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Three Steps to Avoid Getting Rung Out During the Change Cycle
By Deni Carruth Everyone has to deal with change at some point. Whether it’s in business, your personal activities, health or even your relationships….change is inevitable. It can be voluntary or involuntary. By choice or by force. Let’s look at some examples: • • • • • • • • Your company is going to downsize. Your family is about to upsize. You’ve been approached to be a business partner. Your private practice could use expansion. Your doctor has advised you to exercise…..or else. You’ve just lost the last 10 lbs. and your extra skin has no place to go. You’d like to experience spiritual growth. You’d like your life to have more abundance and be full-filling.
What about you? Do you try to avoid stagnation? Ever want anything to be better? Would you like more? How about just having things be different. If this is you, then know that for these things to happen….change must occur. Whatever comes to mind, think about where you are now, and what’s about to happen, or what you would like to happen. In any case, there are differences you can see, and changes to be made. Once you accept this fact, if you really want to move forward, the goal then becomes to implement change as trouble free as possible. What’s standing in your way? What’s blocking you? Feel rung out by The Change Cycle? The Change Cycle, a simple model of how people experience change, can literally ring you out if you don’t know what to expect and how to handle it. Anytime there is change in your situation or life, you most likely will go through The Change Cycle at some point during the change process. I’ve seen this happen to both my fitness clients and my life coaching clients. It doesn’t matter if it’s beginning an exercise program, losing the last 10 pounds, beginning a new career, cleaning out the clutter or beginning/ending a relationship. I’ve seen it happen again and again and again.
I’ve also observed my clients being overwhelmed by what’s about to happen, even when it’s exciting! (Hey, I’ve done this myself.) But those who resist change really accomplish little. They live in “settle for” mode, and aren’t very happy. Not the ideal client. But when I have a client that is serious about achievement and I coach them through The Three Steps to Avoid Getting Rung Out During the Change Cycle, the journey is more enjoyable, much more efficient and actually, I believe, the victory much sweeter. Sparked an interest? Great. Want to know more? Excellent. What I’m about to share with you can turn the switch “on” and help you have a positive experience with change. The following illustration will show you how The Change Cycle works.
Stage 1 Denial
State 5 Normalizing
Stage 2 Defense
Stage 4 Adapting
Stage 3 Discarding
In the process of adjustment to new circumstances, environments and relationships, we can identify five stages. The interesting thing here is that at each stage there can be a change in the relationship between your performance (what you do or the outcome), and self-esteem (self-confidence and satisfaction with life, etc.). See if you can notice how this would be. Stage 1 is Denial. When faced with the possibility or certainty of change you may find yourself suddenly expressing value in your present circumstances. Possibly an area you have complained of before. Hmmm. Stage 2 is Defense. When facing new tasks or challenges, you may find yourself defending your existing circumstances as both your performance and selfesteem begin to take a dive. Look out below!
Stage 3 is Discarding. As you begin to release the past and explore the possible future, you may find yourself talking more openly about new things. Your self-esteem will be on an upswing here. Here I come! Stage 4 is Adapting. As you adapt to new things and new ways, new things and new ways will adapt. It all takes work, so expect a period of time where you must put forth some effort to make it all happen. You’ll find yourself testing, working, coping, testing, working, coping. This can and will be a learning experience. Enjoy the ride! Stage 5 is Normalizing. Your new life. Your new lifestyle. Take a look around you. There may be new systems, processes even…a new business venture. You may see that you have new levels, relationships, environments. The “new” has become a habit. The habit has become your (new) normal. Can you see the flow here? Now, if only it would flow easily, but in most cases, it does not. Many times coping with this process of change, The Change Cycle places many great demands on you. What do you need during this process? • support • a sounding board • accountability • focus • mentoring • problem solving • more? Who can you turn to when you get stuck in one of the 5 stages? Who can help you make it through this change to the other side? • a friend • family • therapist • consultant • coach? Sometimes friends and family have biased opinions, and or may not have your best interest at heart. If you seek professional assistance, how do you know who to turn to still? Let’s simplify this and say you want to learn how to ride a bike. You never learned or have forgotten how, and this year, that’s your goal. When it comes to a professional, what is the difference between a therapist, a consultant, and coach? RCI Coach Ken Donaldson, explains it like this:
• • •
“A therapist gives an analysis as to why you can't ride the bike.... The consultant explains to you how the bike works.... The coach, however, runs along side of the bike as you learn how to ride it.”
Which would you choose to help and work with you? Maybe I can help you as your coach. Here are my: Three Steps to Avoid Getting Rung Out During the Change Cycle Step 1: Analyze the gap Here is where Stage 1 of the Change Cycle (Denial) can come into play. As you begin to list the differences between where you are right now and where you want to be "next," those little thoughts of denial creep in. A good one is, “Things aren’t so bad, really.” This might be disguised as “positive thinking” but really it’s a form of denial. You could also experience Stage 2 of the Change Cycle (Defense) as the situation becomes more and more clear. When you begin to come to terms with the changes before you, you may find yourself defending your existing circumstances. “I’ve always done things this way.” Once you have your list of differences, look for one or more major issues and ask yourself, "How do I feel about the changes that will take place over time in these areas?" (What feelings come up for you?) Now is your opportunity to acknowledge the gap and welcome, even embrace change. Don’t laugh. You want to get on the other side, right? This is critical in that you cannot be fearful of the change process. In the end, just know that it's okay to learn from and begin from the point where you are right now. Most coaching begins right here in “analyzing the gap.” This question of “What’s blocking me?” is one that usually cannot be answered on your own. Why? Because Stages 1 and 2, Denial and Defense, are where most people cannot get off the ground. They simply are stuck and they stay stuck. Coaching asks powerful questions that are truthful, in response to you, the client. A coach, remember, is running beside you as you learn about and set out on your journey. Step 2: Plan the route
Breaking the journey into manageable chunks beforehand is the most effective way to get anywhere, right? Begin by making a list of the things that need to be done right now that will implement change. This is a great start. Much of the knowledge and skills necessary to “get the job done” are right inside your head. What can you do yourself? And what you don’t know or possess, decide if you want to learn or delegate. If you choose to learn, where can you go to get more knowledge and skills for the task? Do you need a coach, a trainer or a teacher? Maybe you can use a mentor or simply head out to do some research. What you wish to or can delegate, it’s best to do so early on. Find out who you can delegate to. This can and should be a very exciting part of the journey because sometimes Stage 3 of the Change Cycle (Discarding) will be experienced here. You’ll begin to let go of the past and look forward to your future. As you look at your route, you’ll actually “see” yourself identifying with the changes along the way, and begin to talk openly and constructively about this “new way.” Here coaching utilizes powerful observations that are non-judgmental and without charge. They begin to bridge the gap as you move along and serve as a foundation for your success. Ahhh, the smell of sweet self-esteem flowing back. Step 3: Manage the process Managing literally means, “to bring about success in spite of difficulties.” Managing can be a game of the mind. What mindset will you use to help you see success coming in spite of difficulties? Do you have a backup plan so you can continue to bring about success? How will you acknowledge success milestones along the way? The important thing to do here is to keep linking to the big picture. Don't lose sight of your goal, and by all means, remain accountable and responsible for your actions. Stage 4 of the Change Cycle (Adapting) allows you time and effort to make things work. You might try out new behaviors or relationships. You’ll experience new situations working and/or living to different standards. In reality Stages 3 and 4 of the Change Cycle (Discarding and Adapting) can both be experienced during the managing process. Can you see how? As you continue to “bring about success in spite of difficulties,” you continue to let go of the past and experience new ways.
Coaching utilizes powerful requests to (now) close the gap during Stages 3 and 4. These requests utilize big thinking. You may be asked to step outside of your box, push your envelope a little further, tuck up and stand up a little taller. There is a question that comes to mind right now: "How will you know when it's worth it?" This is something that is difficult for some to understand. If you don't have an idea of when it's worth it, you won't know when you've achieved, nor will you have an appreciation for the process you've just come through. Which bring us to Stage 5 of the Change Cycle (Normalizing).This too, is a part of managing, because you’ve created a new life or lifestyle. You’re working with new systems or processes. There may be new relationships or a new environment. In any case, new things have been tried, modified and accepted along the way, and the “new” becomes part of your “normal” behavior. A big part of coaching is celebrating. Yes! Helping you acknowledge and celebrate milestones, successes, and achievements….your goal. Yes, your coach is still running beside you as you continue to ride with the wind, now blowing that breath of fresh air. In the end, doesn’t change feel good? And isn’t feeling good a part of a good life? I desire that for you. © 2008-2009 Deni Carruth Deni Carruth is the VICTOR Life Coach and Abundant Lifestyle Expert of MasterKeysCoaching. She works closely with serving entrepreneurs who desire to work and live authentically and on purpose. Deni helps them put things into balanced action by discovering their DNA (Divine Natural Assignment™) and transforming limiting beliefs into actions of gratitude. If you have a strong desire to live authentically and on purpose and transform your limiting beliefs during stages of change, click here to receive your FREE 30 minute “Unlock My Potential” consultation ($120 value) and subscription.
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