What to Do with Too Much Change
By Jacey Eckhart
Who am I kidding? Life changes do not line up neatly like third graders choosing sides for kickball. Changes don’t plead with their puppy dog eyes, begging for you to pick them first.
When change happens—especially a lot of changes at once—it is a lot more like being swept up by a riotous crowd storming the Bastille than shuffling into line for kickball. #Siglifechange is not orderly. Or patient.
I was thinking about this last weekend. One of our friends retired from the military one day and got married the next. “Everyone was in town anyway,” Kurt told me logically.
All the guests really appreciated Kurt’s efficiency and the perfect sunshine that tumbled down from the sky as a blessing on the newlyweds. It made perfect sense to do both events at once.
Still, that’s a lotta change.
Which does not make it wrong. It isn’t wrong to do more than one change at a time, especially when it comes to developmental or transitional change.
Developmental changes come on you because it is time—like military retirement. You know it is coming and you kind of mentally prepare as well as you can.
Transitional changes—like a wedding or a new baby—occur because they are clearly the next step in a process. They disrupt things, yeah, but they have their own timeline and they happen when they happen.
Then there are transformational changes, which may cause a lot of riotous upheaval and the purchase of a guillotine of your very own. Transformational changes are chosen changes, like losing a lot of weight, or looking for a better job while you are already employed, or starting a new business.
I read once that when you are going through a big change, you handle it by not taking on any other big changes. At the time, we had just been displaced by a hurricane and two weeks later our son was diagnosed with autism. It would have made sense to chill in place for a while.
But that was also the month I got offered a contract to make a CD, which came with an accompanying speaking tour. My mom, who knows everything, told me the same thing she used to say when we wanted to attend rock concerts and she was afraid there could be a stampede (you know, cuz that is common). She told me, “If there is a riot, you keep on your feet, you don’t fall down, and you go with the crowd until you can edge your way to the side.”
I think this is the way to handle a lot of changes. Keep to your feet. Don’t fall down. Surf until you can get to the side and catch your breath. Then get ready to jump back in again and keep on going.
Are you experiencing a lot of changes, too? Download this worksheet and circle all the changes you have gone through in the past twelve months. Are you surfing all that change or are you being led to the guillotine?