If you have been following my blog you some time notice that I will post an article out of sequence and I ask that you please forgive me.

Here we go again, our last and final phase or stage that we all go through in life when we’re faced with a disturbing personal or professional challenge, loss of a job, accident, or divorce.

Some of us bounce back quickly and are more resilient than others however I am here to share with you that ” your life will return to to some type of normalcy but you must take that next step.

So let’s get started! Patience may be required as you embrace a new situation or a new identity. Take small steps as you learn the skills, habits, and behaviors associated with the new. Avoid the temptation to replicate the old. Look at opportunities with fresh eyes – a fresh spirit. Most people find that in retrospect, the change they feared and dreaded was indeed an opportunity for growth. And that is what thriving is all about.

Carl Brand sums it up nicely, “Though one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” That quote is important to digest. Your future depends on more than you surviving the latest (or the next) change in life. It depends on your thriving – even flourishing.

If you are having difficulty believing this right in this moment, then try this exercise:

Phone or e-mail at least 3 friends or relatives. Ask them to share with you a change they have experienced in their lives that literally transformed their life in a positive way. They will be glad you asked and you will grow to appreciate the changes you are experiencing even more.

Summary

Perhaps the following bullet points will help reinforce what you’ve already learned:

• Change is the normal process of life. Life is not possible without change.

• It is human nature to resist change. Most of us like what is familiar and predictable.

• As normal as change is, it is normal to resist it. You are not wrong, bad, or stubborn simply because you resist change.

• It is common to fear the unknown.

• Change can cause us to question our long held beliefs and values.

• Moving through change can be uncomfortable and feel awkward, and is the only way to move forward.

• Refusing to change does not mean that the world won’t change around you. Refusing to change means you’ll be left behind.

• As harsh as this may sound, some of us resist change because we are lazy. We simply don’t want to invest our energy and time – we don’t want to commit to a new way of being.

• And to end on a reassuring note, the ability to change, adapt and move forward often offers us new and wonderful opportunities beyond our imagination.
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Remember that phone call you got at the beginning of this report? Chances are, you will have – or have recently had similar experiences.

In the past, you may have slipped into your old habits and perhaps panicked, resisted the change, or stayed in denial. But now you are now equipped with new knowledge and new skills to help you not only accept the changes you experience, but to embrace them.

When life throws you a curve ball, take time to review your newly discovered knowledge about the stages of change. You will discover that you will not only survive during challenging times, but you will thrive.

I leave with you a favorite song of mine by the late Jazz Vocalist Sarah Vaughn “What A Difference A Day Makes” in which i heard her sing during her last performance at Blues Alley in Georgetown,Washington DC.

There is in the worst of fortune the best of chances for a happy ending.

~Euripides

Curt Canada provides Executive,Career,Leadership Development,and Life Coaching at FindingYourZenith in Washington DC.

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Once we have moved through the ‘letting go’ process, we find ourselves in the second phase of change. This is the period of emptiness and uncertainty. This is also called the transitional time – the time between letting go of the old and fully embracing and adapting to the new. During this time you may feel like you are lost. You don’t know what to do. You don’t know what is expected of you. This is unfamiliar territory. Nothing feels the same. The old is gone, the new is unknown and you are in between.

Like a farmer, it is the time that the fields appear to lay barren, but in reality they are becoming nutrient rich for the next crop. This is your opportunity to become nutrient rich. As you review the following ideas, select one or two that you can commit to as you move through the transitional phase of change. If you do, you will be enriching your spirit, your mind, your future relationships, and your skills. And implementing these ideas will make this phase easier to undergo.

1.Do something that makes you feel in control. (And we’re not talking about holding the television remote!). Don’t sit around making excuses about why you can’t do something, just give it a try. Be sure that you choose a project that gently pushes your energy level – and more importantly, one that you can accomplish. Stick to it until you finish.

2.Take stock of your life and choose one or two areas to focus on that can greatly impact your future success. Take action. Take an on-line course, sign up for a language class. Or a dance class. Study other religions. Learn to type using all your fingers! Whatever you do, give it your best effort.

3.Think bigger and bolder. Daydream. Visualize yourself immensely successful. See yourself in a new light. Create a collage of your best self. Your aspirations. Your talents.

4.Do not confuse the present with the past. Remind yourself, in spite of past reactions to change, you are older, more mature, and wiser. You have the skills you need to not just survive, but to thrive during this newest change.
5.Accept that this is an awkward stage. Ask for patience and support from people who are in your corner. Ask them to be patient, but not to let you become complacent.

The transitional time of change is an opportunity to evaluate any previous decisions you might have made. What did you learn? What should you learn in order to prevent a similar experience from happening? What will youdo differently the next time you are in a related situation?

Curt Canada is a Career and Life Coach in Glover Park DC at FindingYourZenith.

You know that you will survive change. We’ve all lost someone via an accident, a family member through a death, a marital separation, a loss of a prosperous career, or a home in an environmental disaster. You’ve had plenty of practice in life making small and large adjustments. You are equipped with all the skills you need. You just may need to hone some of those skills. Knowing the three stages of change can help you understand what you have gone through during previous changes in your life. I assure you it will take some time but you must begin somewhere. Keep also in mind that each and every individual that encounters change responds so differently!

‘Letting Go’ Stage of Change

The first step of change can sometimes be the most painful. In order to move through the change process you will have to let go of something. Something must come to an end. This could be the end of a relationship, end of a job, end of security, or the end of an unfulfilled dream. We must at some point let go of the past to be able to accept and prepare for change.

It is hard on our human nature to let go of what is familiar – even when the old might not serve us well. During the letting go process we usually go through a grieving process. The more attached we are to the old, the more we will grieve.

Most grief professionals and coaches agree that the grieving process consists of five stages:

•Denial – Believing that this is “just a dream” or “just a phase”. It’s really not happening.
•Bargaining – Believing that we can negotiate our way back to how things used to be.
•Anger – Feeling intensely about how “unfair” the situation is. We may even experience anger toward other people, believing, it’s their fault.
•Sadness – Feeling lost, alone, or vulnerable. Sometimes this can deepen into depression and requires professional help.
•Acceptance – Realizing that things will not go back to the way they were. You are now ready to move forward.

The order of the stages may shift and you may vacillate from one to the other and back (from anger to sadness and back to anger). The important lesson for you is that you understand that these feelings are normal and are necessary to complete the grieving process. If you find yourself stuck in the grieving process at any step of the way, engage the services of a professional counselor, clergy, or coach to give you guidance.

TBContinued in the next post!

Curt Canada coaches clients around life and work related challenges at FindingYourZenith in Washington DC. Schedule a consultation today..email Curt at coachingconsultant@comcast.net

Neighbors or Hoods…?

March 13, 2009

I am a little taken a back by the seemingly lack of concern for the persons who live around us especially the hi .. how are you folks… You read about it in the newspaper or hear about them across the media outlets when something bizarre goes on practically right in your backyard. Take for a moment to think about all the different things that are going on. Then again, don’t think about it ! But who am I to separate the word neighborhood, where people talk with each other, where there’s a lending hand, where  environmental decline and neglect are noticed,  and where you can still borrow a cup of sugar. Addresses seemingly depict where one retreats to at the end of the day. The internet has become the new neighborhood. Don’t think for a moment that I am bashing technology.  Just think of all the different social groups and interested communities I can reach just by sharing what’s in my head. I never thought of it that way,  but so we are the ones who have created this division in the first place where we now question ourselves about the lack of  human contact  and conversation. Let’s go for a walk around the block . Notice the new structures, that new bigger that life house on the corner, and the not so fortunate family on the next block.  What about that  new school where learning is at the top of the list. No one told them about the trash that’s thrown on the ground  around the building. Maybe they are waiting on “Earth Day”.  Perhaps it would be absurd to question the responsible school administrators, teachers, and children who have no real stake in a neighborhood in which they do not even reside? I had better leave this issue for another day! Now, come to think of it I simply don’t care for either the word neighbor or hood.  I do relish the word neighborhood with its global defintion of ” universal and a collective human purpose “. Lewis Mumford,” sounds British,  states that neighbourhood  suggests “where human beings congregate in permanent dwellings.”  I found this definition on wikipedia and it sort of answers my question about how this powerful  positive word became so broken apart. I hear from real neighbors how things have changed.  It  looks as though this weekend’s weather will be more spring-like. Could this be the beginning of a neighborhood newsletter?  Neighborhood– a place where residents share their skills, knowledge, support, and kindness! Where do you live?

Curt Canada is a Personal Growth Coach and Consultant at Finding Your Zenith in Washington D.C.