Creating change in your life or work can feel like a challenging and uncertain path to walk. It can even feel like riding a roller coaster - sometimes shooting forward, sideways, backwards and even upside down! Sometimes it is exhilarating, exciting and a great adventure. Sometimes it is scary and stomach churning.

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The Unavoidable Truth About Creating Change

The unavoidable truth about creating change in life and work

Creating change in your life or work can feel a lot like riding a roller coaster.

You can find yourself shooting forward at breakneck speed then suddenly thrown sideways, backward and even upside down! With that can come uncertainty, fear, and apprehension. Sometimes it is exhilarating, exciting, fun and a great adventure. Sometimes it is scary and stomach churning.

With all the challenges that can happen during periods of change, it is easy to end up feeling really disheartened, disillusioned and de-motivated with it all.

As a result, you might start to doubt yourself, your abilities and if you have got what it takes to navigate the path of creating change successfully. At this point, you may even feel ready to give up.

Much of this turmoil can be triggered by people often being unaware or not accepting an unavoidable truth about creating change in your life and work.

And it is this: 

Creating change is NOT a linear path.

If you have set expectations for yourself that getting from A to B will be a straight path you are setting yourself up for disappointment, frustration, and stress.

So the next time you are about to start out on a path of creating some kind of change in your life and work, keep in mind that the path of change isn’t linear. Accepting this can help and support you in creating change and responding to what happens along the way more effectively.

For example, you can proactively prepare and plan for the fact that the road to creating the change you want might be a bit like riding a roller coaster by doing things like:

  • expect the unexpected
  • create contingencies
  • know what you will do if the brown stuff hits the fan
  • surround yourself with the right kind of people, help, and support
  • learn from people who have already made that change
  • learn new personal skills and personal effectiveness strategies
  • create a strong action plan that will serve as your map for navigating the road of change ahead.
  • break your change project into small chunks and take small steps regularly and consistently.

The point is this:

Whilst the path of change isn’t linear, there are many things you can do to smooth the way forward and set yourself up to succeed.

And when setbacks, challenges or curveballs do raise their ugly heads, then reminding yourself that the path to creating change isn’t linear is helpful in keeping yourself in the right mindset for getting to the end of your path of change successfully.

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  • Great reminders, Ali — and everyone needs to hear them sometimes 🙂 I had a mentor in my “corporate days” who passed along this story from HIS mentor: Every time something happened — and especially if it was one of those things that would be easy to label a setback, a disappointment, or a disaster — his mentor would say enthusiastically and out loud, “Wow! That’s the best thing that could have happened!” and then he’d force himself to come up with 3 reasons why, and say them out loud, in that first couple minutes. And then he was off and running again. — It didn’t mean everything was always roses, and sometimes his 3 reasons were pretty flimsy, but he always found them, and thus never wasted any time or energy getting down about whatever didn’t go the way he’d hoped. When his industry (IBM) was really struggling, he was the most productive and successful guy there. Thanks for reminding me of that story, Ali!

  • Ali Davies

    Thanks for sharing that story Megan. It is a reminder that there are always lessons to be learnt from every experience that can serve us well in the future – even the bad experiences.

  • Expect the unexpected should be taught in schools from age 5 up! Life is full of surprises and how we adjust and react defines our character! Great article! Teresa from NanaHood.com

  • I have been a lawyer for over 30 years. TODAY, my HUMOR book is published….I’ve always been a fan of change. But I have to admit, that reminding one’s self that ‘linear’ is not the word of the day and finding great support in family and friends is so critical. Thanks for a great post.

  • Ali Davies

    Teresa, I agree. Life skills that should be taught in schools. I have heard that some have started to but I think kids would benefit enormously if all schools had life skills as part of the curriculum.

  • Ali Davies

    Cathy, so excited for you. Congratulations on your book being published. That is fabulous. Enjoy this special occasion.

  • carla birnberg

    for me with change it is the constant mantra of ON THE OTHER SIDE OF FEAR IS FREEDOM.

  • Leanne@crestingthehill

    I like the idea that the path isn’t linear – I tend to want a straight track between A and B and keeping this concept in mind will definitely help me handle change a little more easily 🙂

  • Leanne, I know what you mean – it would be fabulous if it was a linear path! But when we accept the reality of the dynamics of creating change and act accordingly it helps us navigate the path of change more effectively.

  • Love your mantra Carla – and freedom is something worth fighting through the fear for!

  • kclanderson

    Accepting that fear is part of the change process has been key for me. As uncomfortable as it can be, I remind myself: it’s just a vibration in my body. Nothing more and nothing less.

  • You hit a really important point there Karen – acceptance can be very liberating.

  • Karen Shatafian

    This is a good reminder for me. Things are changing for me right now and the path is anything but linear. It’s pretty squiggly actually! I’m trying to just “be” with the twists and turns and trust I will end up where I need to be,

  • It is great that you have that awareness Karen. From a psoition fo awareness it is much easier to be proactive with navigating the twists and truns. Wishing you well with the changes you are going through.

  • Pam@over50feeling40

    good advice…thanks!

  • You are welcome Pam. Delighted you found it useful.

  • claudoo

    Great advice, very true.

  • Thank you. Glad you liked it.

  • Pennie

    Love this. Feels like something I need to take to heart given that the podcast I listened to yesterday was about change. Thanks for sharing.

  • Pennie, glad you found it useful.

  • Shari Broder

    This is SO true. A real roller coaster!

  • Shari, when we are aware it can be that way we can be proactive in finding ways to make the ride smoother!

  • Oh boy, it’s sure not linear. My mantra would be: one day at a time. Small changes inevitably lead to bigger ones. And setbacks can just teach us more about the path. Thanks for the reminders.

  • Love your mantra Anita. Small steps taken consistently is a powerful strategy to create change successfully.

  • paulakiger

    A roller coaster for sure.

  • The great thing is that when we know that and accept that we can be proactive in managing the ride more effectively.