Do you see change as something frightening or do you see it as a challenge to be dealt with, or even an opportunity to grow and develop in your life and work? So going forward, when you hear the word ‘change’, what is now going to come to mind for you? When it comes to dealing with or making changes within my own life and work, the following quote from W.B. Yeats comes to mind:
“All changed, changed utterly.”
This has been true for so many of the major changes in my life, including going to live as a monk and then, eight years later, dealing with the upheaval of leaving the monks. On a professional level, it also applied when I left my secure and pensionable job to become self-employed. Yes, change can be dangerous and challenging because it involves moving from the known to the unknown. Regardless of how you have dealt with change in the past, it really is up to you to make sure all change starts with you. When you do this, you have control over what you want to change and how this can best be done. If making a change is a major issue for you, then try taking small actions. There really is nothing wrong with moving forward slowly. Taking small actions can still take you forward. Never be afraid of celebrating small actions within life and work. The Chinese philosopher Lao Tsu believed:
“You will achieve the great task(s) by a series of small actions.”
To learn and change involves repetition, so be willing to be incredibly patient. It is also crucial to focus on the success of small beginnings. Most success starts small. Even the Irish airline Ryanair started with only one plane back in 1985. It has gone on and grown to become the most profitable airline in Europe. From the outset, they have done this by being very creative and following through on what they know works best for them as a business in small, incremental ways.
This is your life and it is worth investing time and energy into getting creative to see how best to make changes to improve it. Self-leaders take the time to identify the changes they can make: ones that have the potential of moving them forward in pursuit of the life they want to be living. Having identified them, they get creative and search out ways to implement them.
When dealing with and making changes in their life, self- leaders remain mindful of the following obstacles that can arise:
1. At times, they can get confused and have no clear direction, other than they know that they want to bring their life to a better place. A possible solution to this is to accept and then deal with the fact that they may have an investment in being confused.
Clarity means decisions, change and a commitment to move forward in life. They understand that one way through this is to be inspired to change and see the possible benefits for their future. Another is to make it more painful not to change, staying trapped where they are with things going from bad to worse, so that they have no choice but to change, and this spurs them on.
2. They might feel they have too much invested in their current situation. They might, in effect, say: “This would be so painful to change.” Then they tend to focus on the worst that could happen and not on the best that could happen.
If this is the case, they accept that being open to change is not always easy and, more often than not, it is very difficult. For the most part, it involves overcoming difficulties, problems and challenges in your life and work. Remember, if you associate change with pain and loss, why would you ever want to change?
Often it is not the change that is painful, but people’s resistance to this change, their attachment to old ways, beliefs and concepts that causes their pain. It is due to them wanting to hold onto the past rather than let go and move on with their life.