Is it possible to become more ‘ready’ for change?
I recently participated in an exceptional course on experiential learning, in which I had the chance to deeply contemplate the concept of change and if we can ever really be prepared for it – whether we are single and considering starting a relationship, for example, or an accompanying partner wondering if we should actively search for a job.
One of my more fundamental reflections was that there is no endpoint to our inner readiness… we are a ‘work in progress’. How liberating this is! To know that there is no right or wrong moment, there is no perfection. There is just us making the choice to try and change, even if we are not quite ready. (And what does ‘ready’ mean anyway? How can somebody feel completely ready?)
The course helped me understand that there are certain steps to take before deciding to make an important change in our lives. Here is an easy representation of what I learnt based on the book ‘Processing the Experience: Enhancing and Generalizing Learning‘ by Luckner & Nadler :
Continue the pattern or Change
The first basic step to becoming more ready to take a step towards change, or change a pattern that doesn’t work for you anymore, is awareness. Sometimes we do things without being fully aware of our thoughts, feelings or situation. Stop and ask yourself ‘what’s really going on?’, ‘where am I?’, ‘how do I feel?’
The next step is responsibility. Who is responsible for the action to be taken? Usually the answer is you. Of course, there are people around us who may help or hinder us in making a change we want, without them even realizing it. They may fear your change and pull you away from it, or push you too hard to make that change. No matter how the people around us respond or the circumstances we find ourselves in, the responsibility for a change (or not) is, ultimately, ours.
The third step in this process is choice. You have the freedom to continue with the pattern, for your own reasons (and that is okay too), or you can try to change the pattern. The latter often requires time to explore, experiment and try out new ways of being. Change is not always easy and it can take plenty of trial and error before we achieve the desired outcome. Often we need to reflect again on the change we’ve made: Are you happy with this change? Does it feel the way you want it to feel? If, after some time, you realise the change is not for you, that’s okay! It’s highly possible to make a change and find it doesn’t make us as happy as we thought it would. Remember, we are all a magnificent work in progress! You can always return to your comfort zone (or the old pattern) or try a new change that may be more ‘you’.
Now, I would love to hear from you. What does being ready for change mean to you? What insight have you gained from this article?
Ps. I would like to thank trainers Björn Vilhjálmsson, Luk Peeters, Mark Taylor and Arturas Deltuva, as well as all my co-participants on the course! A special thanks also to the other half of my ‘learning duo’, Jonas, who helped mirror me though his eyes, challenged me and supported me throughout the process.
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