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!
In the comments below, I’d love to hear your strategies for motivating yourself when you’re feeling overwhelmed and panicked. How do you get moving forward again?
Last week, I talked a bit about being ready to change, rather than just being ready for things to change around you. (You can read the post here.)
I see people getting stuck in these stages of change again and again, in their personal lives and in their businesses. It’s a human thing, apparently! Over the next several weeks, I want to talk more about each of the stages of change and how to know when you’re stuck in them. And of course, what you can do to get past them.
If you’re facing a big change in your life (and starting a business is a life changing event!), the first thing you’ll likely experience is a bit of denial. In business, this happens a lot more often than you might think. In almost every size and shape of business, it’s easy to ignore the warning signs that things aren’t working, or that customer needs have changed, or that we need to do something different about how we’re running the show. In our search for control and stability in our lives, we fail to notice the signs that change is happening all around us, all the time.
When you’re starting your business, denial takes a slightly unusual form though. Often, denial shows up as these kind of thoughts:
“I probably can’t do it. Who am I to start a business? So many others are doing it better than I am already. I have nothing special to offer. I’m not good/smart/rich/famous/extroverted/etc., enough.”
In her book, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles, Marianne Williamson said:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
Denial is where we get stuck at the beginning when we fear our own greatness.
To move out of denial, we need two things:
- A wake up call. Without a sense of urgency, it will be too easy for you to ignore your fears rather than face them. So ask yourself what you are really here for. What will the world miss out on if you don’t try? What do you really have to lose? What do you have to gain?
- Lots of truth. You need to do some soul searching so that you can realize your true gifts and be inspired by your own power and light inside of you. Get help from people who love and know you best. Ask them if they think these fears are real or not!
Right now, you can do some great development work and really push yourself out of that denial stage by signing up for my FREE e-course – Are you Ready for Self-Employment. (You can sign up here.) It’s all about uncovering those hidden sparks inside you that you keep denying are there. And once you find them, once you feel them radiating from within you, I can promise you denial is not going to be holding you down any more!
You were meant to do good in the world, my friends. Get out of denial and get out there and do your good. (You know I’m right about this!)
Next week, I’ll talk about the next stage – Realization! – and what you can do to help move yourself one step further to bringing real change into your life and into your business.
What changes are you struggling with right now? Where are you on this change curve?