Wednesday, March 22, 2006


How do you deal with change? Does it scare you? Excite you? Do you fight it or go with it?

I ask because someone I know may be about to have an upheaval in her life. And it’s scary—for her and for those who care about her. Now it may not happen. At this point there are only rumors. But it still has an emotional impact—waiting to find out isn’t easy.

She’s got some good things going for her. She’s young. She’s got great academic and real world credentials. She loves challenges. She doesn’t have anything that requires her to stay where she is.

Those are assets unique to her. I think it’s useful, though, to look also at some things that she has going for her that all of us could think about.

1) She doesn’t carry much debt. She makes a real effort to pay off her credit cards in full every month and to save as much as she can. She defers purchases until after she’s put money into savings and she knows that she also has enough to pay cash. If she can’t afford it, she doesn’t buy it.
2) She stays in touch with friends and family all over the country and she keeps an eye on what’s going on in her field.
3) She is constantly choosing to learn new things and actively seeks out such opportunities.
4) She’s willing to let her support system know what’s going on.
5) She can look at the situation and see that panic won’t accomplish anything. She will defer some purchases and map out a financial strategy—just in case. She won’t allow herself to get caught up in nightmare imaginings.
6) She can look at the situation and ask herself: What good could come out of this?

This last one is the most important. There is real power in asking oneself, in the middle of any difficult situation: What good could come out of this?

Asking that question is important and powerful on many levels. By changing our focus, it reduces the level of panic. That lets our brains function better and we are more likely to see possible solutions to our situation. Those possibilities may lead to good—for us and for others. We may find ourselves with opportunities we would not otherwise have thought of or had the courage to reach for—if it had not been for whatever seems to be a disaster right now.

Change is inevitable. We can’t always control what happens to us—no matter how we live our lives. We can, however, choose how we will face those challenges.

How do you face change?