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Coping with change

A practical exercise to help yourself  deal better with change:

I am passionate about supporting women (and their families) as they journey the road from womanhood to motherhood. Undeniably there is a massive amount of growth and change experienced at this time, not only in the physical state of her bulging belly, but of her emotional, psychological and hormonal states also. I find this all fascinating, and most of my friends know, I will invariably refer to birth in my chatter about life as a metaphor for understanding a completely different issue I might be processing. This process of grappling with growth and change within ourselves is unique for each individual yet has a common thread woven throughout humanity. This helps us to see that we are not alone in the struggle to think and feel differently, that change can be made and we can be the better for it in the end.

I have used this simply exercise to raise the awareness of a persons inner knowledge and understanding in order to facilitate their desire to make this transition clearer and more satisfying. I thought this journal could offer you the same opportunity.

Find yourself a quiet moment and a comfortable place, where you have time to think and reflect. As a kind of heading, start by writing down the challenge that you are facing, regarding growth and change in a specific part of your life. If this doesn't come clearly to you then this step can be done later in the exercise.

I can feel so vulnerable in this state of 'change' that focusing on my strengths can be a great support for believing in what I can or have already achieve. Write down a list of your strengths, either as they relate to your issue or elsewhere in your life.

An influencing factor in feeling sure about the choices and directions we can take, are our values. When I am clear about what values are important to me I am more easily able to check that I am aligning my actions to that, and my feeling confirm it. As before, write down a list of your values, either as they relate to your issue or elsewhere in your life.

Some thinkers have summarized this process of growth and change into 6 different categories and I have given a general outline below. Reflect back to your issue at each stage and observe where you might be in this journey. What other thoughts, ideas or truths come to mind?

Loss – identity, fear, paralysis
Doubt – scepticism, resistance
Discomfort – unproductiveness, anxiousness
Discovery – curiosity, exploration
Understanding – new perspectives, awareness
Intergrating – satisfaction, possibilities, generosity

I enjoy dreaming and I get excited about making plans about my future. I reason that if I put my thoughts and energy into that idea then I am more likely to see opportunities around me and within me to actually make it happen. It's a bit like finding out your pregnant and then suddenly you notice every other pregnant woman around you. It is this mindset that makes writing about your future success of your stated 'growth and change' worth doing. Assume there are no barriers and no limitations to your succeeding. Write down what life for you in a 1-3 years time might look like, including your thoughts, feelings, your relationships, what you are doing etc. You may start feeling a touch of excitement inside as you do this part. When I meet with a woman (and her family) as she plans and prepares for the birth of her child, I get excited when I see belief and faith in herself grow. I know that it is this courage to trust the unknown that will increase her confidence in her mothering role.

I like to get a move on and make things happen. I like revelling in process but I need something to come of it. This next step may just happen automatically as you think your stated issue through, but for some it can help to set a structure around it that may help you stay focused on achieving the change. A way to do this is to write a goal for yourself. There is a simple acronym to follow.

S.M.A.R.T.I.E goal:
Specific (Don't let you statement of change be too general)
Measureable (How will you be able to tell that your growth and change has occurred)
Acheivable (Checking that you will be able to fulfil your goal)
Realistic (Make it possible with the resources, skills, energy etc available)
Time dependent (Set a time frame in which this goal will occur)
Inspiring (Your goal is much more enjoyable to work toward when it inspires you)
Exciting (If it gets your energy up you will want to work on your goal)

An easy goal template may look like this:
It is ___________(time) and I have_______________ (the change) and I feel _______.

Now we are getting closer to working on the matter. List 5 big steps (action) to get this goal happening. I really like this part because I am a 'list' person and enjoy the satisfaction of ticking things off as I go along, and then feeling the satisfaction that can bring.

And finally think about which of those steps you can take today.

There are of course many variations on how you can go through this process so this is meant to offer a simple guide. Depending on your time, mood, capacity and desire you can tailor it to suit you. Most of all I hope you get something positive out of it.

This is the result of my doing this exercise when I gave myself about 10 min to complete it. I am sure given a different day and with more time my answers may have been quite different and my self reflection may have focused me elsewhere. We are after all in a continuous motion of growth and change on some level.

Erika Munton

I didn't start with a growth and change statement

Strengths: Organizing, Being happy, Supporting women prepare and give birth, connecting with others, being diplomatic.

Values: Helpfulness, Connection, Efficiency, Enjoying the now, Personal growth

5 years on: (With no barriers are in my way, what's the view of my actions and feelings)
I am clear thinking and more spontaneously creative. I am feeling happy and at peace with my family and friend connections. I am feeling enthusiastic and have success with my business. I enjoy the work I do with my clients.

My goal: (This is where I was better able to define a statement of change for myself)
It is spring 2015 and I am running my 'Parental leave wellness program' at 6 new companies with confidence and success.

My action:

  • Finalize my rebranding and web content for the program
  • Call 10 companies per week
  • Confirm a business mentor/guide
  • Make a date with my partner for the Peninsula hot springs
  • Create a guided meditation for working mothers.

My step for today:
I am going to make myself a cup of tea and call my web designer to get direction on what I have to do next. I will start a spreadsheet to record the companies I will call or have called. I will find out the times the hot springs are open and work out a day to go.


My goal: I am attending 5 Rhythms dance every week and feeling stronger and more at peace with how I feel today.

My actions:

  • Organise my calendar so I have Tues or Thurs night free
  • Find out if a friend would like to come with me
  • Think through what's going to stop me from attending
  • Do yoga in the morning I plan to dance to set my intentions for the day

My step for today:
I am talking to my partner about managing the kids on the nights I want to have for myself and making a plan that will work for all of us.