Change is Inevitable: How Do We Respond to It?
In addition to being a Squarespace web designer, I’m also a published writer and author. (surprise!) Earlier this week, it was announced that the members-only writing website that I belonged to would be closing on February 4th. It came as a blow to the solar plexus and broke my heart.
Not only was it a community of writers from all across the globe who supported and encouraged each other but we had become a family, supporting and encouraging each other through life in general. I’ve made several lifelong friends in this group. Many of us were upset and worried what this means for the future.
To say that this has been a week of adjustment and uncertainty is an understatement. In all my conversations with various friends from the group, including with the one who originally created the website and made the decision to close it, the topic of change came up.
CHANGE IS INEVITABLE
Change is an inevitable part of life. It happens whether we’re ready for it or not. One of the secrets of living successfully is to learn to handle the changes coming our way.
Everyone handles change differently. Some find it easy to go with the flow while others struggle with change immensely. I’m in the middle - it all depends on what kind of change is occurring at the moment. Dealing with change isn’t about the change itself, it’s about your reaction to it. You can choose to stay stuck and flailing with the change or use it as stepping stone (or leap) towards growth.
When I started my Squarespace web design business I was terrified, excited, nervous, and unsure. I had recently accepted a position with a new company that didn’t work out the way I had hoped. Suddenly, I found myself without a job (which considering the alternative of staying at that company, I was okay with not being there). However, this meant no income, no socializing with coworkers, no work, and no purpose. (It’s funny how a job defines so much of who we are...but that’s a topic for another day.) What was I going to do?
I’ve designed websites as a side hustle for years, as well as for companies where I was an employee. It was always a passing whimsical thought that maybe one day I would do it freelance and full time for myself. Being my own boss was always a dream of mine. As my wife and I talked it over, I realized I was at the perfect moment in my life to create my own change. To intentionally “pivot.”
A blog post I read recently by Kim Tackett on her website, was about the idea of “Pivoting” when we are required to rethink a situation. I realized this idea of pivoting is a perfect way to look t change. It’s reframing the idea of change into an action. Pivoting puts us in motion, moving us toward a new transition or development. As Socrates suggested so long ago, we should be actively looking for answers, putting our energy toward building on the new instead of fighting the old.
I, for one, do not plan on giving up to change lying down. I won’t be complacent or relaxed. I won’t let my fear of change and the unknown render me motionless in moving forward. I intend to take action. I plan to push, pivot, prepare, prioritize, proceed, ponder, produce, and persevere.
Which is what I did. I put everything into starting my own Squarespace web design business! Sure I still get scared and nervous - will I get enough clients? Can I really do this? Am I good enough? What if my process isn’t good enough? Will I make any money? Will people really seek me out to help them with their websites? And on it goes. When these questions rear their ugly head, I calmly accept them and then answer them with positive action. How? Because I’m finally doing what I love - technology, creative design, and helping people.
ACT INSTEAD OF REACT
Change is inevitable but change can be a good thing. I promise. It means we are alive and moving forward. We can choose to act, instead of react. To act is choose your behavior based on your own needs and desires. To react is to allow outside influences to choose your behavior for you.
The truth is, we often react without thinking. It’s a gut reaction, often based on fear and insecurities, and it’s not the most rational or appropriate way to act. Responding, on the other hand, is taking the situation in, and deciding the best course of action based on values such as reason, compassion, cooperation, etc.
HOW TO LEARN TO RESPOND TO CHANGE
The main thing to learn is mindfulness and the pause.
Mindfulness means watching ourselves when something happens that might normally upset us or trigger some sort of emotional reaction. Pay close attention to how your mind reacts.
We don’t have to act immediately, just because we have an internal reaction. We can pause, not act, and breathe. We can acknowledge our reaction to act out of fear and our own insecurities, then let it go away. Let it pass through your mind. Sometimes that takes a few seconds, other times it means we should go to a quiet room or place and take some time to ourselves.
When the initial reaction goes away, you can now consider what the most intelligent, compassionate, response might be. We can make informed choices. We can be proactive. We shouldn’t want to be stagnant or set in our ways.
Change means learning, growing, and perhaps achieving something we never thought possible.
Oh, and the writing group? We’ve migrated to a closed Facebook group where we can gather for now to remain in contact until we decide what the next step will be. A stepping stone to the next amazing thing in life.
And the Squarespace Web Design business? Getting bigger and better every day! It was the best “pivot” I could’ve made at that point in my life.
Are you facing change in your life right now? How do you deal with it? Do you choose to act or do you react? Have you pivoted in your life intentionally? If so, how did that go? I’d love to know!