Saturday, May 01, 2010

The First 30 Days of Change

The First 30 Days website is a great resource.  If you haven't ever been to this site, it's definitely worth a look.  You can sign up for 30 days of emails with change advice for just about any type of change in your life.  It's sort of a gentle, slow way to get advice on almost anything.

The blog is also informative and sends you information on a wide spectrum of change related topics.  Here is a helpful article by the founder of First 30 Days, Ariane de Bonvoisin. As a parent, I found the first part of the article particularly enlightening.


The First 30 Days of Change

by Ariane de Bonvoisin

One of the reasons change can seem so painful is that it is something most of us have never been taught how to handle in an effective manner. Our parents generally do everything they can to protect us from change. Many parenting skills revolve around keeping things the same, the same house, the same school, the same food. We start making assumptions very early on in life that stability equates with things not changing and that safety, love and security is about no change in our lives. We become accustomed to the idea that certainty equals normalcy, what’s good, what’s right, and what we should be striving for. Then, when we independently enter the world in our teens, we learn life is all about change. So when something changes, we immediately jump to the conclusion that something is wrong. And in actuality, something is very right, because life is happening and life is change. Change is the law of life.

Part of the pain associated with change is due to our physical wiring. There’s a part of the brain, the reptilian part, which does not like change. It’s all about protecting, and safety and keeping things as they are. It’s one of the reasons I call my book The First 30 Days, because it takes between 21 and 28 days for this part of the brain to get comfortable with either a new situation, a new habit, a new way of thinking, or a new belief.

Life also has a tendency to make us grow and evolve, and thus change. Another thing that makes change hard, having interviewed thousands of people, is that all change is about loss, even the good changes. We are not good at letting go of anything. We are very good at adding and getting and holding on to and having more, and more and more. But change is always an indication that there is something that needs to be let go of and needs to be grieved.

Much of the difficulty we have dealing with change is that we are also out of immediate control of what will happen. Change oftentimes is inviting us to let go and allow life to proceed. But there are some things about change that we can control to our benefit, such as our story of why the change occurred, our attitude toward the change, our language slant describing the change, who we surround ourselves with during periods of change, and the tenor of our own thoughts.

Change is a lot about allowing life to lead you. At some point people who are going to change gracefully, need to get centered and say, "I accept this situation. I’m letting go of the resistance to what happened. It’s what reality is. This happened." Then the doors start opening and that’s when the answers to solve the dilemma start to show up. The interesting thing is the more you try to stay in control, the more control eludes you. The more you try to get love and approval from someone, or a job interview, the more it goes away from you. The more nonchalant you are, and take the attitude that it doesn’t really matter, suddenly the solutions come to you.

The benefits of change are encapsulated in one concept called the "change guarantee". The change guarantee very simply states that from any change, something good will come. When you start a change with that in mind, your mind, being the most creative powerful instrument that you have, starts creating the good that will come from it. You look for the good as opposed to looking for the bad that has now come in the most immediate future. You never know what is going to change. If you can go from the premise that something good will come, even if I cannot see it now, and that is my rock solid belief, that is what will become manifest.