In my experience I’ve noticed that many people, when faced with the thought of ‘change’ react with feelings of self-doubt and anxiety. In my assessment, this is due to feeling overwhelmed at the thought of having to actually make that shift from the person I am now, to the person I would like to be in the future. Commonly people refer to this perceived inability to shift their circumstance/ the way they perceive their circumstance as being ‘stuck in a rut’
It’s a common misperception that the words ‘transformation’ and ‘change’ are synonymous. In my opinion, there is a clear distinction between the two acts:
- Change implies an immediate step where one moment you’re X and another you’re Y.
- Transformation implies an evolutionary process where adapting to small changes is gradual.
I would like to tackle the two words and perhaps shed some light on how this process (what can be referred to as a shift) can become a reality.
When we consider the word transformation, it presents us with a far easier way to begin shifting by allowing us time to walk along the journey of change at our own pace. This is potentially why transformation is commonly tied to the word ‘process’: a process of transformation.
As in the picture, a caterpillar goes through a process of transformation (stepped biological process: changes) to transform into butterfly. This process if rushed would not result in the caterpillar becoming a butterfly.
We should try to take as many learnings from nature as we can.
In order to change we need:
- To become willing to change: It’s easy to say, ‘I want to get out of this rut and change my life’ but putting in the action (small stepped changes) requires a shift in mindset and a dedication towards the transformation process realising that it requires time.
- Patience and care: become willing to learn along the journey realising that, like the caterpillar and butterfly metamorphosis, we should not rush the process but rather become more astute and compassionate learners about ourselves through it.
- Hold back on self-judgement: acknowledge and accept that challenges will be faced along this journey, and that’s ok, as it’s part of the process of transformation.
- One day at a time: as with the motto in addiction recovery, transformation is a process of consistent daily steps. Embrace each day as a new opportunity.
As human becoming’s* we will find ourselves challenged by situations in life which require us to change either our situations or the way in which we navigate through them in order to begin the process of transformation. A challenge that many of the people I mentor often face, is ‘getting lost in the story’ of the obstacles that face them and losing sight of the fact that the process of transformational change is one of small incremental steps. Transformation is not a destination; it is a continuous process of learning about ourselves; keeping this gentle understanding in mind will assist with anxiety along your journey.
In closing, I appreciate and legitimise that coming face to face with our challenges can be a daunting process, and that change can be uncomfortable. However, when faced with the option of ‘staying stuck in a rut’ or taking small steps of change towards transformation, our challenges can potentially become more manageable.
Questions to ask, should you find yourself wanting to begin to shift towards transformation:
- Am I living in my breakdown (challenges) or am I choosing to explore my future?
Quite often our own assessments of our abilities are based on past experiences. Remember that your past does not define you.
- What new conversations, about transformation and change, can I start having with myself?
Activity: Observe/ Journal your small step (changes) along your transformational journey to track your progress and remember to journal the change and not the breakdown.
*Quote: I am not a human being; I am a human becoming: Og Mandino
* The term ‘stuck in a rut’ stands out for me with the ‘rut’ being the same old pattern/ routine which is hard to break. This applies to all situations in life (thoughts/ behaviour etc). If there is anything that is not serving you in a positive way and you feel unable to change, then, you are stuck in a rut and transformation will not follow.