Change is Good
…Your Life depends on it!
By Bud Inzer

Here’s an open secret—change is frightening. We don’t want to feel the sting of it but we want the new possibilities it might bring. Woody Allen tells a joke that speaks of this human dilema: a man speaking to a psychiatrist about his brother says, Doc, my brother’s crazy. He thinks he’s a chicken. Psychiatrist: Well why don’t you turn him in? Man: I would, but I need the eggs. Like the man in the joke, we may want what change could bring but like the brother, fear we need the imaginary eggs!

It’s paradoxical that we find ourselves resisting change when the very lives we live, even our own bodies, are the epitome of change. Every day millions of new cells are formed within us. The stomach lining replaces most of its cells every three days, the pancreas every 24 hours and our white blood cells every ten days. In fact about 50,000 cells have died and been replaced as you are reading this. Everyday is a challenge for us to renew or reinvent ourselves whether it is in our work, our families, our communities and even our bodies.

The human spirit may be resist change yet our very survival requires it. Change is the only way to protect what we care about suggests William Bridges. When we realize that the things we want to protect from change were once themselves produced by change, we can begin to see the bigger picture. Resistance to change typically happens when we perceive a threat to who we are and how we have come to define ourselves—and it appears any time we are confronted with learning, growing or changing. The threat may or may not be real, but it doesn’t matter. We are designed to resist change and despite what you might think, it is a strength we can engage to succeed. Our can-do culture tells us to overcome it with power and determination yet we all know how well that works. Just think about all of your New Years resolutions and dieting efforts! Still, the question remains: How can we be more accepting of it, use it to our advantage.

The key may simply be to accept resistance as an ally rather than as an adversary. It has a real purpose—to keep us safe! Recognizing that it functions as a bodyguard we can begin to see it in a more useful ways. For example, resistance can be seen as a diagnostic tool. When resistance shows up, we immediately know that something isn’t right between our world within and our external world. From this perspective, resistance isn’t necessarily a bad thing but rather a guide—signaling a time for us to reorient ourselves and like surfers, feel our way and make sense as we go.

In times like these, all of us may need a little push toward rekindling who we are and who we will become. Change often makes us feel insecure and uncertain, but without the push to take a risk and make a change, we will never realize even greater gifts that are in store for us. We are prone to sit in the quiet assurance of the eddy rather than venture out into the full force of the current even though that is what is needed if we expect to get anywhere. Perhaps it’s not that we fear risk, but instead, that we fear risking making a mistake, getting life wrong, failing, or find ourselves heading in the wrong direction.

At some time in our lives all of us feel some hesitancy toward embracing a new identity or accepting a new challenge, especially if there is uncertainty as to whether we will survive the change or navigate it with success. After all, no one wants to fail and yet the ability to change course is more important in a quickly changing world than stubborn refusal or over commitment. Just ask a sailor or pilot—they are off course most of the time but arrive in a timely manner.

Resisting change is like resisting the air we breathe. Like the air, change is necessary, and whatever stress change causes must be remembered for what it is - just a temporary condition. Don’t run away from the approaching change, enter it with curiosity, suspend the clarity of the past and let life guide you. In other words, observe, reflect and respond to the naturally occurring opening—even if you aren’t sure if it is the perfect choice. Life will let you know! Charles DuBos may have had it right when he said, “The important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.”

Copyright 2010 by Bud Inzer

Author's Bio: 

Get a Free Copy of "110 Great Tips for Navigating Your Life & Career with Soul at Bud Inzer is a Voice Dialogue facilitator and career coach, with a twist—he specializes in guiding people to discover what they want at a soul level not just what they’ve been socialized to want. He founded Wayfinding Career Services, a private practice in Santa Rosa California to teach people how to navigate their lives and career with soul by trusting their deeper intuition about things.