December 14, 2008

Good day, team,

Last week I experimented with the challenge by sending a link people could access and then asking for feedback. Here are some of the comments I received:

“For me, the most important statistic is that China is going to become the largest English-speaking country. Number one, it’s a relief: Chinese is SO hard. Number two, maybe it’s an opportunity to teach some people who are eager rather than apathetic about improving their English skills!”

“Pay attention to where things are going, not where they came from.”

“I don’t think that we in the USA are up to the challenge… .This doesn’t scare me, it only enlightens me to think more out of the box.”

“That is truly mind boggling; it’s stressful… . I think my challenge was to not be frightened by but to realize I am a part of this.”

Many thanks to all who responded.

These comments led me to think about the continuing efforts we all make to deal with change. Because change generally evokes an immediate response of fear, the real opportunity seems to be in summoning up the determination we need to see all change as an opportunity rather than an impediment or loss.

Over the years, many of my clients have endured huge changes in their jobs, their families, their marital status, their family ties and their health status. It astonishes me when I think about all of their stories and how fearful they were when they came to work with me. But I continue to be amazed at the magic and grace life bestows upon people who overcome the fear of change by mustering the courage and forbearance to deal with it. It is a spiritual experience for me to watch a person engage in the change that’s happening rather than resisting it.

In the first few months of the Civil War, when President Lincoln realized he could do nothing to prevent it, he willed himself to think of what good might possibly come from the altercation. Certainly, freeing the slaves was one of the great outcomes. It’s possible that the Emancipation Proclamation could have been written under different circumstances, but the war was the circumstance Lincoln found himself in, and by fully dealing with it, positive changes came about that resulted in great benefits.

Your challenge this week is to choose an area where you see change happening in your life and try engaging in it rather than resisting it. Take the energy that fear produces in your body and your heart and use it to serve you rather than wreck you. Ask others to help if need be. Sometimes I ask my husband how he would handle a particular change. He always has a different viewpoint that helps me expand my thinking and gives me new ways to approach something. Sometimes I use what I call the bottom-line trick: Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that can happen?”

If I lose my job, will I starve to death? If my marriage falls apart, will I ever find love again? If my house forecloses, will I have a place to live?  By thinking through the worst scenario, we often find the strength we need to move forward to an unknown place. It may be bad, but it will still be possible to navigate some way through.

Some good always comes from even dire circumstances, although it may be very hard for us to see it.

One of my favorite quotes about change comes from Charles L. Morgan:

“The art of living does not consist in preserving and clinging to a particular mood of happiness, but in allowing happiness to change its form without being disappointed by the change,  for happiness, like a child, must be allowed to grow up.”

Have a great week!


Kathleen Doyle-White
Pathfinders Coaching
(503) 296-9249

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