I love change and I hate change. Often, both at the same time. Change is exciting; it is a gateway for new opportunities, a start of something fresh. But change also means letting something old go, and the pain of separating from familiarity and habits can be tough. Some change we provoke based on the decisions we take, other change isn’t anything we’ve asked for, but we need to learn to live under the new circumstances anyway. Change is omnipresent: there is no life without it.
Change always means uncertainty. We tend to shy away from it, because we don’t know what effects the change can have. Fear is telling us to keep everything the way it is, because that’s the only way we know. But is the safe way the best? Most certainly not!
Every change we make runs through three steps:
1. Realization: My situation is not ideal (aka sucks)
2. Decision: I will change something now
3. Action: I am doing it differently now
Let me give you an example from my life. One of the biggest changes I made last year was to change my career, and I tell you it wasn’t an easy one at all.
REALIZATION: I had been unhappy in my consulting job for quite some time – long hours, more nights in hotels than in my own bed at home, the learning curve flattening out, the passion to make my clients successful fading away and worst of all: I didn’t see the purpose of it! No promotion or pay rise could increase my job satisfaction anymore. It sucked. But I didn’t have a Plan B. I knew I didn’t like my job, but what job would I do instead? What would people think if I throw away my career like that? I definitely had fear of uncertainty!
DECISION: It was one Friday evening at 8:30pm and I was in a plane flying back home from a client in Switzerland. Exhausted from another long week, I asked for a glass (rather plastic cup) of red wine, listened to music and starred out the window into darkness. What was I doing on a Friday night in a plane? What for?? I realised I could not continue on this path any longer and made the decision to quit. Without a Plan B! I just knew I needed to take a time-out to figure it out my next steps.
ACTION: As soon as I landed I started telling my closest family and friends about my plan. Instead of judgement I received support and kindness! I felt euphoric and about 40 pounds lighter. What a huge relief to finally see the end! The following week I handed in my resignation. And it felt so good – but also very sad. I loved my colleagues, they were such a great bunch of people and we had really good times together. But hey, you need to let go of old stuff so that new, even better things can grow.
Today, 6 months later, I have a new Plan A. It’s full of uncertainty, but I’m excited about it! And I don’t regret a thing.
So next time when you’re approaching change think about the 3 steps: Realize, when there is room for improvement in any part of your life (your career, relationships, health, finances,…). Take a decision to change it to the better. Don’t let fear stop you. And then JUST DO IT!
Yes, you can!!