Tragedy struck this week. My faithful Melitta coffee maker (a 1981 wedding gift from my aunt and uncle) blew up! For 28 years that brown and beige drip coffee maker has been my constant - my North Star. Every morning it greeted me with the familiar hissing/dripping sound and aroma of dark French roast. That coffee maker was the one constant in my life - through marriage, divorce, relationships, jobs beginning and ending, through grief and happiness, through childbirth to empty nesting - that coffee maker was there for me every day. Coffee early in the morning to jolt me awake and coffee shared late in the morning on my sunny deck. What on earth was I going to do now? How could I possibly adjust to life without my Melitta?
It brought to mind the much larger topic of change - how do we react to change? Do we embrace it? Fear it? Dread it? Welcome it?
We all need constancy in our lives - things that we can count on - no matter what.
And we also know that lives change, friends get busy, family move away, relationships end, and kids move out. If, as the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus said "There is nothing permanent except change", how can we create a grounded base for our life so that the swirling funnel of change doesn't carry us away? How can we approach change as a positive development and make it work for us?
Tips for Embracing change:
1/ Change that gets foisted upon you:
Changes that you have no control over are tough ones and it can be easy to jump into the victim role without even thinking. For example, say you just got laid off - that is a really lousy situation. So go ahead - be mad, be sad, be scared. Take the time before frantically perusing the want ads to consciously grieve the change. The length of time one needs varies from person to person and situation to situation. And then, when you are ready, just as consciously put yourself into possibility thinking by switching from thinking about the job you lost to planning the job you want next and the steps you want to take to get it. Once you consciously switch your focus away from scarcity you open up your future possibilities.
(if you missed last month's ezine article on how to change your focus click here
2/ Change that you create yourself:
Here is the hard one - feeling the boat rocking because of changes that you consciously made yourself. Wow, you might think "what was I thinking? Why the heck didn't I stay safely on the shore?"
Some of you may have found out like I did, that in relationships for example, it is almost more difficult ending a relationship than being the "dumpee" because the total responsibility for the decision is yours and yours alone. So what to do when you initiate a change, and are feeling some rocky bits because of it?
It's time to sit down and remind yourself why you made the change and trust that you made the change for sound reasons. Write a list of the ways the change will ultimately be good for you and what possibilities the change will open up for you. Pin that list somewhere you can see it, or fold it up and put it in your wallet. Keeping a reminder of why you made the change will re-fill you with the courage you need to continue with that change whenever you feel those moments of doubt.
3/ Change that you would like to create:
I was talking to my friend Brenda who was reflecting on why she hadn't made the positive changes to her business that she had been talking about making for a year and she said "sometimes staying with the status quo is easier than making a change". Absolutely true.
If you are in that space of wanting to make a change, but are paralyzed into complacency, take a moment to do a PRO/CON list and reflect on why you want to make the change. What will your life look like if you make the change? What will it look like if you don't make the change? Take a look at that PRO/CON list - how does it balance out?
Remind yourself daily of why you want to make the change. And plan one tiny step per week to get you started. Once you begin to take even a baby step toward the change, you will rock yourself out of your inertia.
As for me and my morning coffee - after a week of sleepily trundling over to my local coffee joint with morning eyes barely open, I have stepped into a new era on the advice of a very persuasive young barista, and have purchased a "french press". It is low tech, very few movable parts, and word on the street is, it makes great coffee. Faithful Melitta - I will not forget you. You served me well...but now it's time to change and embrace a new era of java.