3 TOOLS TO NAVIGATE CHANGE AND TRANSITION
In June 2017 I had just moved to the US, gotten married and couldn’t legally work in my new country. I was a mess of sadness and depression. My husband didn’t know how to help me, and I was finding it hard to help myself. Making decisions is hard, dealing with the consequences can be even harder, no matter how much emotional intelligence you think you have accumulated over the years; when you find yourself navigating unknown territory, even the most “positive thinking” coach can go down a dark hole.
The honest to god truth is that I was struggling to keep myself afloat in the midst of so much change. My positive attitude was running out, and I knew something had to change if I was going to make it. That’s when I started identifying some common thoughts that were going through my head while laying in bed eating ice-cream and drinking wine. Here are a few examples of my lousy monolog:
“PEOPLE WILL NEVER TAKE YOU SERIOUSLY HERE; YOU ARE JUST AN IMMIGRANT TO THEM.”
“YOU ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH, SO STOP ROCKING THE STUPID BOAT.”
“PEOPLE HAVE NEVER REALLY LIKED YOU, WHAT MAKES YOU THINK THEY ARE GOING TO START NOW?”
I want you to understand right now that, being a life coach does not make me a perfect person, it doesn’t even make me an expert in life. I am a coach because I am a curious person, I like to understand why people do what they do, and that allows me an insight into what they can do differently if they so desire.
And that is the first thing I would like to touch on when it comes to dealing with transition or change in your life.
CURIOSITY: Stay curious about life, but most importantly, stay curious about yourself. It is only through introspection that we can discover our strengths. While I wasn’t able to legally work, I had an opportunity to get curious about the things that I am passionate about, and how I could turn those into my livelihood at some point.
Curiosity opened my eyes to a series of possibilities I would have never discovered, had I been numbing myself to my feelings and thoughts at the moment. When we are down, it is really easy to settle for what is, instead of looking at all the alternatives. The most important thing you can do when you are going through a difficult transition or moment in your life is to ask yourself the following questions:
BRAVERY: Whether you are sick of hearing me talk about this or not, give yourself a chance to let it sink in one more time. BRAVERY WILL SET YOU FREE. Once you get curious, you are bound to find some answers; then you’re faced with a decision: Will you act on these answers or just keep wallowing in your sorrow?
Curiosity requires being brave; not everyone wants to ask the tough questions, and a lot of people are scared of the answers they might find. It is only through bravery (not fearlessness) that we can move forward in life. It is only through taking action in the moments of darkness, that we earn the right to see the light.
CONNECTION: As a self-proclaimed “selective introvert” I always prided myself on being the one person that my friends warned their friends about. I was the “tell it as it is, chick” and I loved that it made my circle such a tiny space that it sometimes only comprised of me. But it got lonely in there.
As I grew in curiosity and forced myself to be brave, I realized that human connection is not only essential for the development of an individual, it is necessary for the growth of society. What I did next, surprised even myself, because it was so unlike me, I couldn’t believe what was going on.
I started joining social media groups, reaching out to people, inviting strangers to have coffee with me, and communicating my dreams to them, ask them about their goals, and see how I could be of service. What I learned from that is that people are willing to be there for us, to the extent we let ourselves be seen by them.
Now I have an excellent support system of individuals that I can call for coffee, for advice, and for help. It feels good not to feel alone.
CURIOSITY, BRAVERY, and CONNECTION saved my present, and if you decide to apply them as a practice, they will be crucial in helping you build your future.