I know at least one person who is going to laugh his butt off when he reads this article. My boyfriend. Meet David - my partner in crime, dancer extraordinaire and all around awesome person. Then again, I’m biased.
David is also exceptionally good with change. He thrives when he meets new people (spoiler alert: I don’t), he has no problem whatsoever when plans fall through last minute or the restaurant we booked lost our reservation or the campsite we actually wanted to camp on in Southern France does not exist.
I freak out. Every damn time. I hate surprises, I want to be in control, I don’t want things to change. And then, life happens. And the cold hard truth is: Life does not care if you hate change. Not AT ALL.
In all honesty - change is hard, and probably not only for me, but for a lot of you too. We’re creatures of habit - we like rhythm, routines, predictability. But - and yes, this is cliché - the only constant in life IS change.
When I came home after the very last discussion with my ex-boss last year, and knew that I wasn’t going to go back into the office the next morning, David gave me a big long hug and said “You know what? This will be so good for you. Now you need to get comfortable with change.” And I was like - WHAT. Give me ice cream. I don’t want to hear this right now.
Now that I look back on that time and on the last couple of months, I have to admit that he was right. Leaving a job that I loved (for the most part), not having a plan, trusting that I am going to find eventually what I want to be doing was the best way to get comfortable with change. Not that it was easy, mind you.
But I picked up a couple of tips and tricks on the way how a non-change-loving person like me can get down with change.
If you’re like me, maybe they help you too! Which is why I wrote them up.
Okay, bear with me for a second. I’m not going to go all woo-woo on you, but meditation has really helped me understand that everything is always changing ANYWAYS.
When you’re concentrating on your breath and when you’re going through the same exercise day after day, you realize that even something that you think stays the same - like your breath - changes constantly. The exercise that was so easy yesterday is impossibly hard today.
Simply realizing that change is happening anyways all the time in the tiniest things and that the world does not end because of that helped me become more comfortable with the idea that maybe big changes are not so scary either.
2. Take a deep breath when something does not go as planned.
One of the hardest types of change for me is when I’ve planned something out (I love planning, after all!) and then something changes, disrupts, destroys these plans in an instant. Instead of starting to shout like a madwoman or becoming super angry when a surprise like this happens, I started to take a deep breath and think about something else for a minute or two.
Usually that time alone is enough to activate the little voice in my head that says “You know what? It’s not so bad after all. Instead of going to see a ballet tonight, you can just get some strawberries and binge on SHIELD.”
So next time, when something unexpectedly changes, just breathe. Consciously. For a minute or two. Trust me, it will make everything better.
3. Get a sounding board that can provide a different perspective.
This is SO important if 2. does not work. Because sometimes it just doesn’t and you (or at least I) get stuck in my head complaining and whining about the change that is happening.
A good example is my recent shop opening. I had super high hopes and was SO excited - and then I sold three bags. Over two weeks. I was devastated. Then my sounding board stepped in (yes, David, you probably guessed by now ;)).
He said something that was SO obvious and SO true: “You know, you work with a lot of creatives in your consulting work who are going through exactly the same thing when they’re opening their shops. This is such a great learning experience for you - you get to try all the different things and see what makes the shop work and what doesn’t. This is so much better for you than it being an immediate success!” (Told you, the guy is smart.)
Talking the change through with someone you trust, someone who you know will provide gentle and honest feedback, is a great way to get yourself out of your head and the funk that comes with having to deal with change you don’t really want to deal with.
To sum it up:
Change is inevitable. Especially when you’re a creative boss, you’re constantly dealing with new situations or changes to your business and you have to react to that. It can get exhausting - but if you work on getting better with change and don’t spend so much energy being mad at the change and yourself for not being able to deal with it, it’s going to get easier over time (at least that’s what I tell myself 😉 ). Try to see the positive side to things, even if it sounds trivial. There is one - for most! (Not for running out of coffee on a Monday morning, but yeah.)
Tell me - how do you deal with change? Any good tips for us non-change-lovers?