Phases of Change – Phase 2: Realization
The last couple of weeks, I’ve been writing about the psychology of change and how we can use this to understand ourselves and build our businesses as we change and grow into full fledged Do-Gooders.
When you are facing any kind of change in your life, you’ll experience several different phases of emotion. And because our emotions have such an impact on our work (we are heart-driven people, after all!), they will naturally impact on our ability to get things moving in our businesses.
The Change Curve (graph below) can help you understand why there are times when suddenly building your new life as a self-employed Do-Gooder feels hard and slow, and why sometimes it all suddenly comes much more easily to you. As we implement changes and begin to really understand them, our motivation and ability to perform at top levels increases. But your emotions and where you are on the Change Curve also can make you feel stuck if you don’t have the tools to move past them into the later phases of Change.
Today I want to focus on how to get yourself moving through Phase 2 – Realisation (or Realization for those of us in the USA!)
Once you have the moment of awakening and manage to move out of denial that your true purpose and authentic life is something other than the one you’re living, your motivation and activity actually increases for a short time. This is because suddenly, you need to do SOMETHING! Suddenly, just getting by and walking someone else’s path is no longer an option for you. You know you need to change something, and as soon as possible!
So realization gets you moving towards something – but it is a very uncomfortable place, too. At this point, you know something is wrong and you want to change, but the direction that you need to go is unclear. You’re suddenly surrounded by things you don’t like in your life. You can see the signs all around you that things aren’t the way you want or need in order to fulfill your potential and purpose. And all that discomfort can get you into a real panic.
If you recognize yourself as being in the Realization Phase, here are some tools to get you moving forward again:
- Talk it through. Find a trusted friend, coach, or mentor to help you really look at the reality of your situation and the opportunities and options you have in front of you. Don’t let the overwhelming feelings spiral out of control in your head!
- Find answers to your questions. Right now, because you’re in the beginning phases of change, there will be a lot of unknowns and unanswered questions that will feel a bit scary. Start doing some research, and thinking about what you want to do to take some steps towards changing your life. Find out what is possible, and knock of the easy “no way, not gonna happen’s!” out of your thinking as soon as you can.
- Start tracking your progress. It’s amazing how much we actually move forward without noticing it. Start keeping a successes log or journal, noting down your actions and process as you think through what you’re willing to change and the steps you’re taking to change them. Even if they are just a couple of bullet points in a notebook somewhere, you’ll be amazed when you look back at how far you’ve come!
- Give yourself some time. This phase requires you to really begin processing the reality of the changes you want to make in your life. This takes time. So give yourself permission to just think things through. Try not to rush it, if you can!
You’ll notice that your motivation and performance increases in this phase, and is likely to decrease as you move through the next few phases. Don’t despair! The good news is, with a few tips and tools we can get you moving through these phases very quickly, without getting you too depressed or feeling like giving up.
The great thing about the Change Curve is that just by raising your awareness of how you’re feeling about your new life and business as you build them, you will be able to progress through the phases of change much more quickly and painlessly than the average business builder. The important thing is to keep moving forward and don’t let the normal emotions of change get you stuck.
Next time, we’ll be talking more about the next two phases (Resistance/Anger and Letting Go) which is where some people just give up. But not you, Do-Gooder! We’re gonna get you through it, and you’ll be doing good before you know it!