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Overcoming obstacles to change

We are in a stage of change here at the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals. Our biggest change is that we are no longer hosting our annual Creative Arts Business Summit after next weekend.

It was hard for me to decide to stop doing a successful event. After seven years, I felt rewarded by all the growth I saw in the creatives who had come to CABS, as we call it.

People who were pattern designers opened brick and mortar stores. One person saw her dream of a B&B/Retreat Center come to fruition. Someone created a “million dollar” idea. Many others also realized that they were capable of doing bigger things, and as one attendee said, she was so “much more than a stay at home mom with a hobby.”

People felt their lives were changed both personally and professionally.

But change is inevitable. I did some deep soul searching as I decided to stop the event. I knew I wanted to spread my wings and work on my own art. I knew I still wanted to work with creatives in our Members’ Studio.

The time that I devoted to CABS will find new roots. I’m just not sure yet what they are.

So why is change hard?

It doesn’t matter if the change is big or small, it’s still change. And, it is still hard. Here are some of the reasons my clients, and I, confront most often.

You may like safety, and the status quo is usually safe. You know, why rock the boat if you do not have to. When change happens, whether by choice or not, your known existence becomes unknown, and this can bring up all kinds of fears. What if you fail? What if you won’t know how to handle the change? What if …?

Your peeps often reinforce the status quo. Even when you know you need to make changes, your friends and family reinforce that safety of where you are. They don’t want you to be hurt.

Not only do they want you to stay safe, they are concerned that a change might affect their status quo, too. I see this in my clients whose families are concerned that by their focusing on a new career in the arts, the family gets shortchanged.

Your brains is actually “wired” to reinforce this comfort feeling. This brings up the why change if you don’t have to feelings. This can lead to negative self-talk. Trying to convince yourself why it won’t work. Your brain is helping you to stay in the “safe” position by giving you outs.

You become discouraged by past failures. Not every change you make is successful. Instead of being discouraged, try to look at the past failures as learning experiences. Where did the process break down and how can you make an adjustment if it looks like it will happen again? If you have a guidepost to follow as you change, it helps to keep you in a less risky space.

Dealing with change

If you accept that change is inevitable, how do you deal with it? Here are some ideas to help move you along the process.

Accept the emotions that come up, whether that is fear, sadness, or anger. Emotions are just emotions; they are not good or bad. Just acknowledging them helps you move forward.

Mourn first. Particularly unwanted change brings a sense of loss. Take time to appreciate or celebrate what was before you move on.

Accept that the change will not be perfect. Be flexible with any change. You are likely to encounter missteps, or little failures, as you are making changes.

Look for a support team. This might be someone you share the change with who will hold you accountable for making the change. This might be a group of people who have the “how” for your change. This might be someone who has already made the change you need to make.

Remember to align your change with your mission or purpose, which should be connected to your values. Unless you see a good reason for the change, business or personal, it is not likely you will be successful. If you get discouraged or off-track, go back and reconnect with your values and principles.

Here are some favorite quotes on change:

“And the day came when risk to remain tight in a bu was more painful that the risk it too to blossom.”
Anais Nin

“The only way to make sense of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”
Alan W. Watts

It’s your turn!

What has your experience been with change? Do you relish or hesitate with it? And, how have you handled change in your life and business?



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4 Responses to “Overcoming obstacles to change”

  1. Patty Sawyer said:

    So many people say they look at change as a positive thing, an opportunity. I find that hard to do because of the emotions attached. The one thing I did learn that has been helpful to remember though is this: When change comes, we start out embracing it. Somewhere along that change though, fear and anxiety (sometimes other things like boredom also) set in and we often will do an about face back to what feels safe or comfortable. The real challenge with change is in the perseverance to stick it out to the end. Keep moving forward. Keep aiming for the goal. Don’t give up. Keep struggling all the way through the change…and victory is at the other end. That victory can be in the form of greater accomplishment, satisfaction and confidence. Now, I can embrace change better when I link the word perseverance to change. I automatically think to myself…no revolving! Keep moving! Often when I reach the point of giving up or turning back, that is the exact time when the new opportunity comes.

  2. Joan said:

    Morna your post on”Change” I found to be very inspiring. I am going through several personal changes myself and found your post to be right on target, with regards to it being very hard and very emotional. More like a roller coaster ride. Thank you for your insight on handling changes they were very enlightening.
    Thank you for your reply. Knowing and watching you go through some of the changes and overcoming the challenges has been truly amazing. I am in awe at all you have accomplished. Your thoughts on perseverance are so true. It seems we are always tested when we try to implement change in our life. It is only through our own perseverance that we reach to goal line.

  3. Morna said:

    Patty, you are right. We often get turned back. And, what happens when we turn back is we end up further back than we thought. Remembering that the opportunity is just past that decision to turn back is key.

  4. Morna said:

    Joan, isn’t it wonderful that you’ve got an example to see in Patty. And, yes, like a roller coaster!

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