Many people don’t deal well with change. They find themselves outside their comfort zone, they miss the way things were, and they may not even understand why the change was necessary to begin with and they fight it.
The funny thing is change is everywhere—nothing stays the same.
Every day we grow older, learn new skills, meet new people, and so on. Just in the last four months, I turned 50 years old, got married, moved, and have been working toward taking my business to the next level.
Change isn’t just about the big events in our lives, though those are the most stressful.
Successfully navigating any kind of change in your life is all about being open to what’s on the other side of it.
Let me give you an example.
Even though Jennifer had gotten to the point where she almost couldn’t stand our last apartment, she agreed to make a commitment to stay there for two more years so we could more easily pay off her student loans. Once we made that decision, she was happy to be there because being there had a purpose. She had mentally dug in her heels and decided to stay put.
About two weeks later, the neighbors from hell moved in downstairs. They were loud, rude, and appeared to be abusive to each other and their children. After lots of discussions with him about how we could resolve our issues, we realized nothing was going to change, and we couldn’t continue to live there anymore.
At first, we were both devastated, but her more so than me. She had struggled for months, not willing for the truth to be the truth: that we could not continue to live there, which meant we were going to have to go somewhere more expensive to live that would afford us the peace and quiet she so desperately needed. She had had a plan to stay, and she simply could not make the mental shift to go. All she could see was money going out the door.
But after a few days, she accepted the change and that’s when things started to get interesting.
We’d been looking for a new place for a few weeks, and the one place we’d chosen to live had no availability—we were going to have to wait for up to four months just to see if something might open up. Plus, it was more than we wanted to pay, but it was the only place we felt we’d have the environment we both wanted.
About a month later, we were out for Jennifer’s birthday, and she suddenly had an urge to go see an apartment complex she’d looked at before online but never really liked the look of from the photos. We decided to go with her instinct, and, lo and behold, we found a unit there that was more beautiful than anything we’d seen yet. It had everything we were looking for and then some, plus it was in the perfect location, the complex was filled with trees, and it considerably less expensive than the other place we were waiting for.
As it turned out, that morning the current tenants turned in their notice. The rental agent told us that people have waited six years to get into one of these units. We put down a deposit and took it off the market immediately.
Then, we found a very affordable mover and my family offered to furnish our outdoor living spaces as a wedding gift. Now we live in a place that’s beyond anything we expected we could find in Austin, and we’re still able to make progress on Jennifer’s student loans. It’s not as fast as we hoped, but the moved solved so many other issues that were more in need of a solution than we realized.
Sometimes things come into your life to help you make the transition to what’s next in your life. In fact, I think that probably everything does. But if you get stuck hanging on to what you know and the plan you made, you lose the flexibility to go with the flow easily and just enjoy the wonder of discovering what’s on the other side.
You may not always see the positive results that came from the change immediately, but you will eventually. Think back to all the frustrating or painful times in your life. Maybe you got fired, ended a relationship, or watched your company go through an acquisition that left you feeling scared for your job.
Where are you now because those things happened? What have you gained? Sometimes what seems like bad news or a tough time in our lives is really just the push we need to get to the next place we’re going.