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Empower Yourself: 6 Steps to Navigate Changes in Life

Breaking / Carousel / Perspective / SS News / April 11, 2015

The past week was a freeing one for me.

Lately I’ve been feeling like I’m in the process of transitioning from one place in my life purpose to another. I don’t mean the kind of transition that is willed–as in: you decide on a direction in which you want to head in life, and then take those necessary steps to do so.

No. Nah. Unt-uh.

I mean the kind of transition that is a result of circumstances beyond your control. You’re living your life, moving in the direction that you intend to go or are simply headed in when the next thing you know, BOOM! You’re somehow knocked slightly or completely, off your path–even if only temporarily.

Unwanted news was delivered. A tragic event happened. You were hurt in some way. Plans fell through.

Take your pick.

We’ve all had something that just didn’t go our way; a situation or circumstance that forced us to have to seriously contemplate the next step to be taken in life.

That’s the kind of transition–change–I’m referring to.

And based on the conversations I’ve had with those of you that I’ve interacted with throughout the week at events, in meetings, private conversations and on social media, a lot of you are experiencing this too. If YOU are, feel free to interpret this blog post as a message that you are not alone and the world is not over. You’re simply living and figuring it out like the rest of us; so find some comfort or peace in the reality that you’re not alone in this.

So, What Had Happened Was…

My disheartening news came by way of via e-mail early on in the week. While it “rocked the boat,” it didn’t “sink the ship”.

Even with that being the case, in the past I would have handled it in a way that was far more tolling on me: I would have focused a bit too long on the negatives instead of the positives, and I would have surrendered my peace of mind to fear, worry and feelings of hopelessness.

Not so much this time around.

To be quite frank with you, I’ve grown weary of handling things that way. The more that I’ve evolved as a person and taken more ownership over my life and purpose, the more precious my peace of mind has become. So I’ve been focusing way more of my energy on maintaining and protecting my peace of mind–especially in cases where things are beyond my control or influence. At this point, I can truly appreciate the beauty (and saving grace) in “letting go”.

So after seeking out the love, assistance and support that I needed from my circle and network, I began to work on my perspective of it: was this a “blessing in disguise”? And even if it was, say, “just life”, it certainly wasn’t the end of it.

I have faith so there can’t be room for worry, and I’ve worked my way through plenty of other challenges in my lifetime so why does this have to be any different?

Cue Redirection…

Each day I fed my mind positive thoughts, hope and information; nourished my spirit in some way; and/or maintained my productivity. In moments like this, many of us tend to do the exact opposite of at least one thing in the previous sentence.

And deter our happiness and peace a little longer because of it.

Determined to not deter these states of being, the process of redirecting became extremely important. And strategic. When feelings of anxiety or frustration attempted to creep in, I concentrated my awareness and energy on redirecting my focus to more positive thoughts and productive action. That’s not easy in the face of circumstances that are beyond your control and that subsequently force you to use your wits in a way that you didn’t quite foresee having to. I stumbled along the way, but with each passing day, my perspective improved and my reality began to change because of it; exciting new opportunities presented themselves and doors opened in unexpected places.

“Something is coming,” I said one day, “that news was just notice that room needed to be made in my life for something else that is on the way.”

The bummer news didn’t change my purpose or the need for it. This heightened my level of self-awareness and my intentions in my daily interaction, work productivity and the thoughts that I shared with you all.

In case you have yet to experience what that state of being is like, I can tell you that it’s pretty damn freeing and definitely empowering.

So how do you empower yourself when you feel bound by the circumstances of change?

  1. Check your expectations at the door.  We experience anxiety and struggle with change because it disrupts our comfort, sense of familiarity, and our perceived control over the things happening in our lives. Often times change is unexpected or more tolling than we anticipated  it being. These are the moments when it’s worth closely examining our expectations for: the way we conduct ourselves throughout the change, the role we think others should have in the matter, the time frame for the change to occur, the ultimate outcome and how we’re going to let it affect us.
  2. Relieve yourself of as much internal baggage as possible early on. Figure out what is bothering you most about the change. What’s fueling your fears, worry or anxiety? Is it tied to anything deeper? In order to evolve through this in the optimal manner, you’re going to need to face some of those fears (check out this fear exercise), call on your support team and accountability partners, and make room within your mindset for thoughts of positive outcomes/possibilities to take up residence.
  3. Watch yourself. Pay attention to how you handle yourself during periods of change. Do you do more building or destroying of yourself, and others, during that period? Are you more snappy or downright rude? Do you tend to become more rigid in your thinking and decision making? Develop a strategic plan for reprogramming your negatives into positive ones. Redirection is good method to practice.
  4.  Cue MJ: You are not alone…so don’t act like it. This is one area that I’m continuously growing in. When my world seems to spin out of control, I tend to retreat deep inside myself–which isn’t necessarily wrong but it’s also unfair to those who love and desire to be there for me. Just because we have to experience change doesn’t mean we have to navigate it alone. And it damn sure doesn’t mean that we have to find all of the answers on our own. So open up a little. Be vulnerable, but we wise in who you share that vulnerability with.
  5. Take inventory and buckle in for the ride. As soon as you recognize that you’re in the process of changing or transitioning, be sure to take a moment to reflect on life up until that point. What did your sense of normalcy consist of? What were the fulfilling aspects of life? What really mattered? What will matter no matter what? What kind of person are you right now? The goal is to give yourself something to measure the impact and intensity of the change. You’ve got a life time of changes coming so it’s in your best interest to takeaway as much as you can from this round so that you maneuver with better ease the next go ’round.
  6. Don’t forget to breathe and live. And repeat. Because your life isn’t over. You may have experienced one hell of a plot twist, but you’ve still got a chance at living a fulfilling life simply because you still have breath. Don’t ever take that for granted.

So yeah, it was a freeing week indeed simply because although I was experiencing change, I managed to keep my feet on the ground instead of regressing to a two year-old and sending them flying through the air while kicking, crying and pouting about it all.

BTW: Reacting like a two year-old to changes and challenges in life gets you one of three things, if not all: temporarily (or permanently) resented, ignored or avoided.

Anywho, that’s all for this week! Feel free to drop yout suggestions, advice or thoughts in the comments section for those who may be struggling with the changes/transitions happening in their life. Your experiences are valuable, you know? So *thug life voice* come up off that knowledge, son! Haha–j/k don’t mind my antics! In other words: please share the insightful takeaways from your experiences so that the rest of us may become empowered by way of your journey!  😉

xoxo

– Sincerely Syreeta

Disclaimer: I’m not a licensed therapist or counselor, just one human being hoping to help empower another!


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