Are You Afraid of Change? 4 Ways to Make it Not Suck
“You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.” – Wayne Gretzky
Forrest Gump faced a lot of changes, too.
A little over a month ago, I made a decision to make a big change. Again. It seems that I am often reinventing myself and my life to make it look just a little bit more like my evolving vision of who I should be and what I should do. You see, I'm not comfortable with the status quo. A claustrophobic person by nature, sometimes the metaphorical walls of my life seem to cave in on me and make it so I feel like I can't breathe. So, I look around and I see what is making me feel trapped or dulled or uninspired and...well...I change it.
This time, it was work.
The job that I had was amazing. It was. I worked with great people and had terrific clients but...I couldn't sleep. I was up at 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. or 5 a.m. working, working, working. And it wasn't that I was REQUIRED to work...it was just that I couldn't stop. I felt continual self-induced pressure to produce. And that would have been fine with me if I felt like I was making a difference in the world or maybe if I was building my OWN business but...I just felt like I was spinning my wheels. So, I found another job. A great job with terrific people. But I agonized for weeks over it...over making the change and abandoning people who had become friends. I was horrified at myself for cutting the bonds of loyalty and leaping off into uncharted territory. But I wasn't scared of the change. Now that I'm THERE, I realize I probably SHOULD have been (have you ever read the book Modern Hydronic Heating? yeah, I didn't think so...I'm learning more about HVAC, fluid dynamics and heat transfer than any reasonable person should).
I love change. And here's why: changing my circumstances means that I am still growing. If you stop growing, you might as well hang up your hat right now and just sit and wait to die. I'm not ready to do that...and you shouldn't either. So, if you're afraid of change, you can do what I do. Or not.
Think of the worst thing that could happen if you make a change. I mean, think of the WORST THING that could happen. For me, it was "I'll take this job and everyone at my OLD company will HATE me and the new job will be boring and slow." Then, I think of what I would do if the very worst thing happened. "Well, I'll just get another job." Then, as soon as I've faced the worst thing, I'm completely OK with making the change. And, yes, sometimes the answer has been, "I might die." And, guess what? I still do it. I'm completely comfortable with death.
Think of the very best thing that could happen if you make a change. "I will love this job SO MUCH that I'll become the KING of the company and people will throw rose petals at me when I walk in the door!" (I never said that I was a realist, ever.) But, it allows me to free my mind and just start imagining really cool things that could happen if I just let go of what's comfortable and reach outside of my comfort zone for just a moment.
Forgive yourself for all the other bad decisions you've made. I don't know many of us who have made perfect life choices 100% of the time. Sometimes, dwelling on those wrong choices stymies us and we freeze, unable to move forward or back because of the fear of making the wrong decision. But then, hey, see tip #1 above.
Keep your sense of humor. I often use humor as a filter. I have been kept afloat during some of the very darkest, blackest hours of my life by just viewing things from a different angle and, yes, laughing through it or at it or in spite of it. Change doesn't have to be this big, huge THING. You can just brace yourself, shrug your shoulders and jump in with both feet and hope that somewhere someone has a life raft or that you'll grow wings and fly.
But what about the changes we DON'T choose? What if your spouse leaves you? What if you get a serious illness? What if you get fired or laid off? Let me propose this: the above four things still apply. Every. Single. Time. Trust me.
I've lived at 34 different addresses in seven states. I've been through a LOT of therapy for some screwed up stuff. I had a kid who had a tumor. I'm divorced. Trust me...I KNOW change. And I still move toward it. I'm captivated by it. Because change means that I'm learning, growing and, with any luck, becoming a better me. A better mom. A better friend. A better partner. A better person.
It's nice to sit in the Rockin' Chair for a few minutes. Peace.
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