Facilitator Journal | Issue #0424, December 29, 2009
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As 2009 comes to a close, it seems like a good time to review where we've been and where we might like to go next year. It's a time to look at changes we might want to make.
Also as group leaders we're often engaged in helping our clients make some
kind of change. Whether we're talking about a major system change
or simply a change in a single person's life, the challenges showing
up in the face of change are similar if not the same.
I wrote the Ten
Steps to Facilitating Major Life Changes a few years ago after making a couple very
large changes in my own life.
Review this to support you in your own life changes and use it as a handout for your clients who may be stuck or hesitant, but serious about
making a change in either their professional or personal lives.
I look forward to hearing how this works for you and your groups.
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Steps to Facilitating Major Life Changes
Big changes don't have to happen all at once.
You can prepare for them
one step at a time.
Group Process Skill
Much of what we do as group leaders is help our clients make some kind
of change. Whether we're talking about a change to a huge system or a
change in a single persons life, the things that stand in the way of change
are similar if not the same. The following ten steps will make the most
difficult changes easier.
1. What's the cost of status quo? Not making the change
that you know you need to make is costing you. Do some soul searching, consult
with trusted allies, or journal to yourself to uncover the payoffs you're
receiving and the prices you’re paying for maintaining the status quo. If the price seems greater than the payoff, you'll be clearer about
2. Create a reserve. We don’t have to make
a difficult change from where we are now. If we have issues with money,
time, space, emotional support, skills, etc., make a plan now to get what you need in these areas. This creates a stronger foundation from
which to launch in a new direction. Keep in mind that it's better to
be over prepared and arrive at your destination than to fail because you
were just a hair short of having what you needed to get there.
3. Stop flagellating yourself for being stuck! Thinking your the greatest and thinking you suck are opposite ends of the same pendulum. So guess what? Beating yourself up for being where you are is egocentric, so get off it! Even though suffering may be supported, even nurtured
by friends, family, and religions, most of the time is an excuse for not acting.
Not making a needed change may be your first mistake, but judging and condemning yourself for not making it is your second. It simply saps the energy you're going to need to get off your butt. So dig down and uncover any judgments you hold against yourself and let
For example, you may feel that you're not good enough or deserving
of the life you really want. Or you may feel that the change you're about
to make will hurt someone close and that you'll be responsible for their
pain. Or you may feel that you're not smart enough, resourceful enough,
bold enough, or just plain "enough" to make this change. Acknowledge
these as faulty internal programs and let them die a quick death. Because the truth is, they are only ideas and
you create yourself each moment based on the new idea you hold about
who you are.
4. Stop complaining. Are you complaining about being
in the situation you're in? Are you blaming others?
If so, you've chosen to be a victim and you're wasting your energy. Even if you're blaming yourself for not being
happy or for having the courage to make the change, then part of you is
beating up on another part of you, hence there's a victim in there
somewhere. To the degree you play this silly role, you lose power you
could be using to move forward. So get behind yourself completely and
own your full power to create the life you desire, no matter what.
5. Quit worrying about how. We are so conditioned to figure
things out before we leap, that sometimes we become paralyzed to take
the actions our bodies are directed to take from the beginning. This is
particularly true if you’re an engineer, scientist, or a technical type who experiences the world more through analysis than through feeling.
If you’re stuck in a thinking pattern rehashing the same ideas over and
over, trying to figure out what will happen if, then you're stuck in a
mind-loop. It's time to quit thinking and start doing. Feel the impulse of energy in our body that crying out for attention and do something! Much of the information you're seeking will only show up while you're moving and not before.
6. Imagine what's possible. Making a big change like leaving a longstanding
relationship or a long time career can be very frightening. If what we have is all we can see, then to give it up means we’ll have nothing. This is a terrible illusion. Life always rushes in to fill space
in our lives with new opportunities, relationships, resources, connection,
ideas, etc. First however, we must make the space for something new. Second
create a clear vision of what your life might look like once your change
is complete. The vision of your new future reduces the fear of the
unknown—which can keep you stuck for a long time! Make up your vision
if it isn't coming to you naturally, but make it good. Your vision will
form the matrix on which you will create your new life and give you the
inspiration and courage you need to do so.
7. Risk failure. Does fear of failing keep you
stuck? If so, define what failure looks like to you. Imagine the worst
possible thing happening. Can you live with that? Can you make course
corrections before it happens or after it happens? The answer is almost
always "yes." I suggest removing the word "failure"
from your vocabulary. Instead, realize that each of your actions will
simply yield a result. This result will be one you want or one you don't
want. You can choose to take the result as feedback from the universe and take the
next logical step. Viewed from this perspective, mistakes are merely course correction indicators, they aren't personal. Pilots
check their compass all the time, making course corrections
based on this feedback. They'd never get anywhere if they took every off-course
reading as a personal failure. Give up the concept of failure and take
8. Be a warrior. Within each of us there
is an instinctual aspect built for bold, decisive action. It looks out,
not only for our survival, but also for our soul's mission. It sends messages
all the time in the form of feelings in your body. They may come in the
form of "gut" feelings or direct knowing with no rational foundation.
If you have contemplated
yourself into a rut of contemplation, it may be time to let your inner warrior take
over for bit. Just act “as if” you know what to do, then
do it without thinking about it until it's done.
9. Ask for help. Contrary to popular belief, asking for help is actually a sign of maturity. It takes courage, humility, and acknowledgement that you can't do it all. Besides, big
changes in your business or your life can be nearly impossible to accomplish on your own. However, the right kind of support can make a seemingly difficult change
relatively easy. For me, being a former lone-ranger, asking for and accepting
help from others was difficult at first, but really nice once I got used
to it. Now I wouldn't think of starting a major project or making a big
change without relying on my support team of close and loving friends
and coaches. Do whatever is necessary to make change easy on yourself.
You're worth it!
10. Don't go to your deathbed wondering what would have happened
if... It's easy for us to forget how short our lives really are.
Many of us live as if we'll never die. We waste away our hours and days
in jobs we hate, businesses that are killing us, living just for the weekends, or "putting in
time" until retirement, living like zombies. We
may be in a relationship that's draining and disempowering thinking
it might magically get better somehow, someday. Or, that we're staying in it for the kids or to preserve our image. As if living a lie could possibly benefit anyone! We deny our feelings or
make excuses for frittering our lives away. This is insane. Stop it now!
Our lives are so precious and so short. I challenge you to project yourself
forward to your death. It's real and it's coming soon! See yourself
on your deathbed and ask yourself if the life you're living now is all
you dreamt it to be. Write your own obituary today. How close are you
to living your passion? Let this vision be a motivator to get off your
butt and follow your heart!
These tips were mined from my own experience, most of which surfaced while moving out of a long-term relationship and a long-term career in mid-life. I know what stuck feels like. I was once intimately skilled at subverting the call of my soul with my intellect. And I know well the numbing fear of staring into the abyss. If I can help, I'm here for you.
Which of the
steps above could you act on now to move you toward a serious change you
want to make? Remember, big changes don't have to happen all at once.
But without taking small steps today, they are liable to never happen. Reply to this email and let me know what you discover and how I can help. I'd love to hear from you.
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