Time for change?
As human beings, we are changing all the time. Change can be exciting, change can be scary but we can’t 'not' change as we are constantly making decisions daily that involve change.
I wrote this straight after having a massage. This for me is a change, after a year of setting up my new business I made a conscious decision to take more care of my wellbeing. So when do we make changes? Perhaps when we realise that the negatives of remaining the same outweigh the positives of trying something new? The costs of ignoring tight muscles in my instance outweighed getting motivated to book a monthly massage.
There come times in everyone’s life when we stop, take stock and decide that something has to change. It can be a small change that has a big impact or a big change that takes courage to make. This might involve, for example, relocating, starting a new business, a new relationship, taking time out to go travelling, taking on a new contract or retraining.
How do we reduce the fear or as the saying goes ‘feel the fear and do it anyway?’. Often it can feel that change is just happening to us but there are steps we can take to feel more in charge of it. We don’t have a crystal ball and hindsight is a wonderful thing, but it can help to think we will look back at this moment in 5 years time (like an Instagram pic) and realise that it was just all part of a necessary process. It is an exciting time when there is something new on the horizon and we start to do things differently.
Let’s look at how we can smooth the process! I am going to focus on the ‘preparation stage’ of Prochaska and DiClemente’s stages of change model. After moving from the ‘contemplation stage’ where we weigh up the pros and cons and decide to commit to a new action, the purpose of the preparation stage enables us to start ‘testing the waters’.
There is a lovely expression ‘if you do what you did you get what you got’. You know you don’t want to keep being in the same position, that something needs to give and now is the right time for it to happen, however, it is natural to put up some resistance and we might find ways to resist! It can feel a bit like a push and pull. On the one hand, for example, life will look brighter if you set up your business or start that college course but on the other hand, it will take energy, resources and effort! Interestingly enough the case for remaining the same will also have advantages and disadvantages. At the preparation stage, you might start talking to others about how you are preparing to make a major change. This takes courage to start talking about it with others as we might be thinking what if they think it’s a bad idea? Even contemplating it in our own heads can freak us out! However, the good news is that with self-awareness can make change that much easier.
Human beings like quick rewards. We are often looking to have made the change already. But in reality, change is a process. If we see it as a process and are compassionate to ourselves, recognise that we are going through this and it will take time we don’t have to justify getting quick results. We can take the time to prepare and explore the new opportunities. Applying the preparation stage means you start plotting out your resources, the support available to you, a backup plan if things don’t go as planned and consider the relevant skills you are going to need. This might involve finding supportive friends, learning new skills and finding out more information. When setting up my business I prepared for change by reducing my regular contract and attending training to tip that ‘mariposa coaching’ toe in the water so to speak and move towards the change I wanted to make!
It is helpful to be conscious of the stages we are going through. So taking the time to consider change and see it as a process is useful in order that we are compassionate to ourselves, realising we will have fears and we may need support but that good preparation and planning will bring its own rewards.
This is only a small part of the change process but I hope you enjoyed the article and were able to apply it to your current situation and reflect on the change process for yourself.
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About Sarah Clark
Sarah is a certified stress management and performance coach with experience in the coaching and training field using evidence based coaching psychology approaches since 2000. Please have read of her profile if you are interested in learning more about she works. Change management coaching is just one area in which she delivers coaching.