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 [This speech was delivered to Eskom – Kriel Powerstation’s Women during their Women’s Day Celebration on 31 August 2021]

When We Are No Longer Able To Change A Situation, We Are Challenged To Change Ourselves.” – Victor Frankl

There are so many things we change out in the world by changing ourselves from within!

Language is so important when we talk about change. Change starts within, but we need to have a language for who and what we want to become.

There’s this thing called Change Management that you may or may not be familiar with. I have a very limited knowledge of it, but I will speak from the little nuggets I know of it that have been helpful in my life.

Change management is defined as “a systematic approach to dealing with the transition or transformation of an organisation’s goals, processes or technologies. The purpose of change management is to implement strategies for effecting change, controlling change and helping people to adapt to change.”

I like to use real life examples of things to try find solutions in my own world. In this season of my life, I’ve come across the soft side of change management. It is often said that the part that gets tough, but is the most important in Change Management is managing the people. This is often the most challenging and critical component of turning over or transforming an organisation.

An organisation may Embrace, Adopt and Use a technology, but it is pretty pointless if the people do not Embrace, Adopt and Use the technology.

So, here is the reality in my life right now, and I’m sure many of your lives too, I had many plans for 2020 and 2021. I’m a planner.

My 2020 was scoped out by October 2019 and I was ready to hit the ground running in January 2020.

We all know how 2020 turned out.

I think for a while I may have been in some kind of denial and living in a bubble of hope… hoping for the situation to change.

We are told there are two kinds of change – planned change and unplanned change.

The reality is that COVID is probably here to stay.

I was just reading yesterday that there’s a new variant.

Grief is here and palpable around us.

Another thing I know for sure is that “The more you love, the more you will grieve. The question is – can you live with an open heart, even though you know that?” – Steve Biddulph

So it really is time to tap into the soft side of our personal change management and perhaps, just maybe, this unplanned change needs us to start viewing it as new technology or software.

I’m constantly having to ask myself:

Am I ready to Embrace, Adopt and Use these new circumstances we are in to propel myself forward?

Or am I hoping for a higher power to come in and take “this thing” away so we can get back to our regular programming?

The reality is that this change has to be embraced along with whichever other change it brings along with it.

 

Now let’s talk about Embrace:

Here are some questions we need to be asking ourselves:

  1. Before 2020 and the pandemic, how would you have describe how you respond to change?
  2. How do you think you respond to change now?

Prior to 2020, I would’ve answered question 1 with:

I respond well to change. I Work well under pressure.

Post the past almost two years, my response is “well I better turn into a diamond after these past two years!”

Here are the dangers of that disconnect. Though I laugh about it now, from what place does that “I respond well to change” come from?

This is often referred to Misalignment.

I’d like to bring in my lessons from the yoga practice here:

I often always imagine myself being as graceful as some of the yoga teachers I have come across. And the reality is that I am probably not. There are a lot of misalignments I feel I have when practicing. In yoga you are told to go as far as your body can take you and to listen to your body, and when comfortable, try go a little more. Don’t look at the person on the mat next to you – their body is different.

This is kind of expectation versus reality and allowing yourself room to align with the reality. Could we have ever guessed that we’d be in a pandemic and have to adjust to working from home or perhaps even adjusted or altered ways of working? Never! But now that we are in it, it is okay to pause and align.

Check in with your body and how it feels about this change.

Check in with your heart, your emotions and your spirit.

If you are religious or even spiritual, how have you made sense of this and the occurrences.

Have you processed it all so that you align as a human?

It is okay to feel and be emotional. Process your emotions. But don’t become them. Often times, the misalignment is in the inability to really feel what we are going through and embrace it.

Instead we tend to resist, hoping the change will go away.

Rather embrace it, feel it and then let the need to change things go.

Release the need to feel in control.

“Imagine the hours wasted on wondering on what could be. Imagine the hours wasted in sorrow of something that has not happened yet.”

In a car, you know what’s better with a new set of tires? Wheel alignment. It’s often such an inconvenience and such an annoying expense.

But, have you felt how smooth a newly wheel aligned car drives?

As a mom that’s given birth naturally, one of the things that made my birthing journey better was getting a chiropractor to align my back. The feeling of lightness around my pelvic area after the session and feeling of baby release from lodging on my spine was something so minor, but so relieving. But the chiropractor session itself was not the most pleasant… a tad uncomfortable.

The dangers with misalignment is that it keeps us focused on the short term, like a student cramming for a test. The student may or may not pass, but if they do pass, what are the chances that they’ll remember anything beyond that test day?

Embrace the need to pause, align, honour the moment and then move – lighter, honouring your daily practice and appreciating that we are all works in progress, aligning as we go on this journey.

We have not arrived –  in fact no one does. If you arrive, you are probably dead.

This is good for the long term!

 

The second thing is Adopt

It is important to process grief and this immense change, but ensure it does start becoming self-inflicted pain after a while.

I hate to say this, but I have seen too many women feel sorry for themselves, languish and almost want to give up during this time. It’s normal, yes. We are frustrated, yes. But here’s a psychological fact:

Emotional pain lasts for 10 to 20 minutes, anything longer is actually self-inflicted by over thinking, making things worse.

So there’s change. Give yourself time to grieve, cry and feel the emotions of it. But you are not the storm – in your feeling, the storm pass through you, be careful of not becoming the storm itself.

It’s time to adopt some changes in yourself.

Where to now?

Going through therapy?

Speaking to someone or enlisting an accountability partner?

Is it enrolling for digital courses or learning a new skill?

Is it taking a decision to be more present at work?

Is it deciding today you have a new career goal?

Go for it!

Lean into a cycle of continuous learning and enlist a trusted accountability buddy, who you should check in with and ask “what are you seeing that I am perhaps not seeing?”

Perhaps yours is your friend,  sister, or colleague…

In our practices and in being accountability partners with people, we need to be comfortable in silence, respect silence and isolation and respect others’ silence during their change season.

Holding Space

“Holding space” means being physically, mentally, and emotionally present for someone. It means putting your focus on someone to support them as they feel their feelings. An important aspect of holding space is managing judgment while you are present.

Growth Is Not Linear

We must remember that learning and growing isn’t linear.

On the journey of unlearning and relearning, share with someone and allow them to hold you accountable without guilting you.

Share with them how you are trying to adapt to this new change, and let them help if they offer.

Resist the urge to be angry at them when they remind you of your goal. Remind yourself that this is what you need.

 

So we have Embrace and Adopted…

 

And Now We Use

The important thing about using a situation to propel ourselves forward is dropping comparison.

Firstly, stop comparing your life today to what it was yesterday, last year or the year before.

This is the hardest things for me! I can’t stop thinking about how amazing 2019 was and “if only I had just lingered in those moments a little longer.” Comparison will steal your right now. Utter thief of joy and time.

Secondly, we must stop comparing our change and evolution to that of another person.

Understand that your normal and your right now is unique to you!

I can also confidently share with you that in using your now to propel you forward, you are going to do a lot of soul searching and finding of self.

We live in a society and world of social media that does tend to muddy the waters and have us believe that what is someone else’s should surely find me, even when you had no desire or knowledge of that need before you came across it. This is the problem with such high levels of access.

Journaling has often allowed me to declutter and sort through my thoughts in this regard and filter through my own noise and “desires”.

Ask yourself:

What do you want?

Who do you want to become?

What does [insert your name] want to be known for? (This is not a time to get deep or serious. Have fun with this. For example, one of the things that my close friends and family know about me is how funny and goofy I am – I want that to be the memory they have of me.)

What are your hobbies?

What makes you laugh until you cry or fills your stomach with those joyful knots that make your tears well up? When was the last time you felt that?

Do you need to be softer to yourself?

Orrin Wooward says “You must be willing to give up what you are to become what you want to be”

Give us the need to chase and attain in your seasons of change, this will open up your ability to embrace the changes, adopt then and use them in your next season.

Use this time of uncertainty to let go of what you think you are. It’s time to dig deeper. Change is scary, it is inevitable and scary but it is time to Embrace, Adopt and Use.

We can’t wait to host you in our upcoming Art of Balance this October.

I believe that pleasant and happy environments create pleasant and happy people.

The world isn’t a very pleasant and happy place right now, we need to be intentional in creating these spaces within ourselves and in our own homes and private spaces. The operative word here is intentional.

 We have a month long programme that is set to help YOU source your own unique balance and source the way you uniquely would need to fill up within yourself to live a uniquely you life.

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