As we move into a new month (and really start to feel the shift in seasons!), there’s no better time to talk about navigating change.
Leaving home, changing jobs, starting a family, going on an adventure, losing a loved one, chasing a dream, building a business, hitting puberty or even just challenging an old belief…
Nothing ever remains the same, so it’s worth exploring how we look after our emotional wellbeing, perspective and performance throughout life’s changing tides.
Change is one of few things we can actually expect in life. The trouble is, we can rarely predict exactly what, when or how something will shift, be it our relationships, our roles or the world around us. And that level of constant uncertainty can be enough to generate a growing sense of unease, excitement, nervousness, doubt, dread, and/or fear.
The good news is, if you’re struggling to navigate change in your personal or professional life, consciously or otherwise, you’re not alone. Resisting change is one of the most human things we all do, and it’s largely down to our in-built survival mechanisms.
Our amygdala’s — responsible for activating the fight-flight-freeze response in the brain — automatically perceive change as a threat, and to keep us safe, will guide us away from uncertainty and risk… Rather than towards it. So, whilst starting in a new role or job may not be a matter of life and death today, our reptilian brains with a negativity bias won’t always know the difference. It’s not you, it’s evolution!
And if that isn’t quirky enough, there’s another side to the coin when it comes to ch-ch-ch-ch-changes 🎵😅
For all our trepidation and doubt, humans also crave change, and regularly! From new haircuts, to dream travel destinations, to career overhauls, we often seek fresh experiences to expand our perspective, and test our limits as we go after goals and dreams… And rightly so. For intrinsic motivations like play, growth, making a difference or being creative, embracing change is an essential part of the process, and a skill we can build with practise.
So, as you begin to explore your own relationship to change, don’t be afraid to dial up curiosity, possibility, spontaneity, wonder and empathy, and make gentle observations instead of judgements. We’re only human, and cutting ourselves some slack is an important first step in really learning how to ‘turn and face the strange’ in all chapters of our hero’s journey.
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