It’s not just what you learn but what you do with it

We had to say goodbye to my 9-1/2 year old Soulmate, Lilly

My life has been filled with a lot of change over the past couple of months. Some changes have been good and enjoyable, others have been gut wrenching and difficult. The only thing I can be certain of, is that more change is on the horizon.

I have learned a lot about change in this pandemic and being primarily at home. Some changes have been good, some have been hard. I have learned I can get so much more done working at home. I have also learned that turning work off at the end of the work day no longer happens. I understand what it means to be burned out. Productivity is up and so is the feeling of isolation and depression.

I have been frustrated that I can not travel to Malawi and other beautiful places right now. I have also discovered and rediscovered some really beautiful places right here in my home state. I have continued to work to stay connected to my team in Malawi, have learned new ways of getting work done without me being there, and have reconnected to some of my original roots here.

Through all of these changes it has been sometimes challenging to keep the momentum, to stay positive, even when the change has been positive.

I intentionally look back and make note of what I learned from them. I always hope that if I learn all I can about the change and the lessons from the experience, that maybe I won’t have to repeat it. It definitely helps with the changes that arise because of decisions that I make, but when it comes to changes out of my control, it provides at least the confidence that I can navigate difficult things.

The second action I take to improve experiences through change is to keep a daily gratitude journal. Even in trauma or loss, there are still blessings to cling to…sometimes those little things feel like all I have. This daily journal not only helps me navigate change, but also helps me be more empathetic as I support those around me going through change. This action keeps me from staying in a rut and feeling sorry for myself.

My third action item is that I don’t have to do it alone. I know that life can be difficult for most people, that reality isn’t always the social media version we allow everyone to see. Find someone to share your challenges with. I find it so helpful to just have a sounding board sometimes that will listen to me as I walk through my ideas and options. Talking through the trials helps me find ways to reconnect with my core purpose in life.

The fourth step for me is to keep moving. I increase the amount of physical activity when changes are prominent. This is usually the best way to sort through my thoughts. Training my brain to crave activity in change helps me keep moving physically through it, to find action items and take control of what I can. Sometimes I deep clean, or reinvent part of my landscaping and sometimes I replace all of the flooring in my home….whatever it takes to keep moving. This helps me foster an improvement mindset.

Throughout my lifetime, I have experienced extreme trauma, loss and change. I have experienced the good the bad and the ugly. Through each change I have found additional learnings that have helped me navigate the next one.

What do you do to help you navigate change?

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