Change is not inherently good or bad, but it is inevitable. Benjamin Franklin said, “Change is the only constant in life. One’s ability to adapt to those changes will determine your success in life.” Change is exciting, difficult, invigorating and exhausting. It is proof we are alive. Whether professionally or personally, we are all in the midst of change. In our house, we are still getting used to the empty nest phase of life. It’s quiet. Sometimes the quiet is peaceful, and I am thankful for this phase of life. Other times, the quiet is too much and I find myself longing for the noise of little girls in our house. I even long for the days when I would find random messes left by “Not me,” who was a constant visitor in our home. Somehow “Not me” moved out at around the same time our two youngest went off to college. Change is unavoidable and is often one of the most challenging trials to navigate in life. It can often feel overwhelming and stressful. When you find yourself facing change, I encourage you to remember that while you can’t always control what is happening, you can always control your response. While making one of my many professional transitions from teaching 4th grade to special education, a mentor asked why I was switching, and I replied that I just liked change. He said, “No, you crave the challenge.” He was so right. I probably have the worst case of professional ADHD! I always want to teach something new or teach something old in a new way. I rarely use the same activities from year to year. Thankfully, I have been very blessed with administrators who have provided me opportunities to expand my teaching skills on many levels. It has not been an easy journey for me, but it has been worth it! Stepping out of your comfort zone is difficult and risky. One of the main challenges we face during change is the guaranteed disruption of our sense of stability and routine. Things which are known are comfortable... They provide a sense of security. With change often comes fear and anxiety. Whether you are changing jobs, moving schools, relocating or ending a relationship, change often involves the possibility of failure. Here are some strategies that help me navigate change:
- Be grateful for the opportunities you have. Name three things you are grateful for each day. These could be simple things like having a roof over your head, having food to eat or having a supportive friend or family member. Being grateful can help shift our focus from what we don’t have to what we do have, which can increase our overall sense of well-being and happiness.
- Look for opportunities for growth and learning. Celebrate small successes. Acknowledge when you’ve learned something new or completed a task. Celebrating small successes can help build confidence and motivation to continue learning and growing.
- Be mindful. Change is hard; prioritize taking care of yourself. Find what makes you calm and happy. Giving ourselves the freedom to explore what works for us can help us find the self-care practices that best support our well-being.
- Lean on your support system for the encouragement and perspective you need to overcome challenges and move forward.
- Give yourself grace. You don’t have to know how to do everything immediately. Talk to yourself as if you were your best friend. We often hold ourselves to high standards and can be internally critical when we make mistakes or don’t meet our expectations. You don’t have to know how to do everything immediately, and it’s okay to make mistakes along the way.
Change can be challenging, but it can also be the path to great things. By embracing change and learning from the journey, you can thrive through the challenges. To quote Roy Kent, a character from one of my favorite shows, Ted Lasso, “Don’t you dare settle for fine!”