Since change is the only constant in our lives, why do most of us constantly attempt to resist the inevitable and maintain the status quo? Although I tend to seek out, embrace and ultimately enjoy the inherent gifts that change has to offer, the process that precedes the actual change is challenging and not particularly enjoyable. Perhaps I can shed some light on the change process, as well as the inherent elements of change.
Change can be internally or externally generated in most any area of life – personal or professional. Even when we choose to make a change in our life – work, relationships, residence, etc. – the process is often surprisingly uncomfortable. Internally generated change can include taking on a new role, relationship, status, skill, mindset and externally generated change usually results from someone or something outside of oneself, also known as "stuff happens."
The initial experience of change, once it is set in motion, is the human equivalent to living between worlds. Your old world or way of being in the world no longer works and you are not yet ensconced in your new world, relationship, job, home, etc. This between world place feels completely disorienting at times and, at the very least, extremely uncomfortable. Nothing that previously felt comfortable, logical and completely natural seems to fit or make sense any more. I refer to this space as the “Zone of the Unknown,” a foreign and surreal place.
The human tendency when in the “Zone of the Unknown” is to cling to or attempt to return to the perceived safety of your pre-change world. Although this strategy might work for a moment or two or three, it ultimately fails; your old world truly no longer exists. This between worlds place, the “Zone of the Unknown,” is where you need to engage lots of support – friends, family, valued others – and trust that you’ll get to the other side of the change, whatever that means for you. Ultimately, and hopefully fairly quickly, you will get through the "Zone of the Unknown" and be fully ensconced in the other side of change. Through your intention, actions and faith in getting through the challenge of change, you will create a bridge from the old to the new via taking actions that move you forward. When you're able to mobilize your trust to take the next step, subsequent next steps tend to miraculously unfold. Although embracing change can be a bit scary at times, it is definitely worth it.