“Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights” ~ Pauline R. Kezer
Change can be difficult. It can be scary and overwhelming. It can certainly bring up a whole bunch of emotions for people.
The flip side is that it can be exciting and inspiring. Change is where personal and professional growth happens. When everything stays the same it may feel comfortable, however, it is also difficult to be inspired and creative within your comfort zone.
A lot will depend on where you choose to focus your attention and what story you tell yourself about the change.
Did you know that fear and excitement feel very similar inside your body? It’s true!!! You get butterflies, racing heart, sweaty palms and perhaps a distracted mind. Often it boils down to what you are telling yourself at the time.
Have you ever been confused about whether what you’re feeling is excitement or nervousness? It happens to me sometimes and it wasn’t until I was able to remember, in one of those moments that they feel similar that I could begin to alter my internal responses. I experimented with where I focused my energy. I shifted it from all that I was afraid of to the possibilities of the future, reasons to be excited and it made a huge difference. The feeling in my body didn’t change that much, but my mindset did and it created courage and motivation to embrace the change.
I remember about 8 or 9 months ago, I was presenting at a conference. I’ve never really loved public speaking, in fact up until a few years ago I totally avoided it. This particular presentation was a big one, longer and more important to me, for many reasons, than I had done before. A few weeks before I was listening to a podcast that spoke about the similarities in the body for fear and excitement. I already knew it, however, this was obviously good timing, as it had brought it to my current attention.
As I was walking from the train to attend the conference, I felt those feelings arise. I began with my default self talk that goes something like this – “I’m not good at public speaking. I’m scared of public speaking. I hope I don’t forget what I want to say. I hope no one asks a tough question.” BUT, thankfully I remembered that podcast and I reminded myself about all the reasons this presentation was exciting. It was my first big presentation for my business, rather than an employer, it had the potential to make a huge difference to many people, I had a very interested, educated and responsive audience (the organizer had reassured me), I was presenting alongside some amazing young people, it had the potential to raise significant awareness for the cause and for my business and I was being paid well.
I realised in that moment that I was actually excited…. Don’t get me wrong, there were definitely nerves there, but it wasn’t all nerves and that made a huge difference. It then allowed me the space to focus on the excitement, remind myself of my experience and capabilities more than the fear, to focus my energy on building my business.
Yes, change can be tough, but it can also be exciting. Have you heard the saying “feel the fear and do it anyway”? When I first heard this statement, it had a powerful influence over me. I realised that it is not always in my best interest to listen to fear or let it control what I choose to do or not do. Fear has an important role in our lives. It can save us from dangerous situations, however, it also prevents us from enjoying wonderful opportunities in life. I find it helpful to reflect on what the fear is, where it is coming from and is it ‘in perspective’. (more on this another time)
For now, I’ll ask you – Where will you focus your energy? What would help you to adapt your focus, enabling you to embrace change?
I’d love to hear from you…
If you’d like to join my Facebook group, as a parent of an LGBT+ person, looking for extra support and connection with others working through similar changes in their lives, click here and we’d love to welcome you.