9 Steps to Create Your Best Year Yet:
- Imagine -> Wheel of Life
- Imagine -> Visualization
- The Framework of Change -> The Hero’s Journey
- The Framework of Change -> The Change Cycle
- Plan -> Turtle Steps
- Plan -> Strategy for Obstacles & Setbacks
- Plan -> Reward & Celebration
- Repeat Steps 1 – 8 for any other changes you’d like to make
Step 5: The Framework of Change ->The Change Cycle
One of my mentors is Martha Beck, a Harvard professor turned author and life coach. Her description of how humans change is one of the most impactful and compelling models I have studied. She uses the metaphor of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly to describe this metamorphosis in four phases or squares:
Square One: Death and Rebirth – Change is starting and your old “self” is falling away. The caterpillar begins to create a cocoon around herself and her body begins to dissolve into what Martha calls, “bug soup.” Her cells (imago) are still there but they are evolving into a new creature.
Sadly, I went through two divorces, neither of which I wanted. I was eviscerated both times – my former “self” slowly, painfully dissolved. During this time, I could only focus on each moment. I wanted to crawl in a hole and die from my grief. I didn’t think I would survive the pain, yet, by just putting one foot in front of the other, I survived and eventually thrived, with a new “self.”
Consider a huge change that you went through: new job, new home, a death, birth, job loss, divorce, marriage, etc. Now look at how you felt at the beginning of the change. Most likely, you were confused, overwhelmed, frightened, sad, scared; pick your emotion. Curling up into the fetal position may of been your default. All you wanted was to “get through it” and cocoon/protect yourself as much as you can. That is Square One.
Square Two : Dreaming and Scheming – Once you start having thoughts of a new life, dreams about possibilities, hope has crept in and you are in Square Two. Tuning into your inner self and feeling your way to new blueprint for your life – this is Square Two.
With each of my new “selves” after divorce, I dappled with snippets of a new life: changed my hair, clothing style, began running 10Ks, took ballet, began to redecorate my living space. I now knew I was going to survive and I was beginning to feel whispers of hope amongst all the pain. I was still mourning, but hope was slowly edging itself into my thoughts.
What about your dreams? If you didn’t care what people thought, what would you do? If you were sure that you’d succeed and had no money fears, what would you do? Jot your answers down. When we begin to plan for 2018, you’ll use this list to infuse fresh experiences into your year.
Square Three: The Hero’s Saga – Here is where things get brutally pragmatic. It is the nuts-and-bolts phase of change where you put your wonderful Square Two plan into action and find out it needs tweaking. And you’ll need to try, try, and try again. This part of The Change Cycle is a long, and often frustrating period of trial and error.
With both of my divorce recovery years (yes, YEARS!), I tried and failed many times at creating a life that I loved. I took a job, discovered I hated it so resigned after six months. I dated and failed miserably, discovering that I didn’t like myself, so went into therapy and coaching to get the help I needed. I felt isolated from married friends and my ex’s family and needed to retool my avocational side of my life to build new friends. It was a long, long road to walk (crawl) and it took all the energy I could muster. But, I came out the other side a new person.
Think of a dream you’ve already accomplished. What did you do to achieve it? Was it worth it?
Be ready for this “three steps forward, two steps back” pattern with the changes you want to make in 2018. Surround yourself with support (perfect time for a coach!) and be ready to “pull up your big girl (or boy) panties,” regroup, and push forward. Connecting with a supporting community/friend/coach is key.
Square Four: The Promised Land – You’ll know you’ve arrived in Square Four when your dreams have not only come true but have also demonstrated some staying power. It’s time to slow down. You won’t have to expend nearly as much effort as you did during Square Three.
I knew my “post divorce” life was a good one when I noticed I smiled and laughed more during my days. I began enjoying my activities, job, and friends. I felt energized and resilient. I had survived and made “lemonade out of lemons.”
You have also come through many challenges in your life. How did it feel once your reached The Promised Land? Notice and revel in those feelings. It took a great deal of work to get here. You have arrived.
Next week, I will share a simple way to break down your goals for 2018 into manageable and achievable “turtle steps.” Keep your “dreaming and scheming” list handy!
Go here for Martha’s detailed description: Martha Beck Change Cycle.
CALL TO ACTION – If you would like help reviewing your Hero’s Journey, schedule your complimentary 30-min “Breakthrough Session” here: https://karendarrin.acuityscheduling.com/. There is no pressure and I promise to give you at least one tool to help you on your journey.
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