Image by Angie Garrett - used under a creative commons license
There was a time, a few years ago now, where I wanted to change everything. I wanted to change my work, my relationships, my appearance, my living situation and my energy levels. I wanted to wave a magic wand and have a different life.
I tried - by losing myself in books and knowledge - learning and finding out. Of course, that wasn't enough. Creating a change required me to do something.
I was overwhelmed. There were too many things to change. Where do I start?
Trying to change everything at once can leave us exhausted or without ANYTHING changing. We start with one thing we can change.
So I asked myself: What’s the first thing I can change, right now?
Looking back, I’m glad it didn’t all change at once. My mindset would be way behind my circumstances. I wouldn’t know what to do with a completely different schedule, I wouldn’t know how to listen to my body to know what was the next step to take or to learn how to trust and let life unfold.
The process of change allows us to learn at our own pace. The most interesting observation I've made is that change will go as fast as you want it. You commit to changing and things will happen.
Sometimes, of course, it seems excruciatingly slow. It feels like you’re stuck doing the elephant plodding when you want to be soaring with eagles.
These are my 3 tips for changing when you just wish EVERYTHING could be different.
Do what YOU can do.
Take the steps that you can take. Work the ‘big vision, dream scenario’ backwards until you get to the smallest step that you could actually do right now - for one thing that’s in your dream: sending an email, texting your friend, doing one first sketch. Dusting the piano, opening the lid. Putting the heading on the business plan.
Even if that one step is all you can do, for now, do it.
My best example of this is when I've needed to send emails - to ask people for a favour, or to follow up with someone.
I start writing them, and then ‘get scared’ - that it’s not the right thing, they won’t be able to help, they’ll think I’m stupid for asking, that they will think I’m imposing. So, instead of actually sending the email, I'll just draft it. This means I can write what I want without having to worry about what they say back as I'm typing.
I'd love to know how many times I’ve just done the draft. The email has sat in my drafts folder, not sent, you know, just chilling. Then one day later I'll have the idea again and remember - Aha!- I wrote the draft. I'll just have a little look.
The amazing thing is that, almost always, when I go back and read the draft, my energy has changed. I'm ready to send it. And I’ve been ecstatic, because I’ve already done the hard work. All I have to do is a few edits and send.
And so I’ve progressed.
Do whatever it is your doing, your way. Not the way everyone tells you you ‘should’ do it. Not the way society tells us, the way that’s expected. The way you want to do it and dream of doing it.
Keep revisiting the dream
The importance of having a clear dream, a picture in your head of the ‘best’ version of you is your rock to hang on to when waves of confusion and self-doubt come along. It’s a benchmark and a guide. Fill the dream picture with all the things you want.
Even if you want to live in two places in the world, keep asking yourself how both these places fit into your life. Do you spend half the year in one place and half the year in the other place? What do the places have that you long for? Look at the feeling behind it - is it a great sense of community or beautiful weather? Once you can identify these aspects, look to bringing them into your dream in as many ways as you can.
If your dream is to run an organic farm, what types of customers do you have visiting? Do you have a shop on site or do you sell wholesale? If your dream is to start your own clothing range, what kind of place do you live in? Do you work from home or do you have a studio?
Keep filling in the details and have fun with it!
In the most difficult moments of change, for it IS challenging, we can go back to our dream and know why we are doing it. Why we are consciously - that is, deliberately, with full awareness and through free choice - putting ourselves out in the world to change, sometimes going against what everyone else thinks, to do something differently. The picture you hold of your vision, the feelings you have thinking about your dream, the excitement - all this will counter that self doubt, that resistance we wonder about along the way.
I wrote a few weeks ago about rest. Recently, I’ve not been progressing with my to-do list as fast as I want to. I keep needing to rest. I’m getting impatient. 'You’ve got things to do', the bossy part of me nags, '..things with deadlines, both your own and other people’s. And you’re just lying around.’
It feels as though I’m wasting time resting up, letting my body recover.
Yet I’m learning that when I honour my body and what it needs, I end up achieving much more.
Writing with deeper insight, a deeper understanding of the journey, more to give everyone I interact with - not just clients, family or friends. Shifts in my body are reflected in changes in my mindset. I have an increased sense of trust, which I know is something I am relying on more and more.
The nagging voice still pops up, trying to warn me: 'There is danger, I’m going to fail, I’m not doing enough'. But I’m changing faster than I think I am, I’m learning more without realising and I’m moving in my true direction.
Be patient through the process, like energy, it comes in waves. Sometimes lots happens in a day, and sometimes endless weeks go by without anything. Be patient and keep going.
I always love to remind myself with this quote:
"At first glance, it may appear too hard. Look again, always look again."