I’m spending a few days in Yachats, my favorite spot on the Oregon coast. Last week while trying to arrange a time to get together with my friend, Jen, we discovered that she was headed to the same section of beach at the same time. Yesterday she and her two kids joined me for lunch at the Drift Inn on their way south.
While we were dining, Jen was telling me about her new office space. Her son mentioned that it was her seventh space. I could only remember three so I asked. Turns out there have only been three spaces, but he likes stability. He’s a wise old soul in an 11-year-old body. During his 11 years he has moved a lot. His comment, “I wish we’d just stay somewhere for a decade” contrasted with Jen’s comment about needing adventure.
Because I’m upgrading the Embrace Change course I offered this summer my antennae are set to pick comments about change. In the course we start with ‘Be Here Now.’ Where you are is where you are. That means it’s okay whether you’re resisting change or seeking an adventure at every opportunity. If you try to push past your very real and important feelings, you either stay stuck or sabotage yourself. I hear women beat themselves up because of that self-sabotage. They feel weak, lazy, or undisciplined. My experience with many women over the years says that is a lie.
Twenty years ago a friend told me that she liked the rut she was in. You won’t be surprised she lives in the same house she lived in twenty years ago. Another friend has lived in seven states during that same time. Because your brain wants to keep you safe you’ll seek out an amount of change that fits your personality and history. If a change doesn’t feel safe you’ll do what you can to block that change. I used to work with a woman who lost 100 pounds. She confided in me that being a size six never felt safe to her. She felt more secure after she regained the weight.
Yes, your brain wants you to be safe, but it also wants stimulation. In the midst of change it’s important to honor all of you–your emotions, your energy level, your history, your comfort zone, your values, etc. If the change you’re facing (or the change you’re hoping for) impacts others you may feel a tug between your emotions and the emotions of others. If you’re a people pleaser then you are at particular risk for not honoring your feelings.
It might seem like I’m saying you can stay right where you are because of your feelings. Not at all. I have a possible change in my life right now that scares me. (I’ll let you know if it happens.) I know I need to make room for my feelings regarding the change. Am I up to it? What ripple changes will result and will I like them? Will I be rejected because of my choices? The fear and anxiety I feel around those questions and the possible change deserve my attention. But I won’t stay stuck.
In Embrace Change we don’t move from ‘Be Here Now’ to ‘Stay Right Here.’ In fact once we tend to our feelings we start to move into action. Some people will tell you to get right into action. Sometimes that does the trick. But I’ve worked with enough smart, driven people to tell you that it usually doesn’t.
I remember a woman I worked with about eight years ago. She knew she would benefit from going to bed earlier to increase the hours of quality sleep she was getting. She knew that getting better sleep would support her health, her relationships, and business goals. Plenty of motivation. But setting that intention and taking action wasn’t enough. She’d stick to it for a day or two, then find herself working late or surfing Facebook well past her intended bedtime. She felt motivated and she knew how to move into action. But she hadn’t addressed some underlying emotions and needs.
Whether the change in your life is one you’ve been wishing for or has snuck into your life I invite you to find a space to honor what you’re feeling. In the Embrace Change course (stay tuned for details) I give tools, guidance, and coaching around how to do this. In the meantime you may want to explore your feelings. When you think about the change you are facing (or are inviting in) what do you feel? Notice if you feel stirred up or find it hard to move past thinking. Do you feel a cocktail of emotions? I’d love to hear what came up for you.