Are you non-active, reactive or proactive? Plus, we tell you how to take charge of inevitable change.
can still remember sitting around the dinner table at 15, hearing my
mother say, “What do you think about moving?” as she casually passed me
the mashed potatoes.
What do I think? I think it's a horrible,
terrible, unbearable idea. I love this house, my friends, my school, and
the thought of moving again just three years after the last time makes
me want to burst into tears! “Because we've bought a new house and will
be relocating in a couple of weeks!” she continued, dribbling gravy over
Even as adults, most of us don't choose change. We
get comfortable with our routines, our lives, our friends, our cocktail
of choice, even our routes to work, and any detour can be a source of
frustration, fear and stress—we prefer the security of what we know. But
change is unavoidable, and how we react to it determines the outcome,
good or bad.
For example, let's say you have a 30-year-old shake
shingle roof on your home, and during a home inspection you are told
your roof has a slim to none chance of holding up through the winter
rain. (Why am I using this example? Because I just wrote a big fat check
to the roofing company!) What would you do?
There are usually three ways that people react to change:
• Be non-active.
are the type of homeowners who find out they have a leaky roof but just
sit back, singing the song, “It Never Rains in Southern California,”
hoping that will make it so. Basically, they resist the change and
choose to remain in denial. If I don't address the issue, it's not
really there. It won't happen to me, so I'm just going to continue to go
about my business. Or they cop an attitude and say, It's not fair. Why
me? Either way, they don't move forward and stay stuck. They are
choosing the pay later versus now, approach—and pay they will.
• Be reactive.
homeowner frantically starts calling the local roofers and feels the
pressure to make a fast decision. They don't have all the necessary
facts but make a decision anyway to eliminate their immediate stress and
worry. It's a knee-jerk reaction. It's the individual who finds out
they may lose their job, freaks out, visits 30 placement agencies, and
the following Monday they have a new job—but not really one that fits
their skill set or talent.
• Be proactive and positive.
months back, the homeowners accepted how old the original roof was and
started to do their homework. They asked all their friends and neighbors
for recommendations, did research on the Internet about roof materials
during their spare time and started interviewing roofers suggested by
others. They prepared a budget and started saving for the new roof,
which is scheduled to be put on before the rainy season begins. They put
their focus on what they could do, focused on the positive outcomes and
Obviously, the ideal way to deal with change is to
be is proactive because you feel more in control. And the more we feel
we have control over the situation, the less stress and frustration we
feel. It doesn't matter if it's a roof, a divorce, a career
restructuring or a diet—when we take charge of change, the journey feels
more comfortable and ends up more rewarding.
Easy to say, but how do you choose to be proactive when it's so easy to freak out or hide under the covers?
Acknowledge that change is part of life. Nothing would exist without
change. It's inevitable. We wouldn't even be born if our parents hadn't
changed (or grown up).
• Accept your emotions. Tell the truth on
yourself to allow all your feelings. Cry the crocodile tears and release
the energy as it comes up. Be patient, as it takes time to sort through
all your emotions and adjust to change. Too often we skip over this
step, shove our emotions down and that ends up slowing us down.
Reframe the situation to see the positive. After I processed my sadness
about having to relocate, I started to dream about the possibilities
ahead. I could meet exciting new people, have updated décor in my
bedroom and no one would know about that stupid thing I did in the 4th
• Action is required because decisions, not conditions,
determine your path . By deciding to move forward and trust the process,
we put our focus on what is available. I took steps to learn all I
could about the neighborhood, activities and school. By taking positive
action, I was able to let go of my fears and move forward believing that
everything will work out for the best.
And since change is
constant, I recently had the opportunity to explore the steps once more
when my husband and I decided to divorce. I chose to be proactive, cry
my river of tears, focus on the positive benefits that come from
speaking the truth and took the steps to move forward trusting that all
our lives will eventually change for the better. And they have. It
required I move again, but today, my world is spinning with wonderful
Remember, every pot needs to be replanted now and
again if it's going to grow. Embrace change and continue to become the
person you were always meant to be.
Next time you want to avoid
change, ask what it's costing you. Find out what 7 parts of your life
suffer when you fail to change.