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Change your Mind about Change

Junior High seemed daunting, too much, too different, too foreign.  I didn’t want to go. My sister was a year ahead of me, I drilled her on everything that happened her first day of Junior High. A full year had gone by, she couldn’t remember.  How could she do this to me? I need to know.  

Three years later, I did not want to go to High School. It was too much, too different, too intimidating, too foreign. Again, I drilled my sister — no real answers. Three years later, I did not want to go to . . . Are you getting the picture? In my adult life, I moved nine times in 20 years. Change became a familiar pattern. Eventually, I learned— this is life.  Embrace change or lose life in the resistance to change.  

The start of the new school year brings change. Students headed to different campuses; mommas sending off babies to college; college graduates taking on full time positions in the professional world. Change is the content of life. Our bodies are changing. The earth is changing. Technology changes. When change comes our way, we can either cooperate and benefit or resist and feel defeat.  

Think back to a time you resisted change. What happened once you surrendered to it?  Recognizing that change is not the enemy, it’s simply part of life, helps us shift our approach.  Choosing to look for the excitement and anticipate the new chapter, adjusts our attitude. With a new approach and a new attitude, now we can embrace change with a little introspection.  Here are some questions you might find helpful. Grab a journal and thoughtfully sit with each question.


What’s changing that I am resisting?
Why am I resisting this new chapter?
What am I afraid of with respect to this change?
What’s the payoff for keeping things the way they are?
What’s the cost for keeping things as is?
What benefits might there be in this change?
What would I have to do to cooperate?
What’s the next step I could take to cooperate?
When will I take the next step?

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.  ~George Bernard Shaw

Checklist for Change

Life is a series of changes. For those of us who are not fond of change, that sounds like bad news. The rest of the story, life is also a series of choices. Big life transitions can catch us off guard, even when we are anticipating them or excited about them.  Here is a check list to keep handy in the middle of your transition.  

  • Remember that life is a series of changes — this is just life.
  • Know that with every transition, there is both a gain and a loss.  
  • Allow time to grieve the loss.
  • Acknowledge the feelings around both the gain and the loss, even though those two sets of emotions feel like they are incongruent.
  • Write in a journal, honestly express the feelings you are experiencing.
  • Refuse to rush the awkward in between stage — between  what you are leaving and what lies ahead.  It’s an uncomfortable but necessary space.
  • Let go of the part of life that is being left behind, either by saying what needs to be said, taking time to reflect, or releasing your emotions in your journal or some other way.
  • Intentionally keep some constants in your life as things are changing.
  • Anticipate the new season with excitement, even make a list of the good things that are coming.  
  • Purposely reach out to new people in the new circumstances to develop community.

Navigating transition is a process, hold the process loosely and allow yourself to move in and out of the many phases of transition. There is no life without transition. Enjoy the journey.


Michele has a brief ebook that explores the phases of transition. You are welcome to download it for free here


Change, Positive?

   Creating positive change can be challenging, that’s an understatement.  Most people resist change, unless it’s their own idea.  Take a minute to jot down the answer to these questions:  how have you changed lately?  Go ahead, what have you changed in the last week?  the last month? Be specific.  Howard Hendricks, in his book Teaching to Change Lives, said, “If you want to become a change agent, you also must change. . . If you want to continue leading, you must continue changing.”

   John C Maxwell tells the story of Henry Ford’s love for the Model T in his book, Developing the Leader within You.  Henry Ford had been advised that the Model T would soon be left in the dust.  He had no interest in changing it.  When his lead production manager rolled out a new design — gleaming red, low to the ground, 4-door with the top down, Ford went maniacal.  He destroyed the car and lost his lead production manager to GM.  Eventually the competition forced Henry Ford to start making the Model A but his heart was never in it.  

   I arrived at a new organization a couple of decades ago.  They were doing everything differently than I’d ever seen before.  After every weekly team meeting, I would say to myself, “That’s not right and I’ll find the evidence to prove it to them.”  So I would tear into a week of research to find the facts that supported my old way of doing things, only to find facts that support their new ideas.  So I would resolve to accept the new way, this week.  Then at the next meeting they would bring some other innovative idea that was being ushered in.  I left the meeting resolved to find the necessary facts to demonstrate to them the old way was the best way.  Again, all I would find is more evidence that change was needed.  That went on weekly for six months before I decided this organization and these people might be on to something!

   Being receptive to new ideas is the key to not getting stuck.  Change may not be easy or comfortable or even your favorite thing but it’s a necessary part of staying alive. 

Change equals growth.  

   When you’re facing change a good exercise is to make a list of pros and cons.  What are the pros that will come as a result of the change?  What are the cons that will come as a result of the change? Be thorough in your research.  This is not the only list you need to evaluate the impact of the change.  Make another list that describes how this change will effect you and others mentally and emotionally.    Seeing all of this in black and white can be clarifying. 

Resistance to change is universal because it disrupts our routines and creates fear of the unknown.

   Max De Pree said, “We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.”

When change is successful, you will look back at it and call it growth!