I am making a guess that you’re here because you’re contemplating — or are smack in the middle of a — BIG LIFE CHANGE and are feeling a bit (or a lot) lost. Let me just say right off the bat that it’s totally normal and you aren’t alone.
Think about it. Think about all the changes we go through during our life time? Yup! You got it. It’s a huge amount. And consider the lifespan. The average person will live well into their 80’s. That’s a lot of living and a lot of changing.
You may not know who I am yet but here’s a few things you should know. In the last 20 years I’ve made 7 shifts— and that’s only professionally. I’m a licensed therapist, coach, a successful painter and an avid entrepreneur —I’ve launched 6 businesses so far. And I will keep doing it because I am one of those people who loves to do what I love. When I feel that gnarly feeling in my gut, I listen and you got it — SHIFT!
I don’t throw all caution to the wind. I start by exploring the feeling and collecting information so I understand what it is I may need to do differently. I plan, I chart my course and move myself into change mode. This could take a month or a year. In the case of my therapy practice, it took two years to stop doing work that zapped my energy. Depleted energy translates into less creativity. And that just doesn’t work for me.
So let’s talk about Your prospective Changes, Shifts & Transitions.
So, here’s what I think. The path to any change, pivot or transition begins with what’s already been successful. Yes, you read that right. Because when we start with everything that isn’t going right, we end up where??? Anxious? Self-reproachful? Paralyzed. Instead, I head straight to your successes and wins. The idea and intention is to build upon who you already are and all the wins you have accumulated in your life thus far. And you have! Scored big.
This may sound totally crazy because of how and why you are here in the first place. You may be thinking that who you are, what you are doing and where you are, just isn’t working. And you are probably right — for the moment.
But, here’s the real question To Ask Yourself —
Are you really working with the best parts of yourself? Or are you feeling the anxiety of what’s not working? And are those feelings getting in the way of your exploration process. Faced with the reality of change, You can feel lost. You can feel like you failed. You can feel stuck. You can feel confused and afraid. This happens even when we are seeking the change out voluntarily. But all those feelings — as real as they are— and they can feel huge— they don’t define who you are.
So, I’m going to remind you: YOU ARE NOT YOUR FEELINGS.
Silly as this may sound, it may help to say this out loud “I AM NOT MY FEELINGS”. Because your first steps are to separate YOU from those feelings. You have them because you are — well human. But your work is not to become them and let them eat away at your self-esteem.
What do I do next?
You Create A New Roadmap.
And I really mean a roadmap. Included in each road map are these three pieces FEELING, THINKING and DOING. And yes, I will tell you what to do with them and give you access to some sample worksheets that you can begin using right away.
Let’s begin with your FEELINGS — YOUR feelings and your relationship to them. We need to separate the Feeling, Thinking & Doing parts of ourself. Each of these is important and we need to see and know them for what they are AND the role they play in the transition and change process.
Feelings are sparked by your emotions and are colored by our thoughts, memories, and those pictures and images that have become linked by our past experiences. Our emotions and feelings play a huge role in how we experience and connect with the world. But keep in mind that your feelings often come from things that have already happened.
It’s vital that you sort through these as you create a new roadmap. Answering the question like - What’s happening now? and What happened in the past? is important. We have to figure out what is creating the feelings that get stirred up inside. It’s so easy to get all tangled up in feelings and suddenly find yourself paralyzed. Isn’t that just the worst feeling ever?
Let’s say you are dealing with the loss of your job. At first there might be some shock followed by sadness and potentially fear of what’s going to happen next. Inevitably you will shift into the negative self feelings i.e. “I’m a loser” “I failed” “No one is going to hire me now” We must get those feelings down on paper when we are creating a new roadmap. They are important to the process. They have power to stall us and we need to do a little dissecting.
While we can’t and should not disregard our gut instincts and feelings— at the same time we can’t let them rule the show.
Thinking is how we make sense of things. We look. We explore. We review. When we are in our thinking mind, we use logic, data, facts, as part of any decision making process. It’s a linear process rather than a reaction. We are using a different part of our brains when we are in thinking mode. And it’s important to get to that part. We actually do this by working with our feelings — this may seem a little counterintuitive because hey our feelings don’t always feel so great — and we really just want to run and hide from them—right? Sidebar - Our feelings find us and we can’t outrun them. However, we can use facts to bring the demon of negative feelings down —this is what helps in the creation of a new path.
Some of the worksheets I’ve created for you can assist you in this process.
Keep in mind that thinking brings up feelings too. So they do overlap and are both needed to arrive at a course of action or a decision.