23 years ago John and I built this house. It was a dream come true. I had visions of playing with my grandchildren on the back porch.
I loved my life. I had 8 siblings and my parents all living within 10 miles and amazing friends. We just had our fifth child and John had a great job. I was living the life that I had envisioned.
Then our circumstances changed overnight. John's company went through a huge staff reduction and after looking at all the options, it was clear that his best opportunity would not be in Atlanta.
We had to make a choice. A choice that would bring major changes into our life. Changes I was not seeking.
Did we stay in Atlanta and figure out how to make happen what we had envisioned for our life or did we take a leap of faith and believe our circumstances changed for a reason and follow where the Lord was guiding us.
The inspiration to take the new job was clear but that didn't make it any easy to follow.
I loved the plan we had for our life, I wasn't seeking change. This new plan was not our plan. Not even close. However, we couldn't deny the answer we got, so we decided to pack up our home, children, and lives and set up residence in Florida.
I’d love to tell you that once the decision was made everything got easy. That I never looked back and I was looking forward to our new adventure with the grace and humor of a highly-evolved human being. But I am here to be authentic.
What I can tell you is what I learned. Change brings valuable lessons and growth. Change helps you become a stronger version of yourself and change can bring you opportunities.
If you are facing changes in your life that are unexpected and are not according to what you had envisioned, here are 5 tips to help you manage your mind to embrace the new change.
1. Be Compassionate - change is hard, even change for the better! If it were easy, there’d be far fewer people staying in jobs or relationships that are less than ideal. Human beings naturally resist change so much that some live lives as “quiet desperation”, as Thoreau stated.
You might be feeling some negative emotion with change. I did. I was feeling grief, sadness, and disappointment. I needed to have time to process all those emotions. Don't judge yourself for being human and feeling human emotions. When you feel negative emotion don't resist and bury it, feel it, and process it all the way through. Once I did, I was then ready to step into my new unknown future.
2. Understand How Your Brain Works -Our brains were designed for survival. Because of this, it’s looking for potential threats to our sense of safety – psychological as much as physical. Such threats include all and any disruptions to our norm.
Your brain may be thinking irrational thoughts. Remember your brain thinks 60,000 thoughts a day so you probably will have a little crazy thrown in. You might have a thought like “life is over" or "I'll never be happy in a new city." but just because you think a thought doesn't make it true. Sure, your plans have changed but your life is not over. It’s just going to be different. In fact, it might not be worse, and, very possibly, it could be even better than you are imagining.
3. Focus on New Fun- New horizons can bring new opportunities to learn and grow, and new reasons to celebrate. Bill Marriott, chairman of Marriott Hotels, shared he finds change fun because without it, “you’ll never have an opportunity to celebrate.”
Being Florida residents gave us the opportunity to be Disney Pass Holders. We became Disney experts and loved being able to go anytime. Yes we missed all the cousin time and family celebrations but we also started focusing on the fun in our new town. Once we stopped focusing on what we were losing we started seeing all the things we were gaining.
4. Don't Give in to Fear.
We don't like change because we don't want to feel fear and with change comes thoughts that bring fear. We fear we won't be able to handle it. We worry about coping. You can't let your fear control or paralyze you into inaction. In order to combat the fear, you need to have faith or belief - that this is for your good and these changes will be the challenges you need.
A long time ago I found the best way to combat fear was to believe that God's plans for me was always better than any plans I could envision. This belief has served me well and I always find evidence that it is true.
Our move to Florida was not my plan but now I know it was exactly where we needed to raise our family. The growth and opportunities that our family has experienced wouldn't have happened in the same way if we had stayed in Atlanta.
5. Change is One of Life's Constants - We think we know what the future holds but we have no idea. Nobody could have predicted 2020. Change is going to happen rather you like it or not. Instead of sitting around trying to preserve the status quo, fretting about what may lay ahead, get out ahead of the game, and pursue change.
Take a mental self-checkup and consider which aspects of your life right now that are not ideal. Your job. Your home life. Your social life. Your finances. relationships. Your health and energy. What changes could you make to get them moving in a better direction?
Resisting change creates unnecessary pain, and trying to avoid change when it's needed creates results in a life that does not bring happiness.
To quote Helen Keller, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”
Embrace change as an adventure, and you’ll gain skills and experience that increases your capacity to enjoy your life.
Take our story for example. I thought selling our dream home and moving to Florida was the worst thing that could happen to us, but I learned that it was completely part of our life's adventure. Because we took a chance on a big change, 16 years ago and 5 houses later, I have gained skills and experiences that have made me the strong person I am today. If I could go back and make the decision again, I wouldn't change a thing! And I was right, God‘s plans are always more amazing than my plans.
I want you to know that you can handle far more than you think. I am amazed to see the transformation in my clients once they learn the skill of tapping into their own wisdom and not being afraid of change.
If you are finding yourself not embracing change or keeping your life small because you are afraid of feeling failure or disappointment now is the time to invest in yourself. Hiring a coach and learning how to make changes will literally change your life and make it the adventure you want.