small – every single day.  It’s our perceptions of change that are scary, rather than change in itself.  If it helps, consider what has remained constant in your life at this time of change.  It may be constancy in the form of family, support of friends, colleagues, the love of your children, even the breakfast cereal you eat every day!  I’m sure your list of constants will be a lot longer than you think.  Use your “constants” to bolster you up during times of change – a security blanket if you wish.

Yes, change means moving beyond your comfort zone and into the unknown, but do you know what?  If you stay put in circumstances other than in those you really want, you will never know how wonderful that change could have been!  Think of all the learning and personal growth you will have missed, the possibilities which will have passed you by….

With change comes responsibility: accepting responsibility for where you are just now and  for creating the life you really want.  In order to change you need to be both open and willing to make that change happen the way you want it to.  Focus on what you really want from your life and don’t let others get in the way of your dreams!  Make sure you don’t get in your own way either!  Get a visual picture of  the way you want your life to look, get a pretty notebook (or a handsome one if you’re a guy!) to document what you want, stick in photos/pictures which inspire you, quotes which spur you on, whatever you need to help you eliminate mediocrity, commit to taking that first step  and set your ship on its new course towards the horizon you really deserve to reach!

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”  Victor Frankl.

“If we don’t change, we don’t grow.  If we don’t grow, we are not really living.”  Gail Sheehy

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