Founder – Chief Change Optimist – Author – Host – Speaker – TV/Radio Personality – Mentor
Ariane de Bonvoisin - Founder and Chief Change Optimist

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Overwhelmed by Change?

I'm on my way to the Pennsylvania Governor's Conference for Women, where I'll be speaking on a panel on "Second Acts and New Beginnings." These are things I know well, and get asked about often. In fact, I recently got asked the following question via email from one of our members:

"What do you do when there are so many things that have to change (health, income, house, relationship status) that you get overwhelmed?"

We have all felt this—we go through a break up and then our job changes. We are in the process of getting our finances under control and then someone we know gets a staggering health diagnosis. Changes do often come in twos, threes or even more these days given the state of the world!

Here is what I would say to begin with. If you're dealing with multiple changes life has thrown your way, although they are all unique and different, there really is only one thing that you need to focus on—your personal ability to handle change. The skills you need to manage one change are the same as managing more than one change. The changes might be different, but you are the common factor in all of them. When you change on the inside you won't feel as overwhelmed.

Take your beliefs, for example. If you think you're bad at change, that change is hard, that these changes are bad, etc., just changing these beliefs will have a "trickle-down effect" to every other change you are faced with. You will know you can change, you are better at change than you've ever been told, you are never too old or too young, that good things will come from any change (this is the change guarantee).

Another principle to adhere to if you want to become better at change is to decide to accept change. Stop resisting it—you will bring this attitude of acceptance across all your current changes.

If you remember that none of us gets through change alone and you have a support team around you, if you ask and allow others to help, these people can help you through more than one change.

So there's really only one change to focus on, and that is you—your view of change, the things you do to manage change, what you can control. There are things that people who are good at change do, think, believe and say, whether it be a health change, financial change, home or relationship change that you mention in your question, so the real secret is knowing what makes someone good at change.

This is what I wanted to share and offer in my book. Once you get good at change, it stays with you. Please, give yourself the gift of getting good at change. Give it to someone else, it's the most important life skill to get good at. Buy the book now. And if you need a bit of help getting started today, check out Making Change Easier on the site. You can sign up and receive email tips, ask questions and read and listen to experts share their wisdom for handling change.

Now, one last point—if you are the person who wants to initiate change in your life, I would recommend taking on only a couple of changes at once. You want to set yourself up to succeed. Your self esteem will be higher as you make progress in one or two changes, you will have more time to dedicate to focusing on changes that really matter to you. Don't be impatient. We all overestimate how much change we can take on in a month and we all underestimate how much our lives could change within two or six months. Give yourself some time. Like the change guarantee says, from this something good will come.