In life, while change is necessary, it can also be really difficult. Because change always contains loss of some kind. To change your diet means you lose an old way of eating. To change your way of leading others means you lose an approach that you are comfortable with. To change where you live means you lose the location you have memories in. Sure, those changes create new opportunities, but we have to acknowledge the loss of the old that comes with them.
And therein lies the tension!
Those of us who crave change have a natural ability to see the opportunity of what could be as greater than the loss of what is. Those of us who resist change have a natural inclination to see the loss of what is as greater than the opportunity of what could be. Most people will probably fall somewhere in the middle of the change spectrum, but it is helpful to understand what’s behind our feelings when we find ourselves responding to change.
So, how does change get easier? How do we shift our thinking to see the opportunity as greater than the loss?
A recent example from my life centers around organization. I gain energy from creating annual goals, but I feel like life is being sucked out of me to sit down and evaluate each week how my time and energy are aligning toward those goals. So, what do I normally do? Avoid it. Give myself reasons why I don’t have time for it. Busy myself with other things. The result? After a few weeks, I find myself disorganized and stressed. After a few months, I find myself achieving in areas that are not my goals. In short, this approach gets me nowhere closer to where I actually want to be.
After enough pain and stress over this, I decided I had to do something different. I had to make a change. When I shared how overwhelmed and stressed I felt at this change, my friend Jenn dropped a wisdom bomb on me.
“Elizabeth, if you link the pain you are feeling [stress] with your behaviors [avoiding organization], you will create change. Also, if you link the vision [of being grounded and not stressed] to the behavior you want to incorporate [weekly organization], you will create change.”
Change becomes attainable when either the pain or the vision is greater than the present reality. Pain and vision are extremely motivating. Pain moves us forward out of our current state, and vision invites us to a future state.
Pain or vision. Which is more motivating for you?
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