Last week I shared with you Lily’s story. An inspiring example how much we can change and achieve in one short year.
I received wonderful feedback from your side as a reaction to this story, so I decided to dig deeper into the topic of “Life Changes”, for two reasons: First, I want you to know that these kind of Life Changes aren’t inspiring stories that only happen to others. They can happen to all of us!
Secondly, I want you to keep in mind that everyone will write a different Change Story. Some will be more radical and far reaching, some more subtle, filled with countless, small, magical shifts. Yes, Life Changes come in many different outfits, and every outfit is suitable for a different season of your life. And you have to find your individual version of it.
In this blog I want to demystify the process of Life Changes and help you understand, where you’re at in your very personal change process. Plus some important Dos & Don’ts.
Stage I: Pre-Decision Agonizing
I’ve never seen anyone feeling the desire, the necessity, or the urgency to make changes and one day later, jumping right in. How could we? We’re wired to resist change and mistrust the unknown. That’s sort of an evolutionary life insurance. Stick to what you know to anticipate the risks and dangers.
So for quite a while our mind will trick us into staying exactly where we are, whether we like it, or not! By pulling up all those nasty limiting beliefs, the fear of change, and by sending loads of people our way who are eternal sceptics and will have objections and doubts for every little idea we have.
This Pre-Decision Stage can really suck. And sometimes you might feel stuck in it for years, feeling the tension of having outgrown your old life, but not yet ready to take the leap of faith and change.
There’s no rule of thumb how long it takes, before you jump right into whatever you’d like to try out. Every story is different, circumstances and responsibilities are different. Trust, when your individual time is ripe, you’ll move. But let me give you some Dos and Don’ts, that I find truly helpful for this stage.
- In this very early phase, your limiting beliefs will gather on a daily basis, and throw a party. “I can’t do this”, “I’m too old”, “I don’t have the experience”, “It’ll never work”, “What will other people think”, “I don’t have the time/ money”, “Good things only happen to others”…theses are just a few of the most popular party songs, that’ll play on loop. So in this early stage, it’s crucial to start your mindset work. The earlier you start to transform your limiting beliefs, the less resistance and insecurity you build up over time. That’s why I always start by this important step in my Life Designing work, because it’s the primer for allowing change to happen
- Start to look for role models, inspiration, stories, people outside your normal circle. Connect with people who are one step ahead. Who started their change story. Build up your confidence through positive examples and stop your critics or sceptics to load their fear onto your front yard.
- Don’t blame your circumstances! Don’t blame your responsibilities or lack of resources! Respect your own timing and life moment. Respect and honour your circumstances. You’ll write your very own, wonderful change story in such an authentic and individual way because of exactly these circumstances, and not despite.
Stage II: All In – High on Endorphins
You did it!!! You built up the courage, you trusted yourself and the moment, and you initiated change. You subscribed in this new professional training or studies, you had this decisive talk in your relationship, you quit your job, you applied for the seed funding, you made the move to another country. You did it!
Oh what an amazing time. All is possible and suddenly change feels exactly how it’s supposed to feel: exhilarating, inspiring, motivating and rewarding.
- It’s time for a little celebration and time to fully indulge in this sweet endorphin-cocktail. Acknowledge this major achievement of leaving your comfort zone and daring something new. Be proud of yourself. On our change journey, it’s important to celebrate each step, each little win, and not just the final result.
- Grow your new tribe. Whether you’re a first time entrepreneur, single again/ divorced, student again, now is the time to grow your new tribe. Connect to new people on this new path. Like-minded people with similar life experiences/ moments and support each other. One of the key elements of succeeding with long-lasting change is your connection to others. And knowing that you’re never alone on this path.
- Shoulda Woulda Coulda…yes, it always could have been different, change could have come earlier, better, bigger, in retrospective there’re many things you would’ve done differently, knowing what you know now. There’s a huge temptation, now that you survived the jump, to start blaming or shaming, why you waited so long and how much this waiting time has “costed” you. DON’T!!! Don’t detour from this great path your on and if you look back to this time pre-change, do it with gratitude. Every happening, every delay served you, whether you realize it now, or later.
Stage III: Roadblocks, Rejections and Failures
Yes, they will come! No matter how careful and diligent you embarked on this change journey, at one point roadblocks, rejection or a failure will cross your path. Change isn’t a straight line. Change, as we Life Designers see it, is an ongoing, creative, process of co-creation between what you put out there in the world, and the world’s response to it.
And every failure, every rejection or roadblock has several layers. On the surface, it’s this annoying, demotivating or frustrating happening, giving us a hard time. One or two layers beneath, it’s new opportunities, valuable information and the opportunity to re-design or make some adjustments.
- Look deeper at what is happening. What information shows up in this rejection or delay? What learnings? Are there maybe still a bunch of limiting beliefs very actively sabotaging your change journey? Now it’s an opportunity to work, once again, through some inner blocks.
- Don’t forget the big picture. Diving all in a new venture can easily become the focus point of all our attention. And, therefore can throw us off track when we encounter obstacles. Never forget, your change story is still a holistic Life Design. And all areas of your life need your attention, and in return will catch you and comfort you, in case one area gets more challenging than expected.
- Don’t give up early. Change and endurance go hand in hand. And the more far-reaching you want your change story to go, the longer it might take. Building up a completely new career path doesn’t happen over night, this takes time. But a time well spent.
Phase IV: Grounding Yourself
Undergoing Life Changes is no walk on the beach. It’s challenging, it’s demanding, it’s often scary, but it’s on the other hand so fulfilling and rewarding that it makes the effort worthwhile, a thousand times.
Nevertheless you need to acknowledge, it might have drained your energy and left some marks. So self care and grounding yourself again should be high on your list, to guarantee long lasting change and the right state of mind/ body to enjoy it.
- Make self care a priority! Listen to your body, your mind and your soul. You need more sleep, more down time, more movement, healthier food, more fun? Then do it. You’ve achieved great things. You’ve given a lot. Now it’s time to recharge and enjoy.
- Change is a process not a one-time decision. Be comfortable with the feeling that change is never really over. Change means growing, and that’s what we want to keep doing, no?
- Be grateful. Not just for what has been, but also for what is. Right here and right now. Adopting a gratefulness practice is, what will ground you in the current moment and what will ground you in those small, everyday achievements, successes and joys.
Do you wish for more support in initiating your Change Story? Or in staying on track? Then how about joining my Life Designing Online Course and let me guide you through those changes and support you all along the journey.