Change is a bloom full of possibility and a wide river of uncertainty. It is a giant question mark, though in the case of the photo to the left, a question mark spray-painted on a piece of cast-off concrete. Change often rings of uncertainty, and with uncertainty comes all sorts of possibility.
We are creatures of comfort. We get used to things just the way they are and when derailed from our normal routines and proclivities, the situation we are confronted with can be an unexpected adventure, a challenging inconvenience, a paralyzing halt, or anything in between. Our individual and unique sets of life circumstances and experiences, values and dreams impact how changes affect us.
One of the privileges of the work I do as an organizer is being front and center with my clients as they go through the many shapes, hues, and volumes of change. In the realm of the change by choice, I have guided and assisted clients as they prepare their homes for the arrival of a baby, others to purge and pack for cross-country moves or partial home remodels, and countless others who are ready to take control and overcome the the paper and clutter challenges in their lives. Those who’ve faced change by force have been impacted by job losses and the consideration of relocating for work or beginning new careers. A death or illness has led others to take on responsibilities they never have before.
It is in changing that things find purpose.
While there is no magic formula to get us through change quickly and painlessly, there are some fundamental strategies and actions that can help. Whether you go with the flow , take a “formal” and systematic approach, or some fusion of both is up to you.
- Acknowledge how you feel. Your experience and reaction to the situation before you is unique to you. You owe it to yourself to honor and express those feelings.
- Allow yourself to ask for help. This is often the biggest catharsis for my clients – admitting that they need help. Change – be good or bad, happy or sad – can overwhelm and throw us off balance. It’s okay to recognize that you cannot go it alone! Ask a calm and trusted friend or family member for help, and if you don’t wish to impose on a loved one, an organizer, a coach, a spiritual advisor, even a therapist can provide the relevant assistance and direction. We are made stronger by the connections and communities we are a part of, and our communities are made stronger when they can rise to an occasion.
- Identify your goals and milestones. Identifying just three goals – especially in times of change – provides a grounding and focusing commitment. These are your points of reference to make sure you are on track. Use milestones as opportunities to reassess your progress and goals. You may find new goals and drop the old ones. Detours on the path of change are normal. Enjoy the scenery!
- Makes lists. Really! Write down all the things you need to do that will get you from point A to point B. Prioritizing tasks and removing them from the list as they are accomplished helps you make leaps and bounds. Or, as I heard at a lecture earlier today, just cross off things your list as if you did them. Hmmm, now that’s an interesting approach.
- Connect with what’s pertinent. This goes hand in hand with your goals. As distractions and demands on your time start filling your days, check in to see what appointments, tasks, and activities are stepping stones to your goals. When it comes to actual possessions, ask yourself what is important and meaningful to you. If you can imagine life without certain items, perhaps it’s time to let them go. Connecting with what’s pertinent enables you to fill your days and environment with things that matter.
- Remember that change begets change. This is one of my mantras. One thing leads to another other, and with each shift comes new ideas and detours, new inspiration and energy.
Because things are the way they are,
things will not stay the way they are.
– Bertold Brecht
Embrace change and the discomfort that comes with it, because before you know it, you will have let them go.