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Initiating Change


4/11/2007 6:51:51 PM

By Julie Fuimano, Executive Coach -- Most people avoid change until one of three things occurs:
1) The pain of the situation becomes unbearable,
2) They are obligated to change by forces outside of their control, or
3) They see something in the future that is so much better that they choose to pursue their pleasure rather than continue to put up with what they have.

Sharon is a client who knew she was unhappy but did not know where to begin to make her life great. She simply knew she did not want to continue to live her life this way. If given the chance, she would opt to erase her life as it is and start over from scratch. And that’s exactly what she did. Divorcing her husband of seven years, she moved to Florida where she had always dreamed of living. She has found meaningful work and is now in a new relationship.

Not everyone wants to change their life that drastically where they divorce, change cities, change jobs – literally, recreating their lives. But most people walk around unhappy at some level. There is just no reason to live an unhappy life. I’m not referring to an unhappy moment or a bad day; everyone goes through those moments from time to time. I’m talking about the unhappiness that permeates your world. You hate getting out of bed. You don’t have anything to look forward to. You hate going to work. You hate coming home. You are not happy in your relationship. One or more areas of your life are unsatisfying and if given the opportunity, you would change in an instant – if you knew how and if you had the courage.

Well, you could wish upon a star that things would be different, wait to win the lottery, or hope for a genie in a bottle. (Good luck with that one.)

Initiating change is difficult. It's not easy to do something different and chart a new course. Not only is it difficult because of the fear you might experience as well as the energy required to envision, plan, and take new actions; you will also hear the naysayers in your life telling you the fears they have for you and how they feel about what you should be doing with your life. Other people prefer the status quo as much as you. No, change requires a personal commitment to yourself and to creating something better.

Although initiating change on your own behalf is challenging, it is the easier and softer way. If you ignore the signs or postpone change you know you need to take, the universe will force you into change. When change is needed, the universe gives you a little tap on the shoulder. It’s that sense you get that something needs attention. You avoid or deny it. You procrastinate; hoping things will spontaneously get better or be different. Then, the tap becomes a nudge, and then it smacks you so hard you can no longer avoid taking action. The “smack” might come in the form of an illness or death of someone close or perhaps a layoff. The universe will get its way.

If instead, you can act from a position of power, be proactive and learn to initiate change in your best interest - difficult as it might be - then at least you can get ahead of the change rather than running behind it.

Here are four simple steps to initiate change on your own behalf and make your life better starting today!

1) Identify your frustrations, stressors, struggles - everything that is unhappy for you and anything that you feel you are putting up with in your life, work, relationships, and home. Identify your “pain.” What is hurting you? What do you hate about your life? Awareness is crucial. It is one way to empower yourself to make things better for you. Face everything – awaken from your denial and stop avoiding the pain. Here is the paradox: your pain will go away once you face it. By holding onto the pain, you keep yourself stuck. You may be used to the pain and it might feel comfortable. You have to be prepared to move beyond the pain. Only you have the power to release yourself from its grip.

2) Eliminate these minor annoyances once and for all. Stop putting up with everything that is substandard in your life. Some things will be easy to eliminate; others will require a plan of action. Some things will require years for transition while others can be corrected immediately. Commit to living a great life and to saying “no” to everything that does not align with your vision for a great life.

3) Yes, you need to have a vision for a great life! Envision your life at peace, yourself happy – what would your life be like if things were exactly the way you want them to be? Remember, life is always in progress - life is a journey, not a destination. Part of the learning is how you are “being” not just what you are “doing.” When you envision your life as you would want it to be, envision the person you are in that dream. You will be different. Your future self is waiting for you to express itself.

4) As you eliminate things that don’t fit into your vision, you have space to now add only those things that bring you joy. Say “yes” to you now. Commit to living a great life by giving yourself permission to create that life in the way you choose. This means only doing the things you like, with the people who bring out your best, at the places you enjoy. If you’re not enjoying yourself, if it doesn’t feel good, then why are you doing it?

Getting comfortable with change requires faith and belief in yourself and in your ability to create what you want for yourself and your life. It does require courage; there is always a bit of fear with change. Fear let’s you know that you’re moving outside of your comfort zone. It’s a good place to be because it means you are stretching yourself, challenging yourself. And only by challenging yourself can you move beyond your current situation to create what you really want.

Are you an executive who wants to be more masterful in communicating, handling your emotions, or managing the impressions you give to others? Are ready to take a big leap forward in your career and want the executive presence and the courage to make it happen? Are you going through a big life change such as divorce or mid-life crisis and need a partner to help you recreate your life? Then coaching is the answer. Julie Fuimano, MBA, RN is an Executive Coach with Nurturing Your Success Inc. helping people take the challenging journey to a new level of success. Contact Julie at (610) 277-2726 or write to Julie@NurturingYourSuccess.com to arrange a coaching consultation. Fuimano is an accomplished writer and author of the life manual and confidence builder, The Journey Called YOU: A Roadmap to Self-Discovery and Acceptance–available wherever books are sold. As a motivational speaker, her presentation topics include mastering change, emotional intelligence, and advanced communication skills. Sign up for her inspiring e-newsletter at www.NurturingYourSuccess.com.

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