Yesterday I wrote about what I believe is the distinction between change and transition. Where we may or may not have a choice about the change, or the event, we do have choices when it comes to our adaptation, or transition to the change. In today's post we'll explore the world of choice in change.
"Where this takes me, there I choose to go. I choose. This I choose to do.” Terry Pratchett
"But I had no choice!"
More and more I hear or read the words "I had no choice" as an explanation for having made a particular choice. I have a problem with that statement and here's why. Even if the choices are limited, the vast majority of the time we do have a choice, we just might not like any of them. To stay or to go is one of those choices. You might not like the current situation, job, relationship, community, etc., but to leave means entering the great unknown, which is uncomfortable because of the uncertainty, and fear and anxiety kick in, making it feel just as inadequate as our current situation.
Years ago I learned a formula for change, perfected by Kathleen Dannemiller, that breaks down the rationale behind such choices: D x V x F > R. Where D = dissatisfaction with the status quo, V = vision for the future, F = first steps toward that vision and R = resistance to change. Its relevance here is that when we have a choice to change, either consciously or subconsciously we first determine whether making that change would result in a better situation than the one in which we'd like to leave and then act (or don't act) accordingly.
When our fears and anxiety about a change are greater than the level of dissatisfaction with the current situation, our vision for the future, and any steps we have already taken towards that future, if any (sometimes we only get to the thinking about the change without taking any action towards it), then we will likely choose to remain in our current situation.
If, however, our level of dissatisfaction, vision for the future and action towards that future are greater than the resistance created by fears, anxieties and uncertainty, then we have a higher likelihood of going for it. Either way, there is a choice. The trick is that once we've made a choice, to fully embrace it. Sure, it might not have been an ideal option, but it's the one we chose, so why not make the most of it?
For tomorrow, choice and transitions.
Sometimes change is imposed, as is often the case with loss of some kind; job, end of relationships, death of a loved one. In these situations, it's true, we have little to no choice in the matter. Regardless of whether there is or is not a choice when it comes to change; however, we always have choices about how we transition. This will be the topic of tomorrow's post.
What about you?
What have you experienced when it comes to choice in change? How do you react when you feel your choices are restricted? Leave a comment below and start the conversation!
About the Author
Megan Rounds, Ed.D. is owner and principle perculator of perculcha, llc.
All Changevolution Change & Vulnerability Choice & Change Finding Solace Internal/External Change Loop Making Change Stick Mindset Preparing For Change Reactions To Change Reflection Shoulds Smooth Transitions Social Side Of Change Time Tips & Tools Uncertainty
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