Making Change Manageable

Change has a bad reputation.

As a general rule, humans aren’t big fans of change. We like control, predictability, knowing and understanding. Our lizard brains tell us that something new means danger or the added stress of having to adjust. So we fight it. We tell change no. We put energy into maintaining status quo or staying the same. Usually, it works for a little while but eventually we end up putting more energy into staying the same than we would have if we had just gone with the flow and changed.

Ironically, usually, change is good for us. Breaking from our routines let’s us grow, helps us think creatively and empowers us to take on new experiences. Sounds great on paper right? For a lot of us it is a lot harder to accept change in the moment. So how do we do it? We practice. Below I’ve included the Who, What, When, Where, Why & How system to make processing change tolerable and fun. 

A system to help us adjust.

Below is a breakdown of the who, what, when, where, why and how system I use to adapt to new information.

Who

First identify who owns the change. You may not have made the decision that triggered this change but you can reclaim control and determine what you do from this point forward. 

What

Then, identify what is the change?  What can I control? What can I not control? 

When

Next, identify when this change needs to take place. When do I need to know what I want to do about the change and when are the important dates around this change? Bonus points for asking what the repercussions are for delaying the change (in my case it is usually self-inflicted discomfort). 

Where

Now, we get to tap into our bodies and ask where we feel the hesitation to making the change? Where are other emotions coming up around this change? Let yourself feel all your feelings around the change – don’t repress them. Just identify where they live in your body and acknowledge them. 

Why

Once we have met our feelings we move into the toddler stage. Ask yourself why? And ask it a lot. Why is this making me uncomfortable? Why do I not want to make the change? 

If I’m still having trouble identifying why I’m hesitating or what is making me uncomfortable about the change, I take a break and try something else and preferably something new. Trying new things shows us what change feels like for us and allows us to tap into beginner’s mind to find creative solutions. 

How

Now that I’ve got my Who, What, When, Why, Where I practice the How. How can I accept this change gracefully – bonus points for how can I make it fun.

Let’s apply it with an example.

Scenario:

Let’s say your roommate gets a new job out of state and they are moving in two months. You adore your roommate and have a very comfortably symbiotic relationship with them. Let’s apply the process.

Who

Who does this effect? You, your roommate, the relationship you have with them. You may not have made the decision but you now get to own what happens from here. 

What

What is the change? Getting a new roommate to help pay the rent. Having to allocate time to meeting a new roommate. Adjusting to another person living with you. 

When

When does the change take place? The change starts now emotionally but physically your roommate will be leaving in two months. This gives you time and space to make a plan. Come up with a way to recruit a new roommate and process the loss or grief of the one you have leaving you. 

Where

Now that we have covered the timeline we tap into ourselves. Where are we struggling to accept this change? Where do your thoughts and feelings go while thinking about this change? You may feel loss over your current roommate, anger for the situation changing, anxiety over meeting a new person. Don’t judge yourself – there is no right or wrong. Feel all your feels and let them out. 

Why

Now that you know what you feel and where you feel it ask yourself why like a toddler. Why am I resistant to this change? Why don’t I want to make this change? In this example it may be because you really don’t want to have to interview or get to know new roommates. 

How

How am I going to accept this change? By looking for a new roommate and maintaining the important relationship with the one I had. How will I make this fun? Maybe set up a funny craigslist ad or ask friends to help you come up with ideas on how to include your personality and fun qualities into looking for a new roommate. 

Everyone processes change differently – and every change is a little different so feel free to play with the process or shake it. I hope this helps and if you need any help making a change plan – reach out! butreallythocoaching@gmail.com 

*I am not a therapist. If you are struggling with your mental health during a major change I implore you to reach out to a mental health professional. 

Self-Worth isn’t Found at the Bottom of my To- Do List

Society has tangled self-worth and wealth – I’m here to dig a little deeper.

As the Queen of introspection I often ask myself “why”. Usually, whatever I’m questioning is an action. The questions form along the lines of  “Why did I order that third prayer plant?” or “Why I am I making this decision?” and usually my toddler-like tenacity for questions is fulfilled by these self-revelations. I tend to only stump myself when I zoom out past my current situation and incorporate the dreaded sociatel “we”. My latest ponder has left me stumped and I’m hoping we can solve this toddler style question together. Are you ready for it?

Why do we base self-worth on productivity and how do we stop?

I firmly believe that our modern capitalist society uses wealth and worth interchangeably. Sure, we may hide this connection under the guise of hard work equating worth but the name change doesn’t make this connection any healthier. You either work hard to make more money to then feel good about yourself or you work hard under the pretense of one day getting rewarded for this work with recognition and monetary gain. We have made it shameful to not work while simultaneously making it shameful to work hard and not be rewarded with success. In summary, as a society, we have made existence transactional and by doing so we have surmised that those who do not contribute (are not productive) are not worth caring for. 

Self-Worth and the Day to Day

This sociatel mentality then trickles into our day to day habits. Think about it – if you don’t feel productive during the day does it change how you feel about yourself? I know for me, and everyone who answered my Instagram survey, productivity is a key player in self worth. 

Self-Worth in the Workplace

 In the workplace we begin equating our self worth with our outputs. We work ourselves like machines to generate the highest value for our employers, even if we are not being rewarded fairly for this work. We begin to equate how we feel about ourselves with how well we perform.We continuously strive for that next promotion, another certification, or having the best idea in a concept meeting because we want to feel worthy of our spot in the workplace.

To make matters even worse we take this to the next step by applying these pressures to our personal lives. We use our long “to do” lists  as a point of pride on social media. People are happy to drone on and on about how busy they are. Jam packed schedules are considered a sign of success and enviable. The “rise and grind” or “hustle” mentality has seeped into everything from our board meetings to our weekends at home. But is this what we were really designed to do? 

Personally, I think it’s ridiculous and needs to change. So I’m channeling my inner Mr. Rodgers by starting in the only place I know how – myself. I’m spending this next year (and probably the rest of my life) untangling the web. I refuse to be defined by my outputs, my annual income (though I would love for that to go up), and how productive I am. Don’t worry mom, I’m not quitting my job, or slacking on my projects, I’m just being conscious about how I find value in my life. I’m placing my self worth in being my authentic self for 2020 – ready for the journey with me? 

*I am not a therapist. Please work with a licensed physician when it comes to your health.