Making Big, Shiny Change

by Tanya Geisler on · 26 comments

When it comes to change, there are a ton of long-held perspectives that have infiltrated our collective psyches. Here’s what immediately pops for me:

Change is bad.
Change is good.
Change is scary.
Change is essential.
Change is inevitable.

I got curious about how others feel about change, so I decided to crowdsource this topic and asked my Twitter and Facebook network:

Please fill in the blank: Change is ___________.

And boy, did crowd-sourcing get crowded. People showed up:

Change is growth.
Change is a new beginning.
Change is an opportunity
Change is constant. As in, nothing is constant by change
Change is hard when you want it and even harder when you don't.
Change is obliviously necessary.
Change is a rolling sea of self-discovery.
Change is the only sure thing.
Change is fun!!!
Change is the nervous, scary, thrilling, hell YES! swirly feeling in your stomach.
Change is the nature of reality.
Change is the one thing we all want. Even though we pretend we don't.
Change is never as scary as the story made up in our heads says it is.
Change is healing.
Change is constant, scary and liberating.
Change stop in your tracks if you let or it can fly you forward if you jump on and hang on.
Change is creation at work.
Change is the E-ticket ride of life.
Change challenges us to become someone we were waiting to be!
Change is inevitable and can't happen too quickly.
Change is up to me.
Change is good. Even if it comes kicking and screaming.
Change is necessary for growth and survival.
Change is certain, whether you are ready or not.
Change is welcome.
Change is inevitable.
Change is freeing!

Yes.

To every last statement.

At various points along the path of change, some answers feel more relevant than others…

…but with each answer, I felt truth resonate.

(Psssst…Here’s a litmus test to reveal your own perspective on change.  Notice your reactions when you read the words: “Change of plans.” Or: “time for a change”. How do you feel? Excited? Annoyed? Frustrated? Fearful?)

Change is…Different. And So Your Responses Will Be Different, Too.

When I think about change, I notice that there are two TYPES of change:

1) Change that is thrust upon us.
2) Change we choose (a.k.a. change we thrust upon ourselves).

Circumstantial change can be complicated in how it manifests and yet simple in how we must approach it: adapt or die.

Your partner loses their job. There’s an unexpected pregnancy. You’re asked to relocate.

At our worst, we kick, scream, deny and avoid. At our best, we recognize the opportunity (after we’ve kicked and screamed and denied and avoided). And then we proceed. Evolving as we go.

But choosing to make a change?

Ahhhh. THIS is where the honey is at.

By and large, most respondents to my less-than-scientific-experiment suggested that this kind of change is essential.

We know it. We know we’ve been making excuses our whole lives: for our disconnection, for our weight, for our smoking, for our poor diet, for our unfulfilling career.

Then something happens. It could be an event, or we hit a wall, or we just get tired. In that moment, we decide to stop making excuses and start making changes.

And that moment is exhilarating…

…and scary as hell.

Immediately, our now-wide-awake inner voices (critics, gremlins, saboteurs…whatever you call them) start frantically screaming: “NO NO NO!!!! Don’t change! Stay safe! Keep your head down. WHATEVER YOU DO…DO NOTHING!!!!”

Given the visceral knee-jerk reaction, it’s a wonder we persevere. And yet we do.

Persevere. Change. Plan. Shine.

Here’s how to make a change. Any change. On your terms.

  1. Get clear about WHY you want to make the change. What’s the ultimate goal and how will you FEEL? What will this change give you?
  2. Set your “start” and “by when” dates. And don’t allow yourself to get freaked out about either date. They can’t hurt you…I promise.
  3. Know your triggers and plan for work-arounds. And if you DON’T know your triggers, spend some time documenting them before your start date. (What was going on before you reached for the Chips Ahoy, cigarette, or remote control?)
  4. Decide how you’ll measure your progress. Is Excel your friend or foe? A whiteboard checklist? A notepad that goes everywhere you go?
  5. Ready your support systems (accountability partnerships work wonders).
  6. Commit fully to your start date. Do this as publicly as you are willing to. (Maybe even more so).
  7. Check in truthfully with yourself as you log your progress. Also take time to feel into what’s going on with you. Where’s the resistance? What are you resisting (for real?) How can this be more fun (yup, I went there)?
  8. Expect homeostasis and be ready for it. Know it’s a good sign (it will set in when you’re partway through the change when the old is undone and the new is not yet embedded). You’re mostly there, Rock Star!
  9. Lean into your support. They said “yes” because they want you to succeed.
  10. Celebrate every win. Daily.
  11. Count on slipping and know how you are with that. Learn from it, recalibrate and have another go. You must. You’re counting on you.

And while you're doing all of that, remember this, Sunshine: you can make changes or you can make excuses. Your choice.

Blaze on.


by Tanya Geisler

Clarity. Action. Achievement. Joy. Tanya Geisler is a CTI-certified coach (a.k.a. "catalyst, not therapist") and speaker who believes that life is a grand production...and it's time for you to step into your starring role. And radiate. Right now.
Tanya Geisler
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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Laurie October 22, 2011 at 8:30 am

Change IS all of those things. And it is exciting too! But how much you buy into the change will make all the difference. I think that is the biggest factor determining success.

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Tanya October 24, 2011 at 11:09 pm

Bang on, Laurie!
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Nick Sotos October 22, 2011 at 9:35 am

You are so right Tanya. Thank you for this wonderful post about change. I really enjoy it.
Keep on the good work!
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Tanya October 24, 2011 at 11:10 pm

Why, thank you for the loveliness, Nick!
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sambit misra October 22, 2011 at 11:30 am

Change is challenging. Like every challenge, it is your response to it which sets the result. So, the focus should be on the appropriate response.

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Tanya October 24, 2011 at 11:11 pm

True…every challenge requires a specific and tailored response. There really is no one-size-fits-all answer.
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Rakesh Narang October 22, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Some people have easily created a thinking pattern that makes change necessary. Unfortunately, I haven’t manage to do that, I still feel very much insecure, my brain goes “Pain” when I think about making a “change that is inevitable.” I have found out the reason for it and I’d be working hard to find an alternative.

God Bless.

– Rakesh Narang
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Tanya October 24, 2011 at 11:13 pm

I wonder what would shift if you knew that finding the alternative could be easy?
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Jody - Fit at 53 October 22, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Bookmarking! You got me! 😉 GREAT POST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Tanya October 24, 2011 at 11:14 pm

Thank you!
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Cathy | Treatment Talk October 23, 2011 at 12:32 am

Hi Tanya,

Change is necessary sometimes and what a great post for explaining change and the various forms. Change to me, can be exciting (as long as it’s positive). But sometimes we have to work on letting go of the past, accept the consequences of change, and enjoy our new situation.
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Tanya October 24, 2011 at 11:14 pm

Release as a precursor to enjoyment. I love the expansiveness of that. Thank you.
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Alex Blackwell | The BridgeMaker October 23, 2011 at 6:55 am

Lance, sorry for my late addition:

Change is is necessary for growth.

Alex

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Tanya October 24, 2011 at 11:16 pm

Couldn’t agree more, Alex!
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David Stevens October 23, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Hi Tanya,
Change is electric in the right circunstances. You gotta set the scene, prepare then go for it. When change is thrust upon us, the barriers go up, initially…..then re group, assess & allow.
thank you
be good to yourself
David
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Tanya October 24, 2011 at 11:17 pm

“Allow” is fast becoming one of my favourite words. Thank you for sharing.
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MizFit October 24, 2011 at 5:04 am

for me it is INDEED 1000% about the WHY.
when I know that the change is no longer scary.
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Tanya October 24, 2011 at 11:17 pm

Time and time again, clarity is King (and/or Queen).
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rob white October 24, 2011 at 8:00 am

I love that crowd participation, Tanya. Indeed, there is no such thing as a wrong answer when folks speak their own truth. I like to think of ‘change’ as a blossoming that we must nourish by continually asking healthy questions. I take on change by asking questions like; “how can I allow the beautiful qualities of my authentic self to fully blossom through my personality?”
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Tanya October 24, 2011 at 11:19 pm

Oooh, I LOVE that visual of nourishment and blossoming. And that powerful question? Sublime.
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Tia Sparkles Singh October 24, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Change is inevitable. Progress is not.
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Tia Sparkles Singh October 24, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Unless you make it so.
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Tanya October 24, 2011 at 11:20 pm

Zing-o!!!! Smiling widely, T.
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Galen Pearl October 25, 2011 at 9:41 pm

Great post–I love the variety of answers. I used to be very grumpy about change, at least change that I was not in control of, because, well because I wasn’t in control of it! Somewhere along the way, I figured out I wasn’t even controling the change I thought I was controlling! Ha! The joke was on me.
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ghostfighter0506 October 27, 2011 at 6:00 am

I love that crowd participation, Tanya. Indeed, there is no such thing as a wrong answer when folks speak their own truth. I like to think of ‘change’ as a blossoming that we must nourish by continually asking healthy questions.
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sheila November 6, 2011 at 6:59 am

I’m just seeing this for the first time today, I’m a bit tardy, lol. I just had to chime in and say what a wonderful read this is! Chane is like one of those tight warm lingering hugs you can give yourself.

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