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Embracing change

Change is hard. That’s a phrase we hear a lot and at one time or another, we have likely said it or thought it.


So, why is change hard? Is it the actual change? Is the new state difficult? Perhaps sometimes, but the universal struggle with change is related to something else. When we experience change, what's next is different from what's now. Therefore, change requires learning and letting go. And letting go is hard.


Often, letting go means giving up something that has provided a sense of comfort and stability. Even if we know the new way is better. Even if we want the change. Even if we're excited about what comes next. Whether there is resistance, hesitation or excitement about change, we're letting go of what we know.


Letting go asks us to break old habits. It means leaving behind previously held beliefs and assumptions. Letting go can cause us to question or redefine our values. It can challenge and reinvent our truths. These are the hard parts of change.


The ability to let go and adopt new mindsets requires both cognitive flexibility and a healthy dose of curiosity.


I'd like to share a few recent changes in my life, and how I'm approaching them:


  • A good friend came out as non-binary some time ago and recently changed from she/her to they/them pronouns. I have struggled with the change. Not because of values or beliefs or assumptions about gender - I understand and fully support gender diversity. I struggle because letting go of the she/her habit has proven difficult. I have known them as she/her for a long time. I am practicing being proactive, intentional and thoughtful about my language. I am making a conscious effort to think before I speak (which, as someone who processes out loud, is not always easy). I'm working at it, and I'm getting better.

  • I recently left my job to start this company. This was a huge change, and I most certainly struggled. I couldn’t stop thinking about what job stability meant, about who I was outside of being an employee/leader, about the comfort of an organizational culture that felt like family, about personal value in the work world. I had so many beliefs and assumptions about these things that I needed to let go. Reflection helped. And as an outward processor, I reflected out loud. I talked to friends, family and my therapist to help me reframe these beliefs and assumptions. And I'm glad I did because I love what I'm doing now.

  • I have an exciting dream that includes selling everything (when the time is right) and heading out with my partner to explore the world in our van. But what about our house? Our routines? Our family? Our friends? In order for this change to happen, I must be willing to let go of what everyday living looks like. This change is going to be slow. I am taking time to re-create everyday life. We are testing what everyday life can look like as we take longer and longer trips in the van, and as we dream and imagine how to integrate the important bits of our current life into our future life.


Next time you're greeted with a change, I invite you to consider how shifting your thinking, spending time reflecting or diving into curiosity might make letting go a little bit easier. Change is part of our lives. It's inevitable. It's also necessary, beneficial and defining.




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