A few weeks ago, my husband and I celebrated our ten-year wedding anniversary. A big one that snuck up on us. Thankfully, my in-laws agreed to watch the kids, and we planned a dinner out. However, life got in the way, and by the time we walked out of the door, it was 9p, an hour past our reservation. So, we went to our local restaurant and sat at the bar. As we were catching up on life, I had this realization that in ten years so much had changed for us: we had kids, we changed jobs, we experienced loss, we moved (and then moved back). At the time, all these changes felt huge (and terrifying!). But here we were, sitting at our local restaurant on the other side of all that change, and it felt good.
As I embark on another big change – a career change – I’m filled with the usual anxieties, questions, and of course doubt. But I’m reminding myself of all the good that change brings, and I’m facing it head on. The first part of facing a fear is understanding it – so why are most people resistant to change? Well, research has taught us that the brain prefers predictable negative consequences over uncertain outcomes. Our brain literally registers uncertainty in the same that it registers an error or a mistake. We strive to correct it so that we can feel comfortable again – or we just avoid it completely. But change isn’t an error, and what would we miss out on if we avoided it? For me, I’d have missed out on new experiences, friendships, skillsets, and growth (even the tough growth). I wouldn’t change it for a thing.
So, for me, as hard as it is, I’m embracing change. That means I’m prepared to accept that I can’t keep everything under control. I’ll take the risks, and as scary as that feels it also feels very liberating. So, if you’re like me and about to embark on a big change, here are some things that have helped me embrace my change:
- Remember the purpose: whether intentional or not, there’s a reason for the change. Look for it and remind yourself of that purpose…often. While turbulent at times, anchor on your ‘why’.
- Celebrate growth: take a moment, and recognize your growth, as it’s happening. Don’t let ten years pass you by before you recognize all the amazing things that have come out of your own personal change. Celebrate it while it’s happening.
- Don’t be afraid to fail: Fear of failure holds us back, shift your mindset and look at failure as a springboard for growth (easier said than done, I know).
Robin Sharma, who wrote the 5AM Club, said: “Change is hard at first, messy in the middle, and gorgeous at the end”. I think all the hard and messy parts are well worth it.