I don’t know about you, but I despise the phrase ’embrace change’. To me, it sounds like you’re supposed to give an unwanted change a big hug. While the change may eventually turn out OK or even for the better, while I’m going through it the last thing I want to do is be told to hug the change.
As an organizational change manager, I know all too well how people react and behave through change. As a cancer survivor, I also know what it’s like to be faced with a serious disease and have your world turned upside down.
As tomorrow is my 6th anniversary of my cancer diagnosis day, I reflect on what it was like to deal with an unwanted change. Summing it up within a ‘change management model’, I offer to you my own experience. Text book explanations show transitions in at least 3 phases which can have many iterations within these phases. Every change is unique, and every person and how they react is unique.
Looking back, here is how my cancer journey went:
First phase: When the unwanted change hits
Multiple feelings included shock, disbelief, ‘why me?’, tremendous fear, even a bit of numbness where life was happening but I didn’t feel like me. I felt almost like I was an actor in a movie and I had to my part, like the necessity of simple day-to-day things but it felt like I was given someone else’s life.
Second phase: During the personal transition
After living with the news for awhile, I was able to center myself enough to make decisions, seek as much information as I could, and take charge. I didn’t want to feel like a victim and became very self-aware of my thoughts, emotions and the intention I set for how I was going to move forward. Mindfulness and meditation became a reliable friend for me, something I could meet every day and to find some peace. Healing emotionally and physically was my number one project.
Third phase: Creating a new normal
Learning how to reintegrate into regular working life, focus on maintaining my health, regaining self-confidence and discovering my new identity was a major phase for me. Again mindfulness and meditation were the cornerstones of my arrival for a new normal.
Yes, I am one of those people who can look back now and say that my diagnosis turned out to be one of the best things that happened in my life. I have found and am living my purpose, have tremendous respect and gratitude for life itself, and love associating with like-minded people. I’m grateful I was able to find my inner sense of self which made a world of difference to my experience.
If you are going through a big change right now, I hope this may help you in some little way. When you are in the transition state of a change, it absolutely can be daunting and unsettling, but such is life, and the choice is really ours as to how we show up in such times.
Wishing you love and light, and if you wish to discover meditation, I offer some free guided meditation recordings on www.TheCalmMonkey.com.
~Wendy Quan, of The Calm Monkey.