Managing Change; Finding Fulfillment
I’ve been working on some new projects. When I talk about them or write about them, I get completely and utterly excited – I feel it all the way to my bones! But as I watch them coming together, I’m feeling outside my comfort zone. It’s not because I’m doing something I haven’t done before. As business owner let’s face it, I’ve been doing things I’ve never done before for the last 16 years! Every time we’ve added a client, added staff (or let some go), or we’ve taken on new responsibilities, we've done something new. We “just do it” because we are servicing clients, or need to improve processes, and we know it will give us something new to pitch!
It’s different this time though, because for the first time in a long time, I’m doing something my heart is telling me to do, not the world, and THAT takes me out of my comfort zone. While the projects seem a bit out there and risky to others (a friend actually called me brave), they don’t bother me because life would be boring if I wasn’t doing something risky or new, testing my personal, financial and mental boundaries. I’m the kind of girl who loves seeing a big mountain in front of me, and often times the more audacious the climb, the more I want to conquer it. Throw in someone who makes an insulting comment about how I’m probably not able to, and I really get fired up! (I'll show them!)
For the last several years, I’ve been on autopilot, programmed by clients, employees, and my interpretation of what others think I should do next. In some ways, autopilot is easy because you don’t have to think for yourself. You just do what others tell you to do and figure out ways to accomplish it. But too much of that, and you forget to think for yourself; you forget to FEEL for yourself; and if you’re not careful, you start to become someone else, and there’s no feeling of fulfillment. That’s why I’m so grateful I found my yoga practice. By getting to my mat, I started to breathe again, and then I started to think, and then I started to feel.
My heart is taking me in a direction that, while related, is not completely the same as before, and to be honest I think I’ve made some folks nervous by acting on it. I’m working these new projects just like a client, spending time, energy and resources to develop what I think can be amazing on so many fronts. But no doubt, along the way I am getting suspicious looks, very little conversation and a bit of “wait and see” from those around me. Others are completely supportive, and I’m grateful for them.
I’ve always been guilty of being able to work alone in the middle of a mass of people, and not tell anyone what I’m up to, and that’s where I fall short as a business owner; I move forward and hope they’ll follow. I need to stop and share sometimes.
YOU might be in the midst of changes, either personally or professionally.
You might notice that not everyone is cheering you on too.
You are not alone.
I am your cheerleader – and I’m here to help you succeed!
Here are some ways we can manage change together, and find some fulfillment:
1. Take a Breath
Change requires patience, and attention. You’re already juggling so much – this only adds more to your plate. Make sure you take a couple minutes a few times each day to take some deep breaths and get some fresh air. A ten-minute walk in the morning, over lunch or after dinner can bring you back to nature and remind you we are but one person in this great big world. (Leave the phone at home – it’s just ten minutes!) My Apple Watch has a breathe app – somehow it senses when I’m not doing it and reminds me to take a minute. Get yours to do the same, or find another way to remind yourself.
2. Self Care is a MUST
It’s not just about taking a breath. You need to get sleep, eat healthy and do something every now and then for yourself. One of my favorite instructors reminds us often that we cannot give of ourselves if our own cup is not full. Impossible? I think not!!!! You might have to let something slide tonight so you can get more than 5.5 hours of sleep, but that’s ok, because you’ll have more energy to tackle it tomorrow. On the food front, do something as simple and getting an extra glass of water, and making sure you have a piece of fruit or some veggies for your afternoon snack. (If you’re that tired, no amount of sugar will keep you up.) And then tonight just take half the dessert instead of the full serving, or have some tea instead.
3. Find motivation in the little things; celebrate small successes
Be willing to say thank you when someone tells you good job or that they noticed you are different. I’ve often brushed it off, in part concerned I might be seen as too proud, but always reminding myself that I can’t celebrate until it’s over. Don’t be like me! What if instead of finishing, your goal changes? Then you never celebrated and you’re back to what feels like starting again. You deserve to have happy moments. Take in the little signs and compliments and sincerely be grateful for them. With each little accomplishment, give yourself a pat on the back. (If you have limited support, who else will do it? You have to!)
4. Keep your eye on the prize
“No” is part of your vocabulary and you can use it so you don’t waste energy on things that don’t keep you focused. Some of the biggest obstacles to success are distractions and aversions. Move them out of the way and you’ll have more energy for what’s important in managing the change and working toward your goal.
Change is never easy, but follow your heart and you’ll know you’re on the right track. I’ll finish with one of my favorite quotes about change and growth:
“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn't understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.” - Cynthia Occelli