Since posting my article on “life after the finish line” lots of people have shared similar stories with me about the challenges and opportunities they have faced after reaching a big life goal. It seems as though whether we like it or not, “finish lines” sneak up on all of us.
With change seemingly inevitable, its pretty clear that how quickly and easily we adapt to change has a huge impact on how we come out on the other side. However, in practice welcoming change is more easily said than done.
For me, life has been full of exciting and sometimes stressful changes, like moving interstate to start my career, moving away from my friends and family and even a stint living in Japan. While I generally took these changes in my stride, change is not just the big “life changing” moments – it also includes smaller changes which have a huge impact on your overall life.
I have been quite open about needing to make some changes recently and how difficult this was at first. Its so easy to make excuses, like being “too busy” to push yourself out of your comfort zone. With that lovely thing called hindsight, I now realise that I was being incredibly stubborn and was going out of my way to avoid making changes in my life. Not a big change in terms of a new job, city, relationship (the things we commonly think of when we talk about change), but a change in attitude and approach to the where my life was heading.
I recently read “Who Moved My Cheese” by Dr Spencer Johnson. With over 24 million copies sold, obviously this short story (it will take an hour to read, max) is on to something.
Everyone knows that not all change is good or even necessary. But in a world that is constantly changing, it is to our advantage to learn how to adapt and enjoy something better.
Who Moved My Cheese is a seemingly simple tale of two mice, and two “little people” living in a maze and looking for cheese to survive. At the start of the story, they are living comfortably with a steady supply of cheese. However, when someone moves their cheese, the mice and the little people exhibit a whole range of different emotions and responses to their lost cheese. While it may seem a little silly, their responses to change are scarily accurate – I know that I saw a lot of myself and my actions in the story, both the good and bad!
While you rush to read this little gem, I thought I would share with you three key messages that I got from reading Who Moved My Cheese. After all, they say a change is as good as a holiday!
- Take a critical look at where you are currently at. Are things getting a bit repetitive? Sometimes it can be hard to identify when we are in a rut. Noticing small changes early will help you adapt to bigger changes to come. I have found that little tweaks have made a huge difference – and probably saved me from a lot of unhappiness and stress in the long run!
- Tackle change head on. If things are getting a bit old, don’t just accept that this is the way that things will be from now on. Be open to change and new opportunities. This doesn’t necessarily mean making radical changes: small changes can often make a huge difference to your perspective. Why not try your own 50 coffees project (see my post on this here!)? Or maybe you need to take a more radical change and have been avoiding it for a while? Its easy to hesitate when you need to make a big decision. Having the guts to make the change will probably bring a huge sense of relief, pride and excitement for what is to come!
- Most importantly, have fun and don’t take yourself too seriously. If its time for a change – take the plunge! But make sure you laugh at yourself along the way. Like it or not, life will be full of change, so you may as well enjoy it.
Without sounding too smug, I am pretty happy with the changes I have made in my life lately. I have started this blog (something I was thinking about doing for a very long time!), met some fantastic new people, and got back in touch with some old friends and mentors. In all honesty, its been stressful and scary, but great fun. And if I ever start to feel like I am stuck or refusing to change again, I will set aside another hour to refresh my memory on why I should be open to moving my cheese.
How have you dealt with change in your life? What would you do differently next time you need to mix things up? I would love to hear your stories and what you have learned. Please comment below or get in touch!