By the time I turned 33, I was in my second marriage, I’d had three careers, I’d started a Side Hustle – which is now my full-time business – and I’m in my fifth country of residence (and living in my favorite place in the world – New York Citttayyyyy). Change is scary, yes. But over time I’ve come to embrace it. Often we fear change for the wrong reasons, and when it’s the only guaranteed constant in this world, it sure does make life easier.
I gravitate toward people with wide and varied life experiences and know that change makes you stronger, better, kinder, more interesting. It makes your life full.
You don’t need to have gone through any of my personal life experiences in order to have experienced change. Because if you pause for a second and look back at your life so far, you’ll see more change than you probably realize.
Anyone who has ever read Who Moved My Cheese? will know the importance of adapting to change, especially change created against our will. This includes careers, relationships, living circumstances and, as the years pass, even just “the times.” My late father used to joke about the price of things “in the old money … that would’ve been two shillings!”
That’s because change is inevitable whether or not we like we like it.
In this post, I’m focusing on the change that we have the courage to generate.
That means driving positive change in our lives. Taking risks. Shaking things up.
Believe it or not, change is our biggest teacher. It’s our examiner. Sometimes it feels like our enemy. But with retrospect it is often one of the biggest loves of our lives.
Here are 5 reasons we can rock, instead of be repelled by, change:
1. We see things differently.
Routine allows us to go through life without thinking too much. Change forces us to look at things with fresh sight.
Think about when you are on holiday – the architecture, daylight, menus, people – they’re all different. It brings us into the present moment and it’s like we actually see things again.
When I moved to Manhattan I was in awe of all of the cultural and physical differences – from the constant sirens to the 24 hour restaurants to all of vibrant, colorful, outspoken people. When I have visitors I love to see things from their eyes and hear them comment on all of the things that they notice. It makes it all new to me again in those moments too.
We don’t feel this way on our daily commute to work or buying coffee from the same barista every morning for 11 years.
2. We have a beginner’s mind.
This is a concept in Zen Buddhism, referring to having an attitude of openness when experiencing anything for the first time. Only something unfamiliar can invoke this. In a new situation, we have no preconceptions and simply come back to who we truly are.
When was the last time you did or saw something for the first time?
I ask myself this often and when it has been a while I get ready to book a plane ticket, try a beginners language/cooking/dance class or even jump on a train to a place I’ve never been before.
3. We are vulnerable.
Changes allow us to remember we don’t know it all and we don’t have all the answers.
Surprisingly, everything still works out OK, doesn’t it? Being vulnerable does not mean that we are not safe. In fact, there is great honesty in this openness. It helps us push us forward in our lives. We think, what else is out there?
And, if I went through this and survived, what else could I survive?
4. We are humble.
New experiences remove our ego. Humility is much closer to our higher self, our best self. It is on this level that we connect to our source, make clearer decisions and some awesome inner work can take place.
5. We are grateful.
Change can remind us of how much we have.
Starting a new business venture or having the courage to leave an unhappy relationship can remind us that we are more resilient than we understand. Or it might highlight the real, supportive loving and friends and family that care about us no matter what.
When we go through change, we value what remains constant. It is a chance to remember that we are capable and whole. We also are reminded that we are much stronger than we think!
6. Change can drive you to do something awesome
The biggest, best positive change I drove in my life was starting my Side Hustle as a life coach and writer. Side hustles are a dream come true in terms of helping you transition out of a job you don’t love. I started life coaching and writing while working full-time for 18 months before making the leap. Because when you start a side gig, here’s what the change does for you:
- Proves that your business idea has legs (proof of concept)
- Generates an income stream that not only boosts your bank balance but also your confidence in being an entrepreneur
- Set up a business foundation (while you keep a steady paycheck and benefits) which expands until it can sustain you full time
For example, a client of mine just handed in her notice at an ad agency. She’s had a successful side hustle as an event planner for a few years and over the last 12 months it really took off. She’s now in a position to take the financial (and emotional!) leap into full time entrepreneurship. We share the attitude of, “What if it DOES work out?” People spend too much time focusing on the worst-case scenario rather than the best. Change is also less risky than you think – it’s no secret there’s no such thing as job security in the new economy.
Scared of getting one started? That’s natural. But the only way to overcome fear of change is to take action. The best advice? Just begin! You may have multiple passions but pick one to launch as a hustle by asking yourself these three questions:
- Do I enjoy it?
- Am I good at it
- Can I be paid for it?
Most people actually slip up on question three. Once you provide something valuable to people lives you’ll be surprised at how happy they are to pay for it. As Derek Sivers says, “What’s easy to you is amazing to others.”
Start where you are with what you have. I launched my business with $0 and encourage others to do this too. Create an email list with all of your contacts (including social media connections). Share with them whatever product or service you are offering and how to hire you. Work for free for your first 3 clients in exchange for testimonials and experience if you want. The best way to do it is to do it!
You are way stronger and more competent than you realize. Action reveals this to you as you go along.
And it’s a beautiful thing to be grateful for your own strength. Plus – saying yes to change naturally opens more doors. For example, when my husband was asked to transfer to New York City at age 23, many people thought it was too soon and that it was not a good idea. Now we agree almost every day it is the best thing we have done together. The subsequent opportunities it has provided us have been truly abundant and humbling. Life and luck favor the bold. Sometimes when making a decision and considering both outcomes, the “no” outcome is connected to regret somehow. Regret is sometimes the biggest risk of all. And being open to change limits regret because you’re constantly in motion.
And life is all about forward motion.
Change is liberating and healing and plain unavoidable. The more we welcome it, the more profoundly positive its impact upon us. By not being scared of change we kick ass! It’s best to adopt this truth sooner rather than later as more change in life is always guaranteed.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh said it best: “Only in growth, reform, and change, paradoxically enough, is true security to be found.”
What changes have you experienced in your life? What changes do you want to see in the coming year? Please share with me in the comments box below!