My mother once said to me, "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans." She meant that life would take me — and everyone else — on its own journey: one of changes, unpredictable and unexpected transitions and tough decisions. As soon as I understood I was subject to a bigger plan, the happier and calmer my life became.
So, like you, I'm no stranger to change. Some of it was expected and some of it caught me by surprise. Change has been an integral part of my life, and while things have not always been easy, there are ways of making change a bit simpler, of starting off with the right beliefs, foundation, people, information and inspiration.
Throughout my life and career, I continue to notice that the one constant is that change happens in everyone's life. The most exciting thing about change (strange as it seems) is that it is guaranteed to happen. So why are we so shocked when it does?
Change is very much part of my DNA. I was born in New York to Belgian and French parents and, from the get-go, we were an international family on the move. My last name, de Bonvoisin, literally translates to "good neighbor" in English, and this turned out to be quite a serendipitous surname for me. I lived in six different countries on three different continents, learned to speak four languages and went to five different schools — all before the age of 18.
Professionally, I also went through many changes. After graduating from the London School of Economics, I joined The Boston Consulting Group, where I worked in more than a dozen countries. After obtaining an MBA at Stanford University, I moved back to New York to work for the media giants BMG and Sony Music. In 2000, I was tapped by Time Warner to become the managing director of a new digital media venture fund. I also spent some time in Africa working for a nonprofit and had a short tenure exploring the world of television with Charlie Rose. As a certified trainer and life coach for the Anthony Robbins Companies, I have attended and helped at dozens of seminars on many subjects, including health, relationships, finances, life skills and spirituality, in addition to meeting several experts in this area. On the personal front, I was a professional swimmer, a ski instructor and regularly help disabled runners in the New York Marathon. I love the planet and travel always gets my attention: I reached summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro in January 2001 and accompanied a group of students to Antarctica in December 2002. Oh yes, I also went cage diving with great white sharks in South Africa! Here is what I know. Learning to embrace change has been the single most important tool to helping me love my life more and always looking for the positive in everything that happens. I started First30Days because I wanted to share that knowledge and power with other people. Every one of us will go through some really fun and exciting changes and others that are so hard, we're not sure how we will get through them.
Every person I've seen go through a change goes through a similar set of emotions — they are stressed, feel alone and unsure where to start and what information to trust. And when I searched for a company dedicated to helping people through change, I came up empty. I made it my mission to ensure everyone had a place to go during times of change that would help them make change easier. Any change, big, small, personal, professional and even changes that can help change the world.
So why focus on the first thirty days? Despite the change — be it unpredictable or self-propelled — the first few days and weeks are often the hardest, most emotional time. It's when we have the most questions, emotions, doubts and fears, and when decisions need to be made. This is also the time when we are most in need of direction, information and support. Thirty days is enough to get started in the right way, to share with you what makes change easier and why some people get through change better than others.
I believe anyone can change. I believe there is always something good that will come from a change, even if you can't see it right now. I believe that when we stop resisting the changes we are going through and simply embrace them, we realize that life is on our side. I believe that we all have a part of ourselves that doesn't change — and, when we find that part within us, whatever change we are going through on the outside becomes easier.
Remember, all is well.