Tree change to autumn leaves

Change is all around us. You’ve only got to look at Brexit, the leaves starting to fall off the trees marking the start of Autumn, or for those parents out there, the start of the new school year.

When you try and fight change, you often lose out. Trying to grip on to a way of doing things or a way of thinking; ‘because it’s always been that way’, rather than rethink, reflect and adapt to a different way, can be seen as living in the past. If we accept change is an ongoing part of life, it might help put us more at ease with what comes next. One of my favourite quotes is “live out of your imagination not your history”, (Stephen Covey). This changes your outlook and positioning and rather than looking backwards, you place yourself in the future and create new realities for yourself.

Greek philosopher, Heraclitus of Ephesus famously said “nothing endures but change” or in more modern translations; “there’s nothing permanent except change”. I actually find this rather reassuring. It’s a simple way of acknowledging that our lives are dynamic and that can be quite exciting.

Inhale the future, exhale the past coffee break

Change can be viewed as a sandpit of opportunity. Some sand castles will turn out great when we carefully lift the bucket off; others will crumble immediately despite our best efforts! The exciting part is that some castles may end up merging with a neighbour to make an even larger structure. Something we perhaps could not have imagined in design or scale. It is through trial and error that brand new concepts are born. You can’t always plan for every eventuality, you just have to let things move forward and take their natural course. The world of possibility awaits.

Sandcastle yellow man throwing ball

In my life, I’ve had to deal with a great deal of change and I’ll share more about this as we move on as there’s not enough space here! My coping mechanism when accepting the uncertainty of situations or outcomes, is to reflect on what I can control. What I can control is my mindset. I was about to say my emotional response but let’s face it, we’re all human and sometimes this can take us by surprise!

What I like to do, is sit back and re-ground myself on what’s important. I am fortunate to be happily married with a 2.5 year old daughter and a close family network. Nothing else really matters more than nurturing and enjoying these relationships and trying to be grateful for them every day. So when it comes to mindset, I remind myself to focus on the positives, remind myself that life doesn’t revolve around me and my challenges. There is a bigger picture. I’ll write more about this way of thinking which is called ‘systemic thinking’ because it’s really useful for envisioning the larger system or network in which you sit. There are endless connections and if you look hard enough – up, down and out sideways, you’ll be amazed at the patterns and meaning you can find.

So, I cannot control necessarily the outcome of change, sometimes not even the process. I cannot prevent change from occurring. I can accept change, welcome change and control my response to change by questioning my reaction to it and reminding myself that my mindset is the most powerful tool I have to deal with, and get used to change because - it’s here to stay!

Written by Ethan Salathiel Twitter: @ethansalathiel

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