Change is Never Easy, But it Can Be Easier
It’s not just seasons changing in these parts.
The school where I’ve worked for the past five years has become swollen. Overripe and bursting with more kids than the building was designed to hold. And so it’s being cleaved and the excess is being funneled into a new school, opening next fall.
My first reaction when confronted with the reality was that I wanted everything to remain the same.
Because change is hard.
And it’s so much easier to just keep on keeping on.
But that’s not always (or even often) a choice.
So when decision time came, I elected to transfer allegiance to the new school.
And between the additional meetings, the multitude of unknowns, the additional curriculum burdens and the physical sorting and packing, it has not always been easy.
But change never is.
Here are some strategies that I’m using now that help to make this change a little easier:
Accept Change As Inevitable
Even when things stay the course, the course changes, as do the people on it. Some change is obvious, the sudden endings and the hard right turns of life. And other change, most change, is more subtle and slow. The fraction of a millimeter added to a child’s height. The replacement of tall grasses with short trees that eventually grow to shade out the growth below.
When the abrupt changes occur, we often resist, digging our heels in and skidding through the turn as though we can alter reality through an act of sheer stubbornness.
We may as well push down on our children’s heads in an attempt to halt their growth.
Change is normal.
Change is unavoidable.
We may as well get used to it.
Frame Change As an Adventure
How exciting! You get to try something new!
Not feeling it yet? Keep practicing. Watch your words. Rather than speaking negatively about your situation, work to frame it as an adventure. An experience. Yes, there will be trials and tribulations. That’s part of what makes it more exhilarating. Aren’t you lucky to have this opportunity for excitement!
Part of the adventure mindset is to view setbacks as problems to be solved rather than roadblocks in your way. Be creative. Be flexible. And remember to have some fun along the way.
Control What You Can
We all feel better when we have the impression that we are in control of our lives. Unfortunately, life does not always agree. When you’re faced with unwanted change, it’s easy to fall into a victim mindset, taking the approach that all of this is happening to you and that there’s nothing you can do.
It’s true you cannot stop the change. But it’s also true that you’re not completely helpless either. In the midst of upheaval, control what you can, no matter how small or seemingly inconsequential. Simply recognizing that you have choice and acting upon those choices will go a long way to alleviating the fear and frustration that accompanies change.
Create a “Worth It Because…” List
If you have chosen this change, you probably already have some idea of how it may benefit you down the road. If this change was thrust upon you, you’re probably drawing a blank as to the potential positives of the unwanted life renovation.
So figure them out. Step outside yourself and brainstorm some of the current and future reasons that this change is/will be worth it. You don’t have to like or agree with the change to uncover some of the positives. Some of these positive side effects may not be automatic. So put in the effort to make them happen.
Piggyback On Your Change
You know that thing you’ve always intended to do but never quite got around to it? Now’s the time. You know that bucket list that has been collecting dust? Brush it off.
Change provides opportunities for more change. It’s harder to come up with excuses to avoid something new when new and different are everywhere you look. View this as a window of opportunity for you to bring to life some of the changes you have dreamt about.
As for me, I am super excited about my upcoming change. It will push me. It will challenge me. Some days it will probably bring tears when overwhelm hits, but I’m confident that the effort will pay dividends. I’m thrilled to be part of building something new.