The courage to make a big change

I overheard a snippet of a conversation this morning between two women in their 60s. One of them, speaking of a big change she wants to make after 20 years in the same role, said she’s worried she will let other people down if she goes ahead. 

Something about this woman contemplating a big change in her 60s inspired me to hit the keyboard. 

How often do we feel compelled to keep things the same, so we don’t rock the boat for others?  

Or to put another way, how often do we allow the reaction of others to be the reason why we shelve our plans to grow? 

How often do we question if we have the right to follow what’s true for us, even when we know a cycle of our lives has come to a natural end and it’s time to explore something new? 

Change is challenging, however you look at it, as it requires letting go. Some of that letting go is about how others will perceive what you’re doing. I’m not advocating selfishness, where you just do what you want, when you want and never consider anyone else. What I am suggesting is not letting the gift of your life go to waste because you're worried about pleasing or offending others. 

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
— Mary Oliver

 

You'll never please everyone, it’s not possible. Because your loved ones and friends are used to the "you" you've been giving, which is only ever a selective portion of what you have buried within you.

As we get older, and we take on certain roles and responsibilities, like parenting, the parts of us that aren't aligned with our responsibilities get shelved. Which is perfectly normal. But there comes a time for all of us when some of these long-shelved aspects of us need an outlet for expression. Because it's a natural and important part of your overall growth and development. 

That's typically when you start to notice things shift inside you, when what used to be comfortable no longer is. Those inner shifts are significant clues that you are in line for the next phase of your growth.

And this is what life is all about. It’s not about reaching a pinnacle and staying there. It’s not about having the same life for 50 years and defending against the smallest change. It may have been like that for previous generations but I don’t believe that is our reality anymore. 

Change is afoot - you can feel it everywhere, and to keep up with it, you must be willing to embrace a little (and sometimes a lot) of uncertainty. Doing that will stretch you beyond what you know, in the best possible way. When you continue to grow and evolve, it not only makes you feel incredibly vibrant and alive, but some of that juju rubs off on the people around you, as it did on me this morning. And we could all do with a bit more juju in our lives!

You may tell yourself it’s a big dark world out there, and because you can’t control and don’t like what's happening you may be tempted to tighten the reins on your own life. That’s one way of maintaining an illusory sense of security and stability - by resisting growth and change and letting fear make your choices for you. 

We all do it.

But you are not here to waste away the gift of your life by living the same day over and over until it’s all over. Holding on tight to what you know. Stagnating. You’re not here to defend against change at all costs.

You have your own unique programming to evolve, like a seed has innate programming to become a tree. So when one of your inner programs comes up for renewal, that’s your big cue to continue growing. It’s hard sometimes because your schedule for growth doesn’t always coincide with another's schedule for growth. 

I know change can be scary and challenging but this is truly where you get to see what you are made of, what else lies within you, what other opportunities exist. And the journey itself gives you a rare glimpse into the mysterious workings of life through the synchronicities that come your way when you take new inspired action.

No matter what is going on in the world, no matter what other people think is the right thing for you, none of it should be used as an excuse to stop your own trajectory of growth. Because I believe in some unseen way your growth is meant to benefit the whole. 

When you grow, you give others permission to grow too. When you become all that you are, rather than moulding yourself to fit in with everyone else, you give others the freedom to be who they are. You honour the potential for growth that we all hold within us.

I love seeing people taking new steps and stretching themselves no matter what age or stage of life they are in. It’s exhilarating and inspiring and it fills me with hope. Please don't be afraid of change: it's the new norm and one well worth embracing.

Can you relate? Love to hear your comments and feel free to share.