Even though change is one of life’s few guarantees, it’s rarely a breeze. Every crossroads brings its own set of growing pains and questions. Developing a positive relationship with transition, no matter the circumstances, lets us make decisions based on insight and intuition instead of fear.
How you address these moments can greatly impact outcomes and growth. The more comfortable you are with these times of transition, the more fearless you’ll be when molding your own journey. Growth comes from taking tough steps forward (ever notice that sacred and scared are almost the same word?).
Boost your change tolerance to access your potential. Apply simple steps to help take the pain out of change and improve your relationship with it in order to boldly choose the life you want.
1) Fear mapping
Say your fear scenario out loud. Now it’s not just an intangible feeling inside of you. It’s an outcome you can handle…
It sounds counterintuitive, but take a second to turn that big, vague cloud of worry into something concrete. You’ve made a major life change and you’re scared about the future. Normal. But now create an image of what the ultimate worst-case scenario would look like. Let’s say you’ve decided to leave your job and work independently instead, but you’re overcome by fear and anxiety.
What if your attempt doesn’t work out? Or if you fail your first assignment? What if you can’t afford rent? How would you cope? Maybe you’d have to downsize or grab a shift at a local bar? Often, if you specify what your life would look like if things didn’t work out, you find that it’s a scenario you can manage. Say your fear scenario out loud. Now it’s not just an intangible feeling inside of you. It’s an outcome you can handle and overcome should it actually come to pass, though it probably never will.
2) The one-shot myth
Who’s to say we can’t change our changes?
The only guarantee is change, but no decision is permanent. Who’s to say we can’t change our changes? Many of the life changes we pursue are flexible: moving around the world, buying a new house, studying for a degree (also, beware that some are not: ending a relationship, having a child, etc.). When it’s personal, it’s easy to be emotional, but try to face change pragmatically: if it doesn’t work out, you’ll try something else until you find the right fix. It’s simple logic, but we complicate things with the narratives of failure that we attach to any outcome other than easy success.
Bottom line, it was you who spurred the change and it’s you who can undo it. Even if you identify with the story that ‘life is happening to you’ and you didn’t choose this, that doesn’t mean that your own agency is diminished. Find it and try again.
3) Prepare & release
When you chose change, you chose to embrace a tougher, but more rewarding path.
Every transition brings challenges, even when we’ve done everything “right.” Some of these byproducts are simply out of our control, but usually preparation goes a long way. Write down a list of questions related to your decision and research the answers. Interview people who have been through similar experiences. Set a time limit for internet searches. The point is to prepare yourself without going overboard. You’ll never have all the answers and the future is inherently unknown. Do your best to stay positive and informed as you move through your next phase, but realize that the unexpected will happen — as it always does.
There will be curve balls that bring occasional stress. When you start to feel a little out of wack know that this is all part of change. Accept it and forgive yourself rather than let the manic energy build. We tend to link stress to bad or involuntary change, when in reality, it comes with even the best circumstances. When you chose change, you chose to embrace a tougher, but more rewarding path. Transformation comes from being proactive, which is scarier in the short term. Staying in place always requires the least amount of effort.
4) Health first
No matter what’s happening in your life, an alert, well-fueled mind, will help get you through it.
This point could fit into most of my articles. Don’t neglect your body and mind! When the pace picks up and life gets daunting “me time” is the first to go. Being exhausted, malnourished and foggy make every hurdle in your path feel 10 times bigger. It’s not just your body that needs fuel, it’s your brain! Before any challenging chapter, arm yourself with the best you. Eat colorful meals teeming with different vegetables, nuts, seeds and healthy fats and protein. That’s brain food.
We’ve all done it: had a bad day then gone home and binged on unhealthy treats to melt the anxiety away…only, it doesn’t last long. Instead, next time you find yourself overwhelmed, make a smoothie, go for a walk, prepare your healthy meals for the week. No matter what’s happening in your life, an alert, well-fueled mind, will help get you through it.
5) Routines during transition
Put yourself first to put your best self forward!
Change can rattle our routines, compounding its effects. Whatever situation you find yourself in, try not to abandon the life rhythm that works for you — whether that means consistent bedtimes, mealtimes or morning rituals. Sometimes we let small adjustments becomes massive overhauls by allowing them to trickle down into the rest of our lives: our eating habits, sleeping patterns, workout routines or spiritual practices.
Put yourself first to put your best self forward! Rather than blowing a transition out of proportion, stay true to a lifestyle that you value. Compartmentalize if need be. What area of your life is this change affecting most? Which areas does it affect unnecessarily. Especially if this transitional period was not intended or chosen by you, compartmentalize it to keep it from spilling over into the peaceful areas of your life. It’s not a long-term solution, but one that will help you create pillars that bring you the positivity to persevere.
These tips can be helpful in their own right, but more importantly, they encourage you to take stock of where you are, to be aware that a change is happening. Simply embracing that reality and treating yourself more compassionately because of it, can give you the energy you need to push on.
Facing a moment of transition? Share your story with us by commenting below!
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Omozua is a Certified Emotional Mastery & Intelligent Leadership Executive Neuro Coach who empowers & prepares clients to take the journey from where they are to where they want to be by bravely accessing their own potential.