The Many Faces of Change – Part I

Leaves-Change“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with Spring.”– George Santayana

As I sit here writing on what has been prophesied as the final day of the English Summer (in mid-late October!) it seems fitting to talk about the inevitability of change.

Beyond the usual changing of the seasons, it strikes me that there must be something in the air at the moment as almost everyone in my life appears to be going through change in one way or another right now: two are leaving a job or a career, the other a marriage, one’s just had her second baby, and my work is all about people who are starting new businesses.

I find “change” to be a curious word as it generates such diverse responses and reactions in people. Some people absolutely love change and thrive on all that it brings into their lives. Others seek only to cope with and survive change. Still others will do everything in their power to avoid change (my mother for one!).

Whether we recognise it or not, change is always at play in one way or another – sometimes quickly, sometimes painstakingly slowly, sometimes predictably and other times unexpectedly.

Most of us intellectually understand that change is a natural and inevitable part of life, but that intellectual understanding can all too easily abandon us when change comes knocking loudly or unexpectedly at our door.

In those circumstances, change can sometimes feel like an irrational and cruel instrument of torment by the Universe, that is, unless we are given a way to understand what is actually happening. What many people don’t realise is that there is actually a process or cycle to change that in many ways mirrors the unfolding of the four seasons.

changecycle1Over the course of the next few weeks we will therefore be exploring the various phases of the Cycle of Change and shine a light on the typical thoughts, feelings, emotions and actions that are prevalent in each stage of the cycle. By approaching the experience of change in our lives equipped with greater awareness and understanding of this cycle, it will actually alter your perspective of change and give you the ability to better manage your moods, personal experiences and responses to it.

There are four phases in the Cycle of Change, which are:
  • Shuffle
  • Deal
  • Playing the Game
  • Toss In
This week, we will start by exploring the Shuffle phase.

The “Shuffle” phase is typically a period of detachment from what has not been working in life. It is the phase beyond the ending itself and begins with the experience of overcoming, or at least being able to deal with the pain from the ending of the last cycle. It is a time to emotionally heal, reflect and research, find new direction leading to renewal and re-energising.

Most of us intellectually understand that change is a natural and inevitable part of life, but that intellectual understanding can all too easily abandon us when change comes knocking loudly or unexpectedly at our door.

Whilst this phase can often feel like somewhat of a limbo, being described by William Bridges in his book “Transitions – Making Sense of Life’s Changes” as the Neutral Zone, it’s an important stage of healing, taking stock of our lives, evaluating our core values, reviewing what’s really important to us in life and deciding which way to turn. Many people in this phase will feel like they have let go of something and are crossing a chasm of uncertainty, they might feel out of control over much of their lives, but it’s also in this phase that many of us begin to gain inner trust and develop insights for our personal growth.

You can think of this period as the early stages of the caterpillar in the chrysalis. It offers a valuable opportunity to practice patience, faith and to trust that you doing what’s necessary to grow.

If you are currently in this stage of the Cycle of Change, then you might be experiencing some of the following thoughts, feelings and behaviours:
  • Turning inwards;
  • Re-evaluating values and beliefs;
  • Becoming open to new possibilities;
  • Fear of the unknown; or
  • Feeling a lot of ups and downs.

If this is you, for now, simply focus on something that you know you want and begin brainstorming some potential actions that you might want to take. Whilst there is no need to rush to DO anything in this stage you will want to take some action to avoid stagnating and just start “somewhere”.

Next time we will explore the Deal phase, but in the meantime, if you’re interested to learn more about how to cultivate your self-awareness and increase your level of consciousness through conscious education or develop a career in self-mastery and personal development, join our free A-Z Roadmap to Becoming a Coach webinar at http://www.ipeccoaching.com//events-and-seminars.aspx .

Anna Margolis
About the author

Anna Margolis is our Mastering your Mind blogger. She is a revitalised former city lawyer turned freer of minds. Find out more: iPEC London, Facebook, Pinterest

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