“There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction.”
While going through AssistU’s Virtual Training program, which was 20 intensive weeks requiring commitment and focus, I encountered not just change within myself, but a flood of changes in my life and circumstances. I was married, had a grown daughter who lived out of state, had a full time job, a photography (note card) side business, a house full of pets including one who was 17 years old and in poor health, had an aging parent who needed help getting to appointments and I was preparing for the VTP final exam. That challenging exam was released on a Friday evening and was due early Monday morning. A month before the test, I uncovered some unexpected and hurtful deceptions by my spouse which ultimately led to divorce. A week before the test, a family member (who I would protect with my life) called me to tell me that she was physically attacked when she was left alone on her first day on her new job. The night before the test, another call came from a dear relative about an uncertain living situation. The morning of the test, I had a doctor’s appointment to take care of a scary health issue that I learned about in that same whirlwind month of change. As soon as I left that appointment I raced to a phone to call my family member to find out that they spent the night in their car with all of their belongings and two pets. Later that day the test was released and despite all that had happened in the month leading up to it (and was still happening, and yet to happen), I knew that I could only control what was in front of me and allowing all of these events to distract me from the one thing that was in front of me would have only wasted all those months of work. So I focused. I made sure those I loved were safe and that I had done all that I could. Then I put my blinders on to the outside world and pushed aside my hurts and fears and I looked only at what was in front of me. It paid off, as by keeping my goal in front of me, I passed with flying colors. Five months later, I was laid off from my full time job and the aging cat who had been hanging on so long, passed away the same month that I lost my job.
Some changes we choose (to start a family or a career change), while others we don’t (health issues or a job layoff). Either way, they say the only thing that’s constant is change. While, unfortunately the above examples that happened during a very condensed span of time, were all seemingly negative, not all change is negative. And not all change that is contrary to the way we would have planned it has negative results. What change is, is constant and to be expected. We are ever-evolving beings constantly being refined and polished. And when we’re not changing, the people around us are. Technology changes, our planet is changing. Here where I live in Colorado, our ever-changing weather has earned the phrase “If you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes.” Things change. People change. Just the word “change” evokes strong reactions with people. When fear strikes at the thought of change, it’s because of the perceived pain that might accompany the change; it takes us out of our comfort zone.
While I wouldn’t have chosen to uncover betrayal and go through a divorce, the alternative would have been to live a lie. Happy, but living in an illusion. Change had to happen before more damage was done and so I could eventually heal and move forward. And I knew I wanted to be a Virtual Assistant and had already gone through the Virtual Training Program, so the job layoff became the catalyst for starting my business. If we don’t embrace change, we remain stuck. If we’re not changing, we’re stagnating. We learn, we grow, and we change. And it’s okay. Once I realized that change is constant and not something to resist or be feared, the more I was able to embrace it. . .dare I say, sometimes appreciate it. Change can just be a new door opening to better opportunities. You can still control how you react and the support that you have in place. Change isn’t always something to rebound from, but can be something that propels you to greatness, or at the very least will make you stronger. And since others are going through change, your experiences will better enable you to help them survive their experiences.
Many years ago, a professional coach came into our organization to talk about change because we were going through downsizing and other disruptions. She said something that has always stayed with me. She used the analogy of a trapeze and how the most stressful part of change is when you let go of the first trapeze bar and have yet to grab hold of the new bar swinging toward you. That in-between period of limbo and not knowing what is going to happen next is when we feel our fate is out of our control. But after that brief moment, when we have something new to grab onto, all is well. So if you feel you’re in the midst of change and want to practice embracing it, go to iTunes and download Cha-cha-cha-changes by David Bowie and try to find the positives in where this change is taking you.
For further reading, I recommend the book “Who Moved My Cheese?” which is a very quick read (about 90 pages) about a maze, cheese, and two mice named “Sniff” and “Scurry” and two “little people” named “Hem” and “Haw.” Here’s a summary .
About the Author:
Merri is a Virtual Assistant, AssistU graduate, and an active member of the AssistU community. She is a former AssistU Community Guide and Rocky Mountain Chapter Host and was recognized with the Volunteer of the Year award in 2010. More recently, Merri was nominated by her AssistU community for the 2011 Most Supportive Community Member award. As the founder of Here2Assist, Merri is a business owner and virtual resource who is able to partner with small businesses and entrepreneurs across the world. She steps in to manage the time-consuming back-end and administrative details and collaboratively helps to move her clients forward toward their goals. This allows business owners to step out of the work that previously consumed them, giving the self-employed back the time to pursue their passions and grow their businesses. Merri is a Colorado native, loves digital photography, hiking, nature, rescuing animals and exploring Colorado’s ghost towns and Bed and Breakfasts.
More information about Merri and virtual assistance can be found at https://www.Here2Assist.biz/