Imagine this: You’re in the midst of a big change, and feel completely overwhelmed. And uncertain. And insecure.
It seems that all at once, all of your deepest fears and insecurities have decided to surface. What do you do? Where do you go?
The answer may be clear to you right now, but many of us, when in the midst of change, run the risk of losing our sense of direction, whether due to insecurities, unexpected detours in our plan, or taking longer than expected to adapt.
Those things which seem clear to us now might be hidden behind a big cloud of fog, because often times when we feel overwhelmed or uncertain, we have a difficult time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, or even recognizing that such a light exists.
When we venture into change, uncertainty is par for the course.
It is natural to feel insecure, because we are learning new ways of being, and must become accustomed to new routines, habits and patterns. As we usually won’t know what those are until we begin creating and or learning them, uncertainty abounds.
This is why it is so important to design our personal plan for support or, what I like to call, our Guide to Solace, before our change begins, whenever possible.
What is a Guide to Solace?
A Guide to Solace is a preventative plan. Something tangible we can go to when we feel at a loss, uncertain about what to do or where to go.
This isn’t only a guide on who to contact when we require a certain type of support, such as when we need someone to lift our spirits, or someone to share with us their observations or guidance. It is also a guide on how to provide the right kind of support to ourselves.
Understanding our moods.
If you’re like me, you require different things for different moods or emotions.
When I feel angry, what I need to feel better is something very different than when I’m feeling nostalgic. Or confused. Or melancholy.
It might seem obvious, but I assure you, there are times when the remedy for what ails us isn’t all that clear.
Sure, there are things I crave when I feel a certain way, but if uncertainty or a sense of overwhelm overlay these different emotions, it is very possible that what otherwise would be a no-brainer, turns into a high stakes shell game of uncertainty.
We feel so much pressure to make a choice, even for what otherwise might seem like simple decisions, that we become stuck within all of the options. Paralyzed.
Recognizing our specific needs for solace.
Now getting stuck in overwhelm is but one of many potential situations we can encounter when adjusting to change, and for some of us, we may never have this sort of experience.
But even when our choices seem clearer, there are likely going to be times when we want to talk to others about what’s going on, and sometimes the people we choose to talk with miss the mark when it comes to providing us the kind of support or encouragement we need.
We might feel super proud of our accomplishments and choose to share those with friends or family who then reply with fear or judgment-based questions or comments.
Probably not what we want or need to hear when what we really want is encouragement and positive reinforcement.
Being conscientious of our needs.
Creating a structured guide to help us as we transition to change can be a great benefit when we've lost sight of one of our most basic emotional needs. Comfort.
Applying what I call the Conscientious Approach to Change, you will become aware of your own specific needs for comfort or solace, then attune to any gaps between what you desire and what will be available as you begin your change.
From there, in the next post, we'll pull everything together into a comprehensive Guide to Solace, and discuss how to go about authenticating it once your own change has begun.
The Guide to Solace is tailored specifically to your needs, which means that you must have a pretty good understanding of what those are.
To do that, observe yourself, your choices and your interactions with others.
To increase awareness of what works, and what doesn’t when you’re in need of solace, pay attention to the different moods you experience.
Sometimes these will show up as clear emotions, such as anger, sadness, joy or happiness. Other times they might be more closely connected to a sensation: Sense of chaos, overwhelm, uncertainty, confidence and so on.
But don’t get hung up on semantics. Rather, pay attention to what you feel, and what you or others do to help you feel better, or what things make you feel worse. Tip: Keep a journal or make a mind map or list (or whatever works for you to record this information).
Here are some examples:
Once you’ve become aware of your needs, it’s time to perform a gap analysis.
Since you are preparing for a change, the analysis will focus on the availability of what you need as you move forward with your change.
If, for example, you are moving to a new city and what helps when you’re feeling isolated is to go to your favorite coffee shop where everyone knows your name, then this would be a likely gap you will need to resolve in the Alignment stage (which you'll find in the next post).
1. Categorize your observations.
While there is no right way to do this, one suggestion includes categorizing your moods, followed by what works or doesn’t work for each of them.
2. Review those activities, behaviors and people who help to improve your mood, and highlight any that won’t be available to you during your change.
3. Review the people with whom you have depended on for comfort.
Make note of those you rely on to lift your spirits, as well as anyone who tends to make you feel worse. Sometimes these can be the same person under different situations.
Pay close attention to those in that group, because we’re going to create a primer for the people you choose to communicate with during your change, and the people who sometimes help and sometimes hinder will likely require the most guidance.
Coming up next - pulling it all together.
This information will be used to put together your preliminary Guide to Solace, which we’ll discuss in greater detail in our next post, so stay tuned!
Remember, I’m creating a PDF version of this completed series, which will also include some bonus material that won’t appear elsewhere. Click below to reserve your copy today.
About the Author
Megan Rounds, Ed.D. is owner and principle perculator of perculcha, llc.
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