Photo by Tom Lazar
In the last two years, I’ve moved, changed jobs, completed a life coaching program and started my own coaching practice (while employed full time), ended a 15 year relationship, and released more than 110 pounds. To say my life has changed in that time – to say I have changed in that time – is an understatement.
And yet, I can painfully recall times in my life of being extremely stuck. Immobilized, full of fear and doubt, lost, unwilling to consider doing something differently, unable to envision anything different for my life, shameful for all of the above which further kept me from making a change of any sort, if even the smallest thing.
My hunch is that both of my scenarios are not that dissimilar from many, maybe most, people. Who hasn’t experienced life transitions of the big or small kind? Who hasn’t experienced doubts and fears and uncertainty about the direction to go in life? For us women entrepreneurs, it’s almost a given: Doubts, fears, and uncertainty often were the driving forces helping us decide to embrace the biggest change possible – starting our own business, being solely responsible for our income usually along with a huge desire to get our particular work and vision into the world in order to save our own lives and give it meaning.
Embracing change becomes the norm for entrepreneurs: There is so much trial and error, so much experimentation, recalibrating, failing, learning, trying something different again and again that goes into new ventures, regardless of the best laid business plans, forecasts, quarterly goals, that it does often make our heads spin. Often with frustration, and more often, hopefully, with excitement as we stretch and grow, learn what works, and learn how we like to work.
I hear time and again from entrepreneurs that they love how each day is different, each client is different, each obstacle creates a new opportunity. I also hear how it creates pure exhaustion, and we want things to stay the same, at least for a little while, to let us catch our breath, get a new big picture, and course-correct after catching a new wave of energy.
In my personal life and my professional nine lives prior to being a life coach (Counselor, HR Manager, Investigator, Director…), I’ve listened to many people say, “I don’t do well with change.” And I have sat quietly for a moment, and asked them, “You are alive, right? Right now, you’re alive, correct?” They’d look a little puzzled, some would laugh nervously, and say, “well, yes…?” I would reflect that they in fact do pretty okay with change, because if they didn’t, they wouldn’t be here, and they wouldn’t even be alive. Some would scoff, some would cry, some would sit a little straighter. The conversation would then usually go in one of two directions: The way of resistance or the way of embracing change.
Resisting change only creates suffering and more hardship and keeps us stuck, personally, professionally, or both. I would listen as people defended the reasons they couldn’t change or make things change around them, holding on tightly to their fears, martyrdom, or limiting beliefs with tenacity at times, unable to see these things were a decoy, or not a concrete wall blocking them but only a thin veil of deception by their scared egos and little inner lizard brains.
I would listen as hunched over people timidly shared their ideas for change, seeming to wait for me to tell them they were silly or couldn’t do it, and when that didn’t happen, hearing their voice change, gaining a little strength as they talked further about what they really wanted, watching their posture change as they felt encouraged to keep talking and saying more about their vision. Embracing change only creates new possibilities, renewed energy, opening of the mind and heart, better problem solving, more compassion, and countless other positives and forward motion thinking.
Nothing stays the same in this world. The moment we just had a second ago is different than this one. And the next. The earth has moved, the light has changed, the cells of our bodies have changed, and this is constant. There truly would be no life if nothing changed. Life force is dynamic: look at any growing child, any living thing in this world, any river, any cloud, any successful individual or organization, any news feed online. That which sustains itself in this life has embraced change, accepted that change is a part of it all, and decided to enjoy the ride and help it along with our own unique contributions rather than wear out brakes and ourselves trying to stop it.
Embracing change as a way of life keeps us curious, growing, and courageous, and is deeply satisfying and motivating when we recognize that we, too, are that dynamic life force, we entrepreneurs with our dreams and visions and work we do daily are the wonder in the world right along with a crocus pushing through the snow, a frown turned into a smile, and a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis.
Lauren is a life coach who is helping, healing, and inspiring people to find the courage to love themselves and their lives.
Lauren Oujiri Lauren Oujiri, LLC