Embracing braver attitude towards change

Most of us like our comfort zone, with the people and activities that are integral part. In these modern times, changes to the comfort zone take place without asking for permission. The hope for future can help counterbalance the fear of uncertainty and attachment to what we have. Personal insights may arise and show the way to a balanced life while coping with change. 

In general, human beings are resistant to change. Especially when we have love in our lives and we are thriving, why should we want to change anything?

We may not like changes but changes like us. The idea of permanence, about which some of us may feel comfortable and safe, becomes slowly an utopia. We may live in different homes at different stages. There are more divorces. Friends move abroad and other people take their place.

Even when life is not so satisfying, we may still muse and ponder whether to make any change. This is the case of a friend who feels that she works in an organisation where she can’t use her full potential, and yet, “I’ll keep this job for three more years. I shall see after that.”

Sometimes we may be forced to make a change. The company where a friend was working closed its activities this Summer. Despite that he was previously considering to look for a more rewarding and meaningful job, he didn’t take quite well the news that he is jobless.

The way I see it, being able to cope with change is a must-develop skill both personally and professionally – in particular if we specialise in knowledge-intensive fields.

The way we embrace change is an interplay between uncertainty, emotional attachment to what we have in the present and hope. After going through quite some changes in my life so far, I’ve concluded that life is all about changes. So, how can we use hope to shine through fears and attachments in order to live fully?

Initially, fear may be the queen of our emotions about change. While fear is natural, we have the option to give it a positive twist by trying to manage it. This may be more difficult when we are not be willing to admit we have any fear. Instead, we blame others for circumstances that led to changes in our life.

For example, we may think it is our boss’s fault for lacking the competence to maintain the profitability of the department. As a result, the board decided to outsource the activities of the department, including our job. We may blame the persons with whom our partners cheated on us.

While these accusations may be well founded, it’s better for our wellbeing to stop giving them importance. It’s a better use of time to turn the focus to ourselves and sort out how we can go through the change.

We could try visualising how our life will be in one or two years after making the change. Creating positive scenarios of the future may give us the boost to make the first baby steps in the process. For example, taking a short vacation or long walks daily – anything else that relaxes the mind and brings peace to the soul. The more we open to a new stage of life, the more we’ll be able to recognise and react to the opportunities that come into our way.

When we loosen up from the grip of fear, we can start getting curious about how we can improve whatever happens in the present. Who can help us? How we can reach out to the people who can be helpful? Moreover, there is another kind of curiosity that we can sparkle – the curiosity about any personal insights into our inner lives.

Self-inquiry may make us want to explore:

  1. What it means to accept our fears. Fears may teach us some useful lessons about how we live our life. This requires that we get over the stage when we are stuck in the realm of fears and expand out attention to what lies beyond them. For example, you get dump and among other things, you are afraid you won’t be loved again. Why would you have such a fear? What is it about you that you feel that another person won’t fall in love with you? What kind of a person you dream to be in order to make someone fall for you? etc.
  2. What it means to look with anticipation at the future. Hope about tomorrow may increase our ability to dream today and get some inspiration for how to live in the present. In the case of my friend who lost his job in the Summer, while he was seeking for another job, he remembered about an old passion for which he hadn’t had time. He contemplated changing his career to follow the respective passion. This led him to starting to study a new field.
  3. What it means to wait for the right opportunity. When we send our resumes to companies, we may finally get more offers to choose from. The offer that suits the best may not be the first one that comes. Intuition and peace of mind may be help while we are waiting. Continuing the story about my friend, while his studies were in progress, he was invited for an interview to a firm where he felt it is the work place for him at the moment.
  4. What it means to discover hidden sides of your true-self, such as the intuitive nature, the strength and flexibility. It can happen that while we are focusing on a particular goal during change, other opportunities come up and are very beneficial. These are opportunities we haven’t considered ever before but which may be just the right thing for us in the midst of change. Returning to the scenario when you get dumped, receiving a job offer in another country may be the best thing that can happen to you.
All these inquiries can lead to the realisation that mindfulness is very important for a balanced life through change. By mindfulness, I mean the orientation of one’s experiences in the present moment, orientation characterised by curiosity, openness and acceptance. Life does not end at the bumps of change. Life continues!

Now, please share with us how do You cope with forced change?

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Who Said That It Is Easy To Follow Your Dreams?

Writing down your way out of an upsetting health problem

When you face a serious health problem, you may experience a cocktail of feelings like disbelief, despair, regrets, fear, belief and hope. You start reevaluating your life. You may also feel genuine thankfulness about being alive, which may push you into taking a new direction of life as soon as you get well.

If health has previously been taken for granted, now you feel a deep appreciation for having a healthy body. Small and insignificant moments, such as watching a movie with the family or going for a walk on a sunny day, start to be special and genuine sources of joy.

The tormenting issues you dealt with in relationships lose their importance. They become tiny details of life in front death.

When you fight to bring your body back to balance, it’s a good time to write down your feelings in your diary or computer or wherever you feel safe to entrust your most intimate thoughts.

In addition to putting down on paper your emotions in such an upsetting moment of life, you may also want to embrace a new perspective on life by writing about:

What is the new person that you want to transform into?

What are you going to do in order to bring the balance between your mind, body and soul?

How do you want to maintain the connection between you and God (or the Universe or the Super Intelligence – call it however you wish)?

What kind of life would you like to have as a healthy new you?

How would you express your gratefulness for what you have in your life?

Who are the people and what are the activities that will take your time?

What is the first thing that you will do as the healthy new you?

Answering these questions (among others) is a part of the healing process. But there is something more. You’ll have to promise to yourself to commit wholeheartedly to make it happen.

When life gets back on the good track, you may forget about the resolutions you thought about when going through hard times. You may fall back into the trap of the old emotional patterns and behaviours. Reading your own thoughts scribbled down in times of pure gratefulness of life may remind you of the importance of continuing with the change of lifestyle.

When you get lost in the tiny details of life all over again, reading your thoughts originated in hard times may help you think simple – only health and love matter.

Reminding yourself how you envisioned your life in a moment of genuine appreciation of life is maybe one of the best ways to become aware of the personal blockages that keep you away from being the best that you can be in body, mind and soul!

Who Said That It Is Easy To Follow Your Dreams?

The world is full of people who feel that their current job is not reflecting their values. The more the time passes, the bigger the gap is between who you are and how you earn your living. Your current job provides you a steady income to support your family’s needs. Yet, you feel you are withering inside each day when you step into your office. Your inner voice shouts inside, “Stop pretending! Find your true role in society, that role that represents who you really are!” You have two choices: ignore it or listen to it. Ignoring it means continuing a life of professional frustrations. What can happen if you listen to it?

Take as an example a mid-thirties woman who is a hairdresser but her dream is to become a medical nurse. How can she start the process that will lead to having her dream job? Take small steps to continually improve your life – this is the advice of Robert Maurer in his book, “One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way“. Based on my own experience, the first step is the most difficult in this kind of situations.

Moving away from your comfort zone may be the most daring action you’ll ever do (if we don’t count the one when you get married). Fear is the biggest impediment. In order to overcome the fear, you may want to develop a new set of beliefs. Patience is a virtue so try to exercise it during the transition to your new profession. Any long lasting change takes time to grow and get carved in you. For example, when you study for a new diploma, you might need to invest at least 3 years of your life. The steep learning curve in the beginning may be damn scary. Don’t worry too much! Beginnings are difficult, even the beginnings that you cooked up for years. The effort of learning will be compensated by the authentic joy of doing something you love doing.

When you make the first step, believe from the bottom of your heart that you will succeed and trust that God will support your initiative. If you’ll say to yourself that you’ll succeed many times, you’ll end up believing it!

Optimistic beliefs are the remedy for the inherent fears that some of us have when we start a new chapter in life. Be kind to yourself and accept the moments when fear is taking over. It is human to be afraid, so smile at your fear. It will go away so it’s important to stay focused on your short-term goals. For example, financial insecurity may be a recurring fear. Provided you quit your job, the financial responsibility for the family rests upon your spouse. Again, think positively: this is only temporary. Trust that the Universe will unravel to you the opportunities that you need at the right time and place.

Support from family and friends is needed like drinking water in hot days. Start talking with them about your fears and your plans. Since people change, you may be dismayed to discover that the persons who you thought would support you, turn out to be judgemental. My mother thought I went all nuts when I told her I am thinking of a career change. Reassess the relationships you have with the dear ones and keep on collecting members for your support group. Another option is to join initiatives like B.J. Fogg’s Tiny Habits – if you have the opportunity (http://www.oprah.com/spirit/The-Fastest-Way-to-Make-Change-How-to-Change-Your-Life/2). But if your spouse supports you, you don’t need anyone else’s support. Of course, there is a bonus if you have several persons’ support. More shoulders to cry on, in your moments of despair.

When you finally make your decision public, the other small steps will follow more smoothly. You may find useful Robert Maurer‘s six general strategies to tackle the change: 1. asking small questions to get rid of the fear and become creative; 2. thinking small thoughts to develop new skills and habits; 3. taking small actions that guarantee success; 4. solving small problems even when you are overwhelmed; 5. rewarding yourself or others; 6. recognising the small but crucial moments that everyone else ignores.

Once the fear is under control, you’ll feel your wings spreading. You are a butterfly in search of new knowledge, new people with whom you can cooperate and jobs to suit you. Your life enriches as a result of the new professional relationships that you are building.

You grow and glow as your new career kicks off. Expect that there will be challenges but they’ll feel less heavy. You finally do the job you believe in! Good luck!