Earlier this week we considered two scenarios; one, where a change became a disruptor to daily life, the other where daily life invaded the transition to change.
Today we’re going to dig into both situations to uncover some of possible reasons each spiraled out of control. Tomorrow we’ll look into some ways the intensity of each situation could have been minimized, and how to relate these lessons to your life and associated changes.
You may recall that Deric, a professional in his second year of his Master’s program, was informed that he needed to change his ways by partaking in a specific diet and exercise regime.
Jodi, an independent consultant and a new mom, encountered several changes prior to the birth of her child that prevented her from working on a more thorough transition plan beyond the must-dos. As a result, she quickly burned out and became ill.
These scenarios have several similarities and differences. Let’s take a look at the differences first:
A tale of two changes: What's the difference?
Sense of urgency.
Deric’s change came as a surprise. Because it was a directive from his doctor, he likely believed he had to implement all of the changes at once.
Jodi, on the other hand, had around 9 months to prepare for her change. She had every intention of spending more time on her transition, but interference from other aspects of her life came into play and, because of this, she wasn’t able to learn as much about the parenting part as she would have liked.
Because there was so much time between learning about the change and when it actually occurred, Jodi’s sense of urgency was initially low. When she felt more pressure to learn about the change, other priorities had already filled her time.
Both Deric and Jodi had a choice regarding their change, but it is unlikely that either recognized it.
It is likely, though, that Jodi wanted this change, whether now or at some point in the future. Deric, on the other hand, probably wasn’t asking for this particular change, even if he thought about eating healthier and/or exercising.
Even though both had buy-in to their change, Deric’s was much more fragile than Jodi’s. Additionally, unlike Deric, who could decide to return to his ‘old life’, this wasn’t a choice afforded to Jodi.
A tale of two changes: How are they alike?
Transition time & ease of transition.
Even though the circumstances were different, neither Deric nor Jodi experienced much of a transition to their respective change. They also both had rocky experiences in their attempts to adapt.
Rose colored glasses.
Both Deric and Jodi had a tendency to idealize their change.
For Deric, he over-simplified in his mind the amount of effort and disruption a new exercise and food regiment would have on his other responsibilities. He also didn’t recognize how these things might contribute to his energy level. It was his lack of energy that, in part, contributed to his giving up on both the diet and the exercise.
Jodi focused on the excitement of being a new mother, but didn’t fully understand the time and energy demands that would be placed on her when also trying to complete commitments to her clients. She also didn’t consider how motherhood would interfere with her consulting work, or how her husband’s heavy travel schedule following his leave would impact her daily routine.
Exclusive focus on the overt.
Both Jodi and Deric focused on the tangible, or overt, aspects of their change - the stuff they could see - without giving any real thought to their less obvious internal connection and how they identified with their respective change.
The pair also both had limiting beliefs, of which they were likely unaware, and those beliefs likely contributed to their difficulty adapting to their change.
Deric’s limiting beliefs focused on failure. He believed that by giving up on his diet and exercise program that it equated to his being a failure as a person.
Often times, it is our fear of failure that contributes to a high need to achieve, and Deric was proud of his achievements and was working toward another one when his change was introduced.
It is possible that his drive to achieve and his fear of failure contributed to his biting off more than he could chew (couldn't resist the pun), and to his sense of overwhelm when his diet proved to be too much for him to handle. This could also have contributed to some blind spots Deric experienced with regards to the simplicity of his change - of course he can do it, he never fails.
Jodi’s limiting beliefs that a good mom does everything herself and that asking for help is a weakness, ultimately contributed to her health issues to the point where her husband had to arrange for help without her consent. This then led to her becoming debilitated to the point where she couldn't to do anything on her own.
If Jodi isn’t able to recognize and address the contributing factors to her difficult experiences, the result will probably be self-image issues, embarrassment, confusion and distress in the future, because she, too, is used to succeeding.
Is lack of awareness a set-up to fail?
All of these similarities and differences were the result of a lack of intention during change. There was a general absence of awareness that led to over-idealizing and/or simplifying the change and the effects it would have on Deric’s and Jodi’s lifestyles.
Ill prepared for those changes, and driven by unconscious beliefs, Deric and Jodi were set up to fail. In Deric’s case, failure meant giving up on his health, and in Jodi’s case, failure meant a major health issue. Both also suffered hits to their pride as well.
Both of these situations were preventable, however, and tomorrow we’ll explore some ways these turbulent transitions could have been made smoother, which can also be applied to your own change efforts.
Share your experiences.
In the mean time, what, if any, tendencies exhibited by Deric or Jodi resonate with you?
I personally have what my husband like’s to refer to as “Clark Griswold syndrome”, which is another way to refer to my tendency to over-idealize. It sometimes shows up in hilarious ways, but I also have to consciously temper it to avoid blind spots that can lead to disappointment and turmoil.
How about you? Please share your experiences and let’s have a conversation!
About the Author
Megan Rounds, Ed.D. is owner and principle perculator of perculcha, llc.
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