Do you ever look at the different areas of your life and feel like every single one of them is in a season of change?
I am right there with you.
For me, some of these changes are expected. My youngest kiddo will graduate from high school this spring, for example; something I’ve envisioned for years but still find myself asking, “How did this happen so quickly?”
Some changes are unexpected and a bit stressful, yet exciting. I didn’t know I’d move my entire office to a new location across town this spring, and it’s kind of chaotic – but also invigorating.
And, of course, some of the changes are uninvited, challenging, and definitely testing my strength.
To put it mildly.
Regardless of their form and intensity, however, all of our changes contribute to this full, rich, up-and-down-and-back-and-forth experience we are so fortunate to call life.
And I believe there is purpose to be found in all of it.
Below are five ways I find helpful for reconnecting with my purpose even amidst a sea of change. If you, like me, find yourself in such a state, I hope these ideas are helpful to you, too.
Return To Your Values
While priorities and tasks can change on a whim, our values tend to stay fairly constant over time. Get crystal-clear on your five or so core values, then keep coming back to them for a sense of grounding. They’re like your lighthouse – always standing strong regardless of what’s going on around you.
Discern What’s Yours To Carry
Sometimes, when I feel overwhelmed by everything I am trying to
control – ahem, manage – I realize not all of it is mine to fix / direct / take on. Determine where your thoughts and energy are being invested, then honestly assess which of those areas are for you and which you are able to delegate or let go.
Watch Your Language
In conversation with a friend recently, I described myself as feeling like I’m in a big body of water, wildly flailing around. I quickly realized this was not a helpful image. I decided to instead picture myself floating on a large, pink, inflatable swan in that same body of water – still not fully in control of everything around me (wind, waves, etc) but a bit calmer nonetheless. Pay attention to your language, including your self-talk, and consider replacing words like flailing or chaos or absolute mayhem with something more proactive.
Remember, It’s Temporary
In conjunction with the above idea, remembering the temporal nature of our experiences can be helpful, too. “I feel like I’m floating in the middle of the water … but I know it won’t be like this forever.” Or, as the saying many of us have adopted in recent years states, “This, too, shall pass.”
Create Your Own Kind Of Change
This may sound counterintuitive, but when things are changing around me, I sometimes find it helpful to create a change of my own – something I can feel in charge of. For example, I am currently developing a podcast, and while this is a challenging undertaking, it’s also really fun, and I find a calming sense of comfort in intentionally deciding my next steps. Maybe rearranging your living room, trying out a 10-day yoga challenge, or starting a passion project would provide an alternate focus.
I recently came across an article by Dr. Abigail Brenner, written over a decade ago, where she suggests moving “from the passive state of just watching how things unfold to taking some action that enables us to utilize the change to create an outcome of our own choice.”
And a bit later, she reminds us: “The key here is to understand that change is the rule, not the exception.”
We may not always know, in the moment, why a certain change is occurring. We may not always welcome it with open arms. And we may need help – from family, our boss, a therapist – to help us navigate it.
But with each change, we learn, we grow, and we add to our life experience toolkit. And eventually, we may be able to take what we’ve learned from our own change to support someone else through theirs.
Wishing you meaning, purpose, and a sense of peace amidst your sea of change!
Christi Hegstad, PhD, PCC, is the Practical + Purposeful Coach for Achievers! Contact us to inquire about coaching possibilities to help you create a meaningful career and purposeful life.