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Life Lines: Change - A Challenge Or A Threat?

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Victoria Sarne

By VICTORIA SARNE

Change of any kind is an adventure. The question is how you view this challenge? Is your attitude towards it positive, to be anticipated with excitement and interest as to the outcome or does it seem frightening and uncomfortable? The answer for most people will probably be a bit of both. Whether we decide to make certain changes or whether they happen to us and they will, we have to learn how to handle them for the best possible outcome, even in a negative situation.

Obviously there’s good change and bad change, some changes are small and others bigger but either way change of any kind exerts stress on us and while it can be energy draining, our attitude will make the difference to our reaction either enhancing or diminishing its impact on us. We can change the kind of clothes we wear, our lipstick, or our nail polish – little things that may lift our spirits – or we can take a day off and go sit in the sun, visit with a friend or spend time alone relaxing. Those are easy and fire up our brain rewarding us with a sense of pleasure.

But change can also make us feel very uncomfortable, again good or bad. Many of us don’t like being taken out of our comfort zone whilst others relish it or deliberately invite it into their lives. Whichever viewpoint we hold, it often takes a while to adjust to something new or different. If we are intending to make a change in our personal or professional lives, it takes planning. How many times have you read or been told by well-meaning friends “you just have to believe”, “think positively” or even “hope for the best”? Unless you like living dangerously, walking the tightrope without a net, none of that advice is going to be enough to accomplish anything. Yes, you have to believe in the possibility and be confident of a successful outcome but you have to do the groundwork as well. Meaning, you have to have a plan; you have to construct the pathway to where you want to get by considering all aspects of what it will take to make your intended change step by step. Will you need help from others, friends, family or mentors? If so, have you prepared them in advance, have you asked them? Have you thought about how you will handle any obstacles that may present themselves; do you have a strategy to get around them? What will you do if the plan doesn’t appear to be working? Do you have a back-up plan or are you practical enough to change the plan?

Not all our plans for change will succeed. Sometimes it will be because we have misjudged or mis-timed a situation but it doesn’t mean we have to give up or should not stay focussed on our goal. It may simply mean we have to change our strategy. There is usually more than one route to a destination. On other occasions it may have nothing to do with us - we may have had a very good plan but circumstances beyond our control have interfered. That doesn’t mean we should passively let our plans dissolve, it means we summon up our resilience, our ingenuity and figure out how to shape the outcome as best we can to ameliorate the impact.

In last week’s article, I discussed personal power – this is where you hold on to it and use it with confidence to make a more positive impact on the issue at hand. There is always a solution, maybe not the one you first anticipated, but an answer nevertheless to your next move. Whatever you do, don’t get stuck. Accepting change is a process. With the right attitude all change is growth, this is where you can benefit from positive thinking: you learned a lot just from the experience, so what did you learn, how did it change you, what might you have done or do differently next time? Finding honest answers to those questions will give you valuable insights for the future.

“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine, it’s lethal.” – Paulo Coelho

• Victoria Sarne is an entrepreneur and writer. She headed a team to establish a shelter for abused women and children in Canada and was its first chairwoman. You can reach her at victoria.conversations@gmail.com, or visit www.lifelineswritingservice.com.

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