2017 has been a year of BIG changes for me. As I was reflecting on my life over the last week, I realized exactly how many changes I've made in the last year, and it was a pretty crazy list.
-Became a step-mom
-Moved to a new city
-Moved to a "real" house from a tiny house
-Quit my full-time job
-Closed my tiny house business
-Launched my new speaking, coaching & consulting business
-Started professional speaking
-Started coaching training
-Sold a car
-Bought a car
-Launched my first mastermind & coaching program
This list represents some of the most exciting and stressful experiences I've had up to this point in my life!
All of my changes made me stop and think about how often we are resistant to change and how poorly we sometimes navigate times of change in our lives. Again, the changes in my life have been great, but they certainly haven't all been easy or stress free.
If you had asked me a year ago what my life looked like it would have been very different from where I am today. A year ago, I was pursuing my full-time Air Force career. My dog, Rocket, and I were content with our lives in the tiny house (for those who don't know my story, I lived in 234 square feet for a little over 3 years...and yes it was by choice!). I really wans't looking for a new life because I was OKAY with what I had...well sort of. What I realized, is that while the life I had a year ago wasn't bad, it also didn't feed my soul or allow me to use my gifts and talents to impact others.
Today I am married with two beautiful step-daughters. And after 16 years of full-time Air Force service, I have transitioned to a part-time status so I can pursue my dream of building my own business that helps other women achieve their dreams and passions through entrepreneurship. I am living in alignment with my values and purpose and that has made all the difference in the world.
As I've mentioned in my previous posts, the transitions I made over the last year weren't seamless. There were some significant moments of fear and doubt that colored everything I experienced even though the changes I was making were great. However, with two small mental shifts, change became exciting for me.
First, I started looking at change as an opportunity to grow.
The problem with change is that's hard to see what's just around the corner. When we can't always predict the outcome or see the results up front, change can be terrifying. We often view change as a negative life event. Obviously there are times where change is not intentional, but rather situational (a job loss, the death of a loved one, a financial setback). In those cases it can be extremely difficult to view change in a positive light. However, the key to navigating change with grace and excitement is to view ALL change as an opportunity to grow and learn.
My first round of significant life changes happened almost 5 years ago, and unlike the changes this year, most of them weren't planned or even really wanted. 5 years ago I went through a divorce that certainly wasn't on my bucket list. I changed jobs, moved across the country and downsized to the tiny house as part of my new life. Not all of those changes were choices I wanted to make at the time, but as soon as I started looking at them as opportunities to grow, it allowed me to move past the negative mentality.
I realized that the divorce was an opportunity for me to get really clear on the things I valued and get much more comfortable with who I am as a person. It also helped me get clear on how I wanted to spend my time and money so that my life reflected who I wanted to be. It led me to the idea of tiny houses and my eventual shift to smaller living, which allowed me to start speaking about intentional living. That experience taught me that I loved speaking and set the foundation for my new business.
These transitions were HARD, but they also gave me a chance to grow. The growth I had during the hard, unwanted changes allowed me to become the person I am today and gave me the courage to pursue this more exciting round of changes this year.
When we can shift our outlook from the negative to the positive, change becomes a transformational event that allows us to become better versions of who we are in this world.
By asking a few simple questions, we can help shift our mindset. How can I use this change to grow? What's one lesson I can learn from this change? How can I use the change to impact others?
These questions are hard to remember when we are in the midst of change, but they can really help us experience change in a more positive light.
The second thing I'm learning is to enjoy the journey of life.
The beautiful thing about life is that nothing stays the same. We are in a continual process of change throughout our lives from a mental, emotional, physical and situational standpoint. There isn't much that stays the same when you really stop to think about it. After all, we aren't all still trying to learn how to walk or read in our 30's. We probably don't have the exact same friends as we did 10 years ago and if we are honest, we probably wouldn't want to trade all of our life experiences for who we were the year we started high school (assuming you aren't still 15!). All of those things reflect change in our life and they are all part of our journey.
Allowing ourselves to enjoy the journey makes things so much less stressful and so much more exciting. Sometimes being in our routines and doing things the same way as we did last year is good. Routines give us predictability and stability, but the downside to routines is they can often take over without us realizing it. When we start avoiding change our lives become stagnant and often pretty boring.
I am challenging you to enjoy the journey of change. When we start looking at change as a positive force for growth it allows us to really enjoy the process. That's not to say every minute is blissful, it's certainly not, even when the change is entirely positive, but it does mean we can enjoy who we are becoming and what we are learning.
Ask yourselves the following questions: What change is going on in your life right now? Are you enjoying the journey? How would it change your experience if you looked at the change as an adventure?
I'd love to hear about your thoughts on this post, please share your comments below.