I have spent that last twenty years helping organisations and their leaders deal with change. Change is the one thing we all have to deal with and the speed and frequency is getting greater by the year. We only have to look at 2020 and the amount of new things we have had to learn. Using remote technology is now standard, when many of us hadn't used it at all before March. When change is forced upon us, we have no choice but to get on and do it. Why then do we usually resist change and what are the impacts?  
 
As humans we are 'hard-wired' to stay comfortable - the path of least resistance. When we enter a room, we do not burst through the wall, but use the door. It's easy, low effort and it won't hurt us. What is amazing, are the lengths we will go to, as people, to stay comfortable. We can endure quite a lot before we grasp the nettle and change. We hate our job, dislike our boss and how they speak to us, we dream about a new life direction or career, but put it on the back burner because the change just feels too overwhelming. Where would I start? What would I do for money? Our self-talk does a good job of keeping us comfortable. Keeping us safe. 
 
The Cycle of Change 
In nature and in life we see a cycle of change happening - this is called the Sigmoid curve. When a baby is born it will often loose weight and it takes time for them to get established. They then grow, do well and flourish into an adult, prior to getting old and eventually passing away. We also see this cycle in nature every year as we go through the seasons. We see businesses going through these curves too. What we know is that those organisations who do not change proactively when they are doing well, eventually decline and do not recover. Think Blockbusters, Woolworths, British Home Stores - I could do on. All of these organisations were suffering in the market place and ignored the signals. They carried on with their traditional approach and it lead to their demise. 
 
As people we need to change when we are in a position of strength, rather than weakness 
 
The Impacts of not changing 
The change curve affects us as people. What often happens is we know we need to change or take a bold step away from our comfort zone but avoid taking the plunge and carry on (ostrich style). This has several impacts - we become dependant upon our situation and afraid to deviate from it. If we procrastinate it can lead to: 
- Less financial resources being available. 
- Poor mental health or confidence. 
- The feeling of being 'stuck' without options. 
- Acceptance that this is as good as it gets. 
 
Making the change 
If you want to make a change to your life or career you need to make time to think about it carefully. Making a change to your life direction can give you purpose and reenergise your life. It can be positively life enhancing. You only have to look at people who were unhappy in their careers and then got made redunant. These folks say things like "I wish I had done this years ago", "I got the chance to do what I have always wanted". The sad thing is, they had to wait to be made redundant before they made the change - they were forced. This often leaves people feeling out of control and hurt in the short-term. If we think back to the change curve, ideally you want to be changing from a position of strength and clarity.  
 
Top tips for change: 
1) If you are daydreaming about change or are unhapppy with your current situation, schedule time in to think about this. What do you want? What don't you want? What are your strengths? What are your passions?  
2) Think about what resources you have behind you to support your transition. It is important to tackle change when you feel in a strong position. This gives us the 'confidence cushion' we need take the first steps into a new future. 
3) Avoid changing in a state of desperation. You will not be in the best mindset to take the action required. 
4) Dial up your bravery. You have one life and need to make it count.  
5) Ensure you have a good support network. Who do you have around you who can help as a sounding board, offer positive challenge and just be a listening ear when you need one? 
6) Get in the driving seat of your own life. Nobody else will drive the change you want, need and deserve. 
 
Nobody is saying that change is easy. It isn't and that's why most people stay comfortable. I leave you with this thought. Fast forward your life - you are 85 years of age and looking back on the choices you made and the paths taken. Are you happy that you have lived your best life? Do you have any regrets? What changes needs to happen now to make the 85 year old you feel fulfilled and content? Will you be able to say "I aced it"? 
 
Thrive over 40 are running 'Your Life, Your Way' starting 26th January 2021. This is a 6-week programme, helping women reflect on their life direction so they can move forward into the positive future they deserve. Please book your free discovery call with Mel Bligh or get in touch via contact@thriveover40.co.uk if you'd like to find out more. 
 
 
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