Whether you’re quitting your job to pursue a passion, moving cross country, getting married or starting a family, it all involves BIG changes. And change is messy– even when it’s happy change! It means letting go of what’s familiar and stepping into the unknown. But knowing what to expect and how to manage it, will help you move through the “dark” as quickly and painlessly as possible.
WHAT YOU’LL LEARN:
- The 4 universal “symptoms” of big, messy change! Are you smack dab in the middle?
- How to avoid a major freak-out about what’s around the corner
- Why avoiding or resisting change will prevent you from living your best life
- 5 action steps to help you move through change as painlessly and efficiently as possible
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Welcome back everybody. Thanks so much for being here as always.
Today as I sit here, kinda flying by the seat of my pants, I am talking to you about change…big, scary, messy, uncomfortable change.
For the past week or so, I’ve personally been feeling out of sorts. Fearful thoughts have been spiraling out of control in my head, feeling overwhelmed, paralyzed by indecision, not sleeping well, not that inspired…all of the above. Check, check, check.
Now as a coach and somebody who practices mind management on the regular, naturally I’ve been trying to manage it– through journaling, seeking guidance, self-coaching, and so forth. But I couldn’t seem to get a handle on it and I was frustrated. I was like what the heck is going on.
Well I was laying in bed last night and my mind was racing with all of these thoughts, as its been doing lately, when all of a sudden I was like “OMG Shaina…the reason you’re experiencing all of this internal chaos, is because you’re in the midst of full fledge change! Both in your personal and your professional life.”
So just to give you a little background– for those of you who maybe don’t follow me on Instagram and don’t know much about my personal life…for starters…my boyfriend Mr. Nathan Rightnour and I are moving in together the beginning of March.
Now at a glance, this may sound somewhat minuscule. However, there’s the inevitable stress of moving, we’re also taking on a lot of home projects, painting things, we are selling things, buying things, getting rid of things, but this is also a big step in our relationship.
Now, I am one of the most organized people you will ever meet, however if you walk into my apartment right now, you’d probably not believe that to be true. Nearly all my belongings sit on the floor without a proper storage space, there are things in boxes everywhere…let’s just say that my external living space is very messy right now.
And for all you KonMari fanatics out there, you know that a disorderly living space is a clear sign that true change is happening (or in some cases needs to happen). When our physical belongings are scattered and messy, that is a telltale sign that– my head is scattered and messy. Because our external state is a direct reflection of our internal state and vice versa.
So as I’m laying in bed, and realizing what a big living change is on the horizon, I then think about the change and very new direction my coaching is headed. For example, with this new podcast, and stepping away from YouTube–at least for right now.
My bedroom is in shambles. What used to be the backdrop for my videos is broken down and no longer existent. Symbolic in the sense that, that part of my journey has been broken down. My desk has been sold, but haven’t found a new one, so I’m without a proper desk right now. Out with the old and in with the new, question mark? I suppose. But again, the old and new are kinda at this weird intersect right now and my living space is physical evidence of that.
I am in the messy phase of change. My old identity as a “single” gal with a weekly video blog has died. But, I have yet to fully step into my new identity. So I’m in this weird, uncomfortable space of nothingness. I don’t know yet what this new chapter is going to look like. And until I work through my own fears, I won’t be able to fully create an inspiring vision and embrace it.
Now, not only do our ego minds crank things up a notch and throw out as many scary thoughts as it can to prevent us from actually following through with this new change, it also can feel like the Universe is conspiring against us at the same time.
For example, last week I had like 8 people unsubscribe from my email list in one day and I immediately went into a panic. I thought, “OMG, people hate my podcast. I’m going to lose everything I’ve worked so hard for. My coaching career is over.” I panicked. A part of me wanted to crawl back into my old self to avoid the anxiety I felt.
But once I realized: OK. I’m just going through a change. This is normal. This is how I’m supposed to be feeling. My ego is just doing everything in its power to keep me put and stop me from growing.
Then, I was able to calm my ass down.
Change is messy you guys, even when it’s happy change. Even when we make decisions from our intuitions and we know these are the right decisions for us and our futures. Nobody gets a free pass. The process is never smooth or pleasant.
I want to live with Mr. Rightnour. I want to take my business to the next level. I want all these new things for me and my life. But the transformation I must undergo to achieve these things comes with some major unease and rocky waters.
And the reason being is because our old selves (or at least a part of them) dies and we slowly rebirth into something and somebody new. So we have death and rebirth, I mean ouch, right?
And here’s the crazy part about all of this. Because I’ve been experiencing all these uncomfortable emotions that inevitably go along with change, I could not get myself to sit down and come up with new episode topics. And it was so frustrating. So I asked my intuition, hey I need some guidance here. February is around the corner and I don’t have any topics laid out, never mind solid content.
And all I kept hearing was: go back to the beginning. Go back to the beginning.
And I was like hmmm. OK. That makes sense. I’ve gotta revisit what it was like in the beginning of my own journey when I quit my job to find my passion 7 years ago. That way I can really serve my people on their own journey. So I kept trying to go there (7 years ago) in my minds eye to create new, juicy content.
What did my experience really look like? How did I feel back then? What did I do? What was I thinking 7 years ago?
And here I was, not knowing that I didn’t have to relive it in my mind, because I was reliving all of it in real time– mentally and emotionally.
The change cycle– the phases that we enter and exit– during, before and after change are universal. Which means we all experience the same symptoms– whether we’re getting married, becoming a new mom, quitting our jobs, changing career paths. It doesn’t matter what type of change we’re going through, the process remains the same for everybody. It’s universal and it’s predictable.
Which is why almost everybody I talk to on the phone for the first time, is experiencing the same, identical symptoms as the next person I talk to. Because they’re either on the brink of change (ready to jump and do something drastically different) or they’ve already made that leap and are smack dab in the middle of it.
So right now, in my life, I’m actually in the same “phase” as my clients and my students. Totally different scenarios and circumstances, but identical grief and clean pain. So how’s that for going back to the beginning, right? I had to almost laugh out loud to my intuition and it’s instruction of go back to the beginning. Because really what it meant was, just be where you are (in the present moment) and you’ll find the answers there, which is pretty much its evergreen advice.
Being present, living minute by minute is one of the biggest pieces of advice in this phase. Which I’ll get to in a second.
Anyway, because these symptoms are universal, the action steps to move through the pain of change are also universal. And that’s what I want to share with you today.
But, first the symptoms of change. I quickly listed them off at the beginning of the show, but I want to state them once more for you.
The first symptom is…
- Fear, with a capital F. A shitload of fear (excuse my language) comes at us when we step away from our comfort zones and enter the unknown.
When we can’t see the outcome in our minds eye, when we don’t know exactly what the future holds, when we step outside of what’s been familiar, we get really scared. Our ego minds, by nature, go to the place of: Uh oh, what if…This is a disaster. What if this doesn’t work. What if I fail. What if this a mistake. Maybe we should just play it “safe” and stay put. And we start to spiral. Our over-thinking gets the best of us. And if we aren’t careful, we begin to buy into these fears and it consumes us, leaving us feeling…
- Panicked. This is all too much. I don’t know what I’m doing. Again, we overthink like CRAZY. It leads to overwhelm and confusion and then we become…
- Paralyzed by indecision. There’s so much chaos going on in our heads– it’s almost like there’s a ping pong ball up there. Back and forth. Yes then no. Go then stop. We can’t seem to make any decisions (even tiny ones)…and instead, we end up at a standstill.
The fourth symptom is…
- Lack of energy and uninspired. Our minds suck up so much of our energy, that we’re left feeling beaten and bruised by it. And we’re like, “AHHHHHHHH.” I just want to scream. I just want order and structure because we think by having order and structure, then we’ll feel at peace. I just want a plan. I just want my future to be laid out for me, because not knowing is making me crazyyyyyy.
This is why people come to me desperate for answers. Because they think, if I just have a plan, then I’ll feel better. Right?
But the universe could care less about your plan. In fact, trying to plan actually causes us more stress!
So if freaking out in our minds, (is not enough) that’s when the Universe comes in and puts one obstacle after the other in front of us.
I remember when I quit my job, I moved to LA, I was unemployed, trying to figure out my passion, dismantling my old identity and beliefs, when everything and anything that could’ve gone wrong with my car did. I got a flat tire on the side of the freeway, I backed into a pole and tore my driver’s seat mirror right out, my car then needed a $500 repair…like it was endless. And I had multiple breakdowns in my car, no pun intended.
I couldn’t understand why it seemed like NOTHING was on my side, when all I was trying to do was better myself and my life. It was like I was getting sucker punched left and right. I couldn’t catch a break. But that’s unfortunately part of the first phase of change. It’s so nutty but it happens to all of us. It’s the Universe’s way of testing us and our strength to leave our old selves behind and take this leap of faith.
I just talked to a student of mine a few days ago, whose going through my course and she is smack dab in the middle of change. She’s conscious to her own limiting beliefs that have caused her to remain stuck at job for 6 years that’s not fulfilling. And she broke down over the call. And got very emotional. She said to me, I’m so scared. I don’t know what it looks like not to struggle. I won’t have my crutch anymore. I won’t know who I am anymore.
She’s so scared to let go of the person she’s been for such a long time. She’s so scared to let that part of her melt away, because she has no idea what’s around the corner.
That’s change you guys. That’s the real, raw pain of change. And working closely with somebody when they’re in this particular phase, gosh it’s 100% where I offer somebody the most solace.
And I didn’t have anybody when I was going through it 7 years ago. I had the pages of a book and that was really it.
And if we aren’t careful and aren’t seeking guidance during this time, the worst thing that can happen is that we mistake the pain of it as…this is the wrong direction. And it’s not.
We must hold on and weather the storm. We must refuse to abandon ship, the same way a captain of his boat does.
So with my student, we did some deep thought work, and then there was the gentle reminder, hey, you’re supposed to be feeling like this. You’re supposed to be grieving. Letting her know, this is normal to feel like you’re getting smacked around. But, you’ve got this.
I mean doesn’t change sound like so much fun? It’s a blast.
But no, I swear there is GREAT NEWS here.
What’s waiting on the other side of change is freedom, growth and true fulfillment. And knowing that the only way to the other side to this freedom, growth and fulfillment, is through the messiness of change, can bring a lot of peace in itself.
You can’t jump over it. You can’t go under it. The only way is straight through the fire. That’s it. And you’ve just gotta be willing to feel uncomfortable for a bit. Otherwise, you go backwards. You head in the other direction. And we know how that turns out. When people try to resist the uncomfortableness of change or avoid it, they remain at the same job. Or another bad job. Same unhealthy relationship. Or another bad relationship.
We are strong men and women. If you are on this call, you are capable of riding the choppy wave of change. You’ve got this. You are not the person that shys away from the things you want in life because it’s scary. You are the person whose dreams and goals are way too important not to go after (and feel unsettled at times) over it.
With that being said, let’s talk about the steps to take in order to move through the inevitable (clean) pain that change forces upon us, as quickly and painlessly as possible.
The first step that sounds simple enough is…
Be where you are. Now, easier said than done right? Because what this means is feeling through all of our emotions. It means sitting with our thoughts and paying attention to them and exploring them. It means working through all of our CRAP. It means grieving our old life and everything it was so that we can move into our new one and embrace everything it’s going to be.
For me, realizing, oh my gosh, I’ve been thrown back into Square 1 (what we call the first phase of the universal cycle), was liberating. Because then I was able to accept where I was, instead of trying to fight my way through it. I now can see it for what it is, know that it’s normal and sink myself into it.
And to define step 1 even more clearly, is to remember to be present and take minute by minute.
When we allow ourselves to just be in the here and now…focusing our full attention (mind, body and spirit) on emptying the dishwasher, making eggs, putting our jeans on one leg at a time, walking our dog…there’s great peace to be felt in that space.
I was so overwhelmed with how much needs to get done and how much I want to get done for this move and my business goals….but when I took a step back and asked myself: In this very moment, where I am, where I’m sitting, is there anything to be stressed or worried about?
And the answer was NO. The answer 99.9999% of the time is NO.
So when I talk to my clients and students and they’re panicked and stressed and worried about their careers and unknown futures, I encourage them just be where you are and take 1 minute at a time. Because if you’re fully present while walking your dog or chopping onions, there’s nothing to worry about.
This is not the time and place to be thinking long-term into the future. It will make you nuts!!! Take my word for it. It’ll have you reaching for the bottle of Advil.
Trying to map out our future is again, our way to try to control the uncontrollable. To try and predict the unknown. To try and not FEEL as bad. But it only makes us feel worse.
The third step to move through change as painlessly and quickly as possible is to hold onto an appropriate mantra. One that works wonders for me whenever I’m at the start of big change, and again one that I give to my clients is– courtesy of Martha Beck:
I don’t know what the hell is going on, but that’s OK.
It’s OK not to know what’s happening or who you are right now. In fact, this mantra not only reminds us that it’s OK to feel the way that we’re feeling, but again that it’s 100% normal. It puts a little dash of humor back into chaos.
The fourth step is to not pretend you have it all figured out. Trying to convince ourselves (never mind other people) that “Yup. I’m good. I’m just dying inside, but hell I’m not going to let you know that.” That can be very hard on the soul. That attitude only isolates us even more. We can’t possibly reach out for guidance or seek comfort in others when we can’t even admit to ourselves that we’re having a hard time in this phase of our life. You want to swallow your ego and come to terms with the fact that you’re going through a rough patch and that’s totally, 100% OK.
And the last step my friends, is to talk to someone. Whether that be a coach, a friend or in my case, a Nathan– who is a saint and continuously allows me to express my thoughts and fears without judgement.
Having him as a sounding board helps me to sort through my fearful thinking more effectively, the same way a coach has done for me. So it’s really important that you have that support and as you move through the change.
That is for today my friends. Thank you so much for listening as always. I’ll see you next time. Bye!