This week I reminded myself, yes again, that change is not the enemy. It can be intimidating. But it is actually fear and inaction that are the enemies, not the change itself.
I learned this when reflecting on my early years, when we moved around a good bit during my childhood. At the time, I’m not so sure that I would have “volunteered” to leave Delaware, and then Argentina, and then Germany, and then Long Island … all before finishing 9th grade. But, in retrospect, I wouldn’t trade that upheaval for the world: thinking of all of the people I would never have met, who now mean so much to me, is a regular source of real gratitude in my life.
So when overwhelmed, think through the changes you have already gone through in your life – sure, there are some you initiated, but think about those that were thrust upon you. Imagine never having gone through those once-feared transitions, and now list all of:
- the people you never would have met, but now treasure;
- the things you never would have learned, but now rely on;
- the jobs you never would have found, but opened up your career;
- the chances you never would have taken, but expanded your experience.
Seriously – take the time to make the list! It is an amazing exercise.
And yes, for me, this applies to all of the unanticipated changes – the heartbreaking, the crushing, the scary, the humbling, and the infuriating. Each time I got the news of one of these changes, I was convinced that the world was ending. I was even paralyzed, usually with grief.
But then… once I pushed through the inevitable fear and inaction, I started to see the new world I was getting to enter – sometimes a world I’d never imagined possible. Sometimes I waited a long time to take action, sometimes I got at it a little more quickly. So, wait, or hurry, but know that “action inside the change” is transforming.
When I face a rough day, the sooner I channel fear into action, the sooner it is that I start to feel that spark of excitement again. And at first, it really is just a small spark. You have to be looking for it. But if you pay attention, each day the spark gets a little more recognizable; it gets to be a little bit more of what defines you in this moment. And before you know it, you’re in the middle of something new. Right now I have no idea where “there” will end up to be, but I’m excited to find out, and I intend to enjoy the journey.
Author, Virtual CFO, and Finance Coach
“Your First CFO: The Accounting Cure for Small Business
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