How to Face Change Like a Pro
Today’s episode is about how to face change like a pro. OK, so maybe that’s a bit of a long shot … even the pros feel the fear when they face change, but, I’m getting ahead of myself.
When you facing any sort of change, whether it be a something you choose (think changing careers, buying a house, etc) or something that happens to you (think losing a job, illness, losing a family member), you rely on “process” to get through the change. And before you glaze over because I’m using the coachy word “process,” I encourage you to stick with me here. This stuff is actually pretty interesting! What I’m diving into here is the idea that there are really two types of process, and why it’s important to recognize them and harness them to get through a change.
Process is both the “to do” list stuff and the emotional stuff
- Structural or External process – to get things done, I bet you often put something like a to do list, or a project plan in place, or you refer to an expert or how to guide to learn something that is new to you. Or, you’ve put together an outline for what you need to do each week, say, to promote your blog. That’s what I call external process. It’s something outside of you, something that has structure, and helps you to remember and do all the steps that you need to do to complete something. It helps support you.
- Emotional or Internal process – when you’re looking at change, the harder part of implementing change is that you often have to make a shift in how you act, or how you feel, or how you deal with the emotions that come up for you around change. If you want to begin podcasting, for example, you need to learn HOW to podcast, but I also find that many of my students come up against a lot of resistance before they launch. They are afraid of putting their message out there, afraid of a new thing. So, to launch, they need to follow the process of launching a podcast (external process), but they also come to terms with the new emotions, and reactions (internal process). Internal process, even though it feels messy and can be scary, is also there to support you.
Emotions and Fear Pop Up When You Are Facing Change
In this episode, I look at the teachings of Pema Chodron and Geneen Roth on how “process” comes in to play when you’re facing change. So much of what is unexpected and hard about starting something new is what comes up for you, emotionally, when you take a risk. It’s scary, and it’s hard, and many times your default reaction to doing something scary or hard is likely to “run away” or escape, and that escape may come in the form of food, drinking, social media, gaming, sleep, avoiding things … we all have our own unique way to escape whatever is hard in life. (Mine is Netflix and tortilla chips.)
Once you can look at the emotions that come up, and be mindful of what the emotions are telling you, facing change gets easier. You’ll become familiar with your own reactions to what happens when you’re faced with change, and once you know what they are, you can also choose to do something else. Here’s another example: When I get stressed, I like to eat. I love tortilla chips. I love video games. I now know that when I feel stressed or I’m faced with change, I have the tendency to escape to those two things. Now, when I feel myself going for the chips or the video game, I can choose to go for a walk. I can choose to journal. I can choose to look at WHY I’m feeling drawn to chips and video games.
The Stop, Drop, and Roll of Dealing with Fear When Facing Change
I offer a few ideas in this episode around what to do when you are choosing to make a change, but you’re feeling the fear around it.
- When choosing something to change, only pick the things that create a “Hell, YES!” reaction for you.
- Treat yourself with kindness as you feel the fear around making a change. Let go of the “shoulds” wherever you can around your decision.
- Baby steps are the best way to make progress.
- Trust yourself; even if it feels weird at first. You picked this change because it felt right. Trust that you’ll continue to make the best decisions for yourself around what to do.
- Do check-ins regularly to make sure you’re on the right path. If something seems off, fix it. You have permission to change your mind and change your course.
4 Inspiring Postcards to Print and Share
Sign up for this pack of four printable postcards with quotes from Elizabeth Gilbert, Maya Angelou, Meg Cabot, and Steven Pressfield.
Resources for this episode:
When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chodron (on Amazon)
Women, Food, and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything by Geneen Roth (on Amazon)
The Flylady, Marla Cilley, Episode 46 (How to Form Habits and Routines)
Cam Adair, Episode 47 (On video game addiction)
Franny Burkey, Episode Episode 9 (Nourishing Joy when starting a new business)
What is your process when you face change? How do you cope with the fear and emotions that come up?