Changing the Rules
The other day, my friend told me about her experience playing a game with her young daughter. As I listened to my friend, I couldn't help chuckling. It was very similar to how games get played in my household. Although the game comes with instructions and rules, my children interpret them as they see fit, at any moment in the game, and always to their advantage.
This got me thinking about rules in life. It seems that the rules of life are always changing. We are in constant transformation. What was once new is now old and perhaps even outdated. If we're not adapting or learning, we are falling behind. In extreme cases, we are dying.
Much like the way my children play games, change can show up in small incremental steps so it goes without notice. It can also show up dramatically with little to no warning. Regardless of how change shows up, what's the best way to handle it?
I have found that is helpful to get all the information; to look at the change from all angles much like exploring all sides of a rock. Once I have gathered all the information, I label this change as either good, bad, or an opportunity to expand. It is important for me to choose a perspective that will be helpful for me to move forward and adapt. Most often, I look for the positive. It is easy to find the positive in situations where I benefit. When the situation is not to my benefit, I work hard to stay focused on the opportunity to learn and grow.
Once my perspective has been determined, I consider the actions I will take. Coming from the mindset that I am the author of my life and can write the story however I see fit, I take ownership of my actions. If the change is bad like potentially losing (the game, my job, income, an opportunity), then I start researching other ways of putting myself at an advantage (search for new job, other ways of creating income, prepare myself for the opportunity).
Another thing that has been very helpful is reaching out to others like family, friends, co-workers and experts who can assist me as I adapt to the change. The benefit of having a strong support team is that they can provide a sounding-board for when I need to vent. They also know who I am and therefore can remind me of my strengths and capabilities to work through the change. They can direct me to resources which assist me in making the change. One of my greatest resources as been my coach. Because we have created an environment where there is no judgement, I can fully express myself and trust that she will be transparent and bold in addressing what she's noticing in my attitude and behaviors in relationship to the change and what I want in my life.
I have found that adapting to emotional change can be the most difficult and time consuming. I think of it as a tunnel through a mountain. Sometimes we have to go through in order to come out on the other side. Coaching has taught me that emotions are simply energy in motion. They are neither good, bad, weak or strong. They are simply energy and therefore, should be expressed. When I am having an emotional experience I know something important is happening so I take the time to feel, process and come to terms with it. Holding the space to express this has been greatly rewarding.
As the rules in my children's games keep changing just as they do in life, I have found that choosing the right perspective sets me in a winning direction. From there I create a plan filled with intentional steps that will move me forward. My team is there for encouragement and support. And much like most things, change takes time. So I just focus one step or one moment at a time.
How do you adapt to change?