Moving into a New Phase in Life With Courage

Originally published By Mercedes-Benz // She’s Mercedes Lounge (members only) 25. April 2018

Big changes can be a challenge but also tremendous potential for growth - how can we move through them with success and stay sane in the process?

Some of life’s big challenges are forced upon us, others we choose for ourselves. Some knock the breath out of us, others help us to finally breathe. 

We all know that the biggest growth comes from going where the fear is. That’s the theory. We can plan all we like but when we finally take that first step out of our comfort zone into the unknown, it will be our mindset and attitude that will matter more than any other preparation we may have made.

Attitude determines our altitude

It is not for no reason that moving house and getting married are high on the list of the most stressful events even though they former can be exciting and the latter is usually a happy occasion. We are creatures of habit and like getting cozy in our comfort zone and for those who are completely content there and not wondering what if…? - well, there is something to be said for a daily routine and not rocking the boat. But growth and transformation and change for the better do not happen by themselves and if that's what we're after then there is work to be done.

It’s one thing to come to the realisation that one is stuck in the wrong place, job, relationship or that it is time to have a child, start a business, travel the world or give up everything and move to the other side of the planet. Or any other scenario that requires a great amount of courage and effort. It is entirely another to go ahead and move into that space of uncertainty and overcome the fear, even though every fibre of our being says that it is the right thing to do.

It’s that feeling of fear mixed with excitement and joy that tells us where are doing the right thing. If we can learn to accept the fear and focus on the excitement, it will help not to become overwhelmed. Researchers believe that the physical reactions our body experiences when we are anxious are the same as when we are excited and so the antidote to anxiety is of course action but also making ourselves believe that we are excited. Which we should be! 

Know your Why

We generally have a reason why we put ourselves into a position of fear or discomfort. Knowing what we care about and why - and reminding ourselves of it daily - will make the process easier and help us stay on course and fight criticism. While listening to advice is a must in any situation, acting on it is optional. 

Take baby steps

Setting goals is great but keeping them small and manageable will give us a framework to operate in rather than adding to the pressure. Having a plan may give us a sense of calm and being in control but breaking it down into small, actionable tasks will help stay on course when things get rough. It’s like grabbing hold of a branch to to keep the balance while walking a thin line, rather than swinging from tree to tree with a mighty roar.

The key is to keep going, putting one foot in front of the other. It will also help stay flexible when we may have to make adjustments to our plans or timeline as we feel ourselves through the process. 

Find your crew

As with any project in life, we will be better and faster when we have a team we can rely on, both for emotional and practical support. That may be more obvious in cases like starting a new business, less so when we move to another city for example. But any change in life is easier when we can talk to people who either know us well or have experienced a similar situation or are trained to assist. They do not have to be in your neighbourhood - the internet makes it possible to find help in unexpected places and staying in touch has never been easier.

Asking for help does not come naturally to everyone but long-term success almost always depends on it.

Make health a priority

Life is so much easier when we have the physical energy and mental clarity to get us through a challenging phase. Our physical health - which also affects our emotional health - should therefore be something we cherish and look after. While some factors are out of control, making sure we nourish our bodies with enough nutrients and get enough rest and movement should be a no brainer. Finding peace and quiet and the right headspace to make decisions and reflect often comes easier out in nature. We don't have to be a fans of the great outdoors to benefit from the grounding effects of going for a walk or sitting by the water. 

Learn to be ok with discomfort

Learning to live with discomfort on every level will be one of the most useful lessons in life. Discomfort doesn’t kill us and yet it stops us from doing so many things we dream of. If we can endure it for a while and move through it with dignity, so much is to be gained. It’s a skill worth practising and much healthier than complaining about the status quo.

Let’s not forget to look back every now and then and be silently proud of how far we have come.