First 30 Days Blog

21 dec

The Fourth Secret of Change

Let’s think about Change Demons.

People who successfully navigate change give themselves permission to be human. They feel their emotions and know how to move through them. (Companies also fit themselves under this statement.)

Getting through a tough change isn’t about “thinking” yourself through it. It isn’t about an action plan, three steps, here they are, boom. It isn’t either about being all tough and logical. What I’ve found from thousands of interviews is the opposite actually. People who get through those tough life changes are much more human than you imagine. They feel, they’re scared, they doubt, they worry, they’re angry, they’re impatient, they blame, they feel guilty, they’re ashamed. The list of typical emotions, what I call our “change demons” is a long one.

You are meant to feel your way through change initially, not think your way through change. The emotion you are most resisting right now is the emotion that is ruling your life. It’s the emotion that isn’t allowing the next thing to show up. Feeling again is the first step to getting through change. You find your power in your feelings. It’s where energy starts moving again. Energy doesn’t move in your head or thoughts. That’s where it gets stuck. People get sick from not feeling an emotion and instead burying it somewhere in their body. (Companies get sick from not addressing their employees’ emotions, too.)

Identify the feeling that is coming up. Is it self-blame? Is it fear? Is it powerlessness? What is your go-to emotion during change? Next ask yourself, what is the emotion you would do anything to avoid? That’s the one you need to address.

Whether it’s losing a job or a deal or a relationship or facing a health issue, the classic emotions of change are still the same. The way to go beyond these is to find the antidote. Take fear for example. The antidote is faith, faith in life, in yourself, in your team, in God, in things eventually turning around for you. Something needs to be bigger than your fear. Where do you really find your safety net?

Those uncomfortable emotions have always led the way. When you tune into your intuition—the tightness in your stomach over a job decision, the stress you feel, your sleepless nights—into what emotion is trying so hard to get your attention, only then do you find some peace. Your change demons are sending you a wake-up call to make some new decisions, to honor your intuition, to face the consequences, to get honest.

People aren’t changed by information. They are changed by inspiration, by having their emotions shaken and moved. Remember that. Think of artists, singers, teachers, even some of our politicians. All they do begins and ends with emotions, with getting in touch with feelings. Emotions change a business. Emotions create customers. Emotions are like fuel during change. Welcome them. They’re not to be feared. It’s a positive sign when they are getting your attention. It means there’s something for you to learn, realize, change, get honest about, make a decision about, and find a more empowering emotional response for than to find some stability in.

Still, there’s no need to welcome every emotion to the party. So when fear shows up, you can exercise some control over whether you invite its friends—blame, anger, resentment, embarrassment, and terror to the party—and then feed them and let them stay as long as they like. That ’s the part you control. Change Optimists as I like to call them feel their full range of emotions. Like they do, give yourself full permission to be human if you are serious about getting through a change now.

Companies also go through their own “change demons.” See if you can identify what emotion your company, or team is maybe stuck in. Give everyone permission to voice this, feel this and only then will you and they be able to move through to a better place.

Posted by Ariane de Bonvoisin on December 21st, 2009 in Ariane, Career, New Directions | 1 comments Read related posts in

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  • I so much agree with feeling each emotion, but not inviting every emotion to the party for the long term. Allow yourself to be in control and to exercise equanimity.

    — Added by Rosyresources on December 22nd, 2009

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