I’d like to talk about something that’s often on my mind as I talk with women throughout the week. It’s about how we embrace change in our lives.

If I’ve learned nothing else on my journey, I’ve learned that BIG things happen in life—your company “divorces” you, a loved one passes on, a cheating husband is caught, your spouse becomes disabled—BIG things. Your world as you know it blows up and you lose all sense of well-being. You’re thrown off balance. You get hit upside the head by a curve-ball. Your old dreams are shattered. What do you do next?

These kind of events will likely trigger lots of emotions—fear, anger, blame, grief, and others. When you’re feeling raw and vulnerable, you may also feel insecure, hopeless or scared. You may wonder who you are now that things are changing. You may also think that you’re the only one who ever felt like this. Trust me, you’re not alone by a long shot. Although everyone’s situation is unique, when life turns us upside down, we all go through a similar upheaval and struggle to regain our footing.

 

We call these Life Transitions

Sometimes you can see changes coming and sometimes you’re blind-sided by them. What I know for sure is that they keep coming all life long, whether you want them or not, whether you try to prevent them or not. That’s life. That’s how you learn—about yourself and how you manage through change. It’s how you grow—when you allow yourself to accept things and move forward from there.

I’ve learned that what defines you and makes you unique from the rest of us is how you face these major shifts in your life. Do you tremble at the first sign of change and resist it at all cost? Or, do you wobble at the initial impact, then quickly right yourself and move on with courage? Maybe you welcome the opportunity that change offers you and look for the silver lining every time?

Everyone handles transition differently and, depending on the magnitude of the change, you might tremble at one and welcome another.

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” 

I think C.S. Lewis was right. His words remind me to never lose sight of my dreams, and to set new goals and dream a new dream when life turns my world upside down. Accepting the situation, honoring the emotions and finding ways to move forward, one baby step at a time, is the best way for me to navigate these choppy waters and embrace the change.

 

We’re Not Meant to Do This Alone

No one ever gave out gold stars for getting through life’s toughest moments all by yourself. Yet, many of us have tried.

In my younger days, when the first divorce struck me in the face, I thought no one else would understand how I was feeling or what I was thinking. So, I put on a mask every day pretending I was fine and went about my life—throwing myself into my career to escape what was going on at home. Eventually, I muddled through thinking I got to the other side unscathed. Then, years later, when I knew the second divorce was inevitable, all those emotions I never dealt with, just stuffed down—because I was doing it all by myself—came up from the depths of my being and took me out at the knees. No gold star for me.

 

Lessons I’ve Learned In My Life

As I went through the first life-changing event and survived, then another tough time approached and I applied what I learned from the last, and then yet another rug got pulled out from under me, I learned. I noticed that how I managed through these life events was changing. I was changing. As I got the help I needed, I was creating a path for myself. I was developing a set of tools that would help me as life continued to throw stuff at me. Sometimes I remember I have the tools and I use them, and sometimes I need to be reminded by dear friends and family about the tools in my treasure chest. I no longer try to do this life stuff alone.

I’ve learned that I can create new dreams when things change and the old dreams go “poof.” I believe when we set a firm foundation for those dreams, we can realize them more quickly. I think of it as a three-legged stool on which you can sit and never topple. The first leg is  Values— when you are well grounded in what you value most for your life, your choices become easier. The next leg is  Vision— when you have a detailed roadmap to your future dream, each step has a purpose. And, the last leg is  Passion —when you take passionate and inspired action to make the dream happen, the road may be bumpy and it may take a few twists and turns, but you will enjoy the ride and be focused on your endgame every step of the way.

That’s when you can start to thrive.

I want you to know something. You never have to do it alone. I invite you to reach out if you are feeling like no one else understands what you’re going through. I promise, that’s not true.