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Navigating Change – Breaking Barriers to Unleash Full Potential

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I remember it so vividly– I was bathing our one year old with one hand and holding our infant in the other. My mind was heading down a rabbit hole as I wondered, “What on earth was I doing?” Who am I? See, throughout my life I’d always been very ambitious. I had plans to be a medical doctor, earn lots of money, and travel the world. And here I was nearly 30 years old, married with two young sons, and was in my first graduate school program- Master of Divinity. I had no clear idea about what I wanted to be when I “grew up.” 

In retrospect, this marked the beginning of me choosing to create what I wanted for my life and what I wanted to do with it. Spoiler alert- I completed two additional master’s degrees in Social Work and Business Administration, a PhD in Business Psychology, birthed our third son, cared for our aging parents, overcame numerous health challenges, including but not limited to Multiple Sclerosis, blood clots (DVT and PE), and thoracic surgery.

But, what about you? Have you ever felt or asked yourself:

  • I’ll never accomplish all that’s on my plate.
  • I don’t have what I need to succeed.
  • Nothing will change, so why bother?
  • How am I going to accomplish everything all at once? 
  • I have too much to do and too little time to do it.

Transitions, change, and getting unstuck from old ways to make room from the new can be a challenge. You may really feel something in your life- systems, processes, or operations need to improve, but getting started can feel a lot like trying to navigate a dark maze while blindfolded. The good news is, anything is possible, even if it doesn’t feel like it in the moment. With commitment, leveraging your authenticity, and streamlining your focus, you will discover that every small step in the right direction will lead you, your business, and your employees where you aspire to be.

Tips for Beginning the Transition Process

Change is neither good or bad, right or wrong. It just is. It is a moment in time to evaluate your GROWTH:

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Generativity. “Making your mark” on the world by caring for others as well as creating and accomplishing things that make the world a better place. It involves embracing those “mirror moments” — times when you look in the mirror and determine whether who you are now is who you thought you’d be at this age and stage of life.

Reciprocity. Honestly assess your relationships with those who will be affected by your decision. Consider short-term and long-term implications your spouse, partner, children, and parents will experience. Short-term sacrifices often have long-term benefits.

Opportunity cost. What are the potential benefits you or your business are missing out on when choosing one alternative over another? Whether you decide to embrace change or not, you are making a decision. What does that decision cost? While there are sacrifices you must make, there are also benefits you’re missing out on in choosing to remain the same.

Will. What do you really want to do? How do you want to proceed? Don’t underestimate or overestimate the power of your will. When someone truly desires a certain outcome, nothing feels impossible.

Timing. Some decisions feel correct, but the timing feels off. Be mindful of your true motivation for putting something off. It may be the right time, but you are unsure how to derive and execute a plan.

Health. How is this decision impacting your health? If you make a specific decision over another, how will it impact your physical, mental, or emotional health? What support systems can you put in place to help you be successful in the decision you’ve selected? 


How Do I Know I Need Help Navigating Change?

·     Evaluate: Take some time, without rushing, to really evaluate what it is that is not working or is blocking you from reaching your goals in life or in business. Write it down, brainstorm, and find common trends that can be traced back to the root cause. Because once you can pinpoint the underlying issue, that is when you can finally work on remediating it. Before that, you will be just shooting in the dark and getting frustrated.

·     Come Up with a Transition Timeline: Construct a timeline with milestone goals along the way that you would like to reach. These seemingly small celebratory moments are all puzzle pieces that create the big picture and help you transform.

·     Work on Improving Yourself: This one can be hard to do on your own, but in order to make any business or home life changes, start from within. Change begins and ends with you, so make sure you prioritize yourself. 

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Regardless of the stage you are in and what your goals are, it is vital to never stop striving for more and diving deep inside yourself to see what’s possible. Who knows, you may have only scratched the surface. Remember, you are brilliant, and the best of you is waiting to be revealed.

Dr. Angela L. Swain is a business psychologist and professional certified coach who believes in the power of creating positive organizational cultures through leadership development. For more information regarding how to navigate change, please email her at [email protected].