Changing Pains

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time for change sign with led light


Sounds painful, right?

What about growth? Does that sound painful?

Well, to some of us, growth does sound painful. In fact, you’ve likely heard the phrase, “growing pains.”

Funny thing is, we never use the term “changing pains” which would be much more appropriate, since most us hate the idea of change. And we really dislike having to go through the stages of change.

So, if all growth is, in essence, change, and we are ok with the term “growing pains”, let’s just replace the word “change” with “growth” and everything should be fine and dandy, right?

Well, sure! But it’s not that easy, is it?

What we need is a shortcut.

But before we unlock that shortcut, let’s take a step back and get a better view.

First of all, change does not have to be so difficult. In fact, we are the ones who make it difficult. Not our boss, not our spouse, not our friend, and not our situation?

We are the ones who make change hard for ourselves. We just can’t stand the idea of leaving our comfort zone. We can’t imagine change actually being good for us, even though we change for the better all the time.

We sabotage ourselves time and again, over and over, when all we really need to do is shift our perspective. We just need to consider change in an optimistic, opportunistic way.

Instead of fighting change, embrace growth. Because no matter how you slice it, all change is growth.

Don’t believe me? Check this out.

What happens when we are about to encounter change?

One of two things happens. We either embrace the change because we are excited about it, or we battle against it because we are dreading it.

Let’s start with fear and dread.

When we are fearful of change, it’s pretty difficult to see exactly how this change will enhance our lives in any possible way.

For example, at work, we have to learn a new piece of software that will be hard to figure out because it is unknown, and we are used to what we have already become accustomed to.

When we move to a new city, we have to figure our way around this strange place. Where the heck is the nearest bank, drug store, and any other place you might need to go.

And in a difficult conversation, we have to battle against someone else’s point of view because they have different values, different beliefs, different experiences and different opinions.

There’s good reason to be anxious or fearful when we are about to experience change.

Now, compare this to when we are excited about a change.

At work, we get to learn new software that might help us do our work more efficiently and gain a new skill to add to our resume.

When we move to a new city, we get to explore new restaurants, museums, and neighborhoods in this vibrant new town.

And in difficult conversations, we get to learn a new way of seeing things that can bring much-needed clarity around a subject and likely give us leverage in this and future conversations.

Each situation is the same, except the way we think about it.

In one case, we “have” to do things, and in the other we “get” to do them.

But, I know, it’s really not that easy, is it? I get it. And I’ve got the keys.

Three keys are going to help you create a mindset that invites, embraces, and leverages change to achieve positive, successful growth. Here are the three keys.

  1. Accept that change is happening
  2. Find the opportunity in the change
  3. Leverage the opportunity to develop in a meaningful way

Key One: Acceptance Acceptance is where is all starts. When something new comes along that we did not plan or expect, we react with surprise (and not the good kind), then we rebel, and then we actively battle this pending request to change.

And, after some amount of time, we realize that change is here to stay. And we come to accept it. We may not like it, but we accept it.

But what if we decide to willingly accept that change is happening right from the start?

No complaining, no rebelling. Just willingly (or even eagerly) accept the inevitable change.

Because, let’s face it, that change is coming and ain’t nothing you can do about it. Best to get on board and find the opportunity.

Which brings us to key number two.

Key Two: Find the Opportunity Finding opportunity is a bit easier, but you’ve still got to work at this, because our minds typically go straight to the negative when we encounter stress.

How do we beat this automatic shift to the negative?

Sometimes it can be so hard to find anything good in change. All we see is differences, difficulty, pain, and problems.

When things look this bleak, we need to flip the script.

If all we see are problems, we need to imagine solutions. If all we see are stumbling blocks, we need to imagine them as steppingstones. If all we see is discomfort, we need to imagine resilience.

Flipping the script on the challenge of change fosters flexibility and promotes productivity.

Once we can see the glimmer of opportunity, we move to key three.

Key Three: Leverage Opportunity to Initiate Meaningful Development

Sounds great. But how do we do that?

We use a little technique called “Can-if.”

When something stressful comes our way, we approach it with the attitude of “I can do this change thing, if…” And then insert the positive outcome you want to see.

For example, you’re asked to come back to the office full time, but you very much prefer to continue working remotely.

Using “Can-if”, you might think, “I can work in the office full time, if it will help me be more readily recognized by my manager.” Or “I can work in the office full time, if this allows me to focus more intently on my work, helping to cut down on hours spent behind the desk.” Or “I can work in the office full time, if I spend my commute increasing time spent toward self-improvement and self-care.”

All of these “Can-if” scenarios keep you in an opportunity-seeking mindset. They also promote success-seeking strategies that you can actualize and appreciate immediately.

One of the greatest side effects of “Can-if” thinking is that it supports and expands the effectiveness of the first two keys we discovered today.

Now, I’m not sure if you realize this, but we just unlocked the shortcut to less stress, more engagement, and greater productivity at work, in life, and across relationships.

That sounds like the perfect performance trifecta to me.

So how will you decide to accept and embrace the change you see before you? How will you flip the script to find opportunities masquerading as problems or difficulties? And how will you leverage these found opportunities to initiate meaningful development in your life, work, and relationships?

Your Mindful Moment:

By learning to accept change and find opportunities, with the purpose of achieving meaningful development, we create a mental environment that is primed for continuous growth and limitless possibilities.

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