Three Reasons Change is Easier Than You Think!
I’m fascinated by change at the moment. From the changes I have made in my life over the past year and how I have experienced those; to the moment to moment changes around me (weather, thoughts, feelings, time) that are constant; and the way that many people in our culture talk about and experience change.
Change is a BIG topic for lots of people.
They really want it. Or they really don’t want it.
They’d like it – but are scared of it.
They want things to change - but only if they can get a guarantee of the results of the change before they take a step.
As a society we have a lot of powerful and loud ideas about change. They come at us in the form of quotes, like these:
‘You can suffer the pain of change or suffer remaining the way you are’
‘Change is never easy’
‘Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you’ll understand what little chance you have to change others’
These ideas get reinforced in our day to day chats, when we share a fondly held ambition with Terry, from accounts, and he says, ‘Oh, yeah, a friend of mine tried that idea and it went terribly for him. Change is always tricky…’
Until more recent times, I also often thought that change was hard.
I agreed with society’s view of change, and all the notions about how it is a struggle, and I largely accepted the advice of friends, delivered over hot tea or bottles of wine that, sure, I could change this thing, if I really insisted on it - but was I prepared for how tough it might be??
Happily, that’s not how I see change anymore!
I see that:
1. Change is constant. People talk about how nothing is permanent, everything changes. Actually, change itself is pretty constant! The cells in our bodies renew at an incredible rate, our thoughts change rapidly (they have to, because there are at least 50 – 70,000 to get through per day…), the weather, the temperature, nature… change is literally built into us and the natural world.
What I see is that change feels hard for us when we don’t see this, when we dress this constant up as something ‘other’, as something that only happens occasionally, as difficult, or challenging.
Change just IS.
2. We get ourselves confused about what change means in practice.
I have noticed something interesting in some of my recent conversations with clients, that sort of overlooks the very nature of change.
The fear that some people have around change is often about, ‘what if.’
‘What if I don’t like the new job? What if I’m unhappy in the new house? What if I get bored with my new hobby? What if it turns out I don’t like travelling?’
When we ask these questions we have forgotten the very principle at work here – if it turns out you don’t like it, you can change it again!
One of the guests in my Changemakers interviews series, about women and change (you can find the videos here on my Facebook page), told of how she was living in the UK when she was offered a job in France. It looked like a great opportunity, so she handed in her notice on her flat, packed up all her belongings and moved to France. Within weeks she realised it was not for her. But she knew she could change things, so she left the job, repacked all her belongings and moved back to the UK within 3 months of leaving.
She saw very clearly that she didn’t need to stay in a situation that didn’t serve her – she could change again.
3. Don’t confuse ‘stuff to do’ with the decision to change.
I moved house four times last year. Yes, you read that right – four times! The change wasn’t hard - there was just a lot of packing and unpacking, but that’s just ‘stuff to do.’ It has nothing to do with the decision to make a change.
It looks to me like we often over think change – massively.
We confuse a simple decision – for example, ‘Do I want to take this job?’ – with the things that might have to be done as a result of making that change, like moving house, getting a car to travel to work or learning new skills.
We muddy our thinking with a lot of ‘yeah, buts’. As in, ‘I want the new job, yeah, but it’s on a different transport route and I’d have to figure that out’. Or, ‘I really want to move house, but I don’t understand the paperwork….’
The ‘yeah, buts’ are generally easy fixes – they are just stuff to do, or stuff to find out. They aren’t the decision.
Listen for your wisdom – your gut instinct. This will tell you what to do – this is where you make your choice from.
Slow down. Take a breath. Be still and quiet for a full minute and listen. You’ll know what is right for you.
The ‘yeah but’s and the ‘what ifs’ - that’s all noisy thinking, not truth. But if you believe it, it’ll make change hard for you – or maybe stop change altogether.
So, look in another direction for your experience of change. See that:
Change is constant and it just IS.
When you make a change, if you don’t like it you can change again!
If you’re contemplating a change, listen for wisdom and don’t confuse change with ‘stuff to do.’