To make changes during Stage One:
- Listen to internal nudges, intuitive dreams and inner guidance.
- Pay attention to external signs; what’s life trying to tell you?
- Notice if you’re bored, dissatisfied or settling in any area of life – or if you’re rationalizing discomfort.
Stage 2 – The Stage of “Coming to Terms”
As we enter Stage Two, we can no longer deny that we are unhappy or unfulfilled. We’ve grown tired of complacency – and we’ve grown tired of being tired!
We begin to realize that there is a long-term cost to avoiding the short-term pain associated with change. For instance, by avoiding the short-term pain of leaving a job we dislike, we’re faced with the long-term pain of losing valuable years in exchange for meaningless work. Additionally, to avoid the short-term pain of a romantic break-up, we must endure the long-term pain of an unfulfilling relationship. Regardless of details, the cost of “settling” becomes undeniable during Stage 2.
Once we acknowledge the dismal quality of our current circumstances, we begin to contemplate change, and, just maybe, we come to terms with the fact that we are meant to be happy and fulfilled!
So, instead of putting others first all the time, we start thinking about ourselves, “What do I need in order to be happy?” “What do I want from life?”
As we analyze our lives and reprioritize our needs, suppressed desires and long-lost dreams often begin to re-surface, and unbeknownst to us at the time, one or more of these dreams could hold the blueprint for our intended destiny.
While we can choose to change at any stage and avoid the next, as long as conditions remain manageable, the easiest thing to do is often nothing at all, and when this is the case during Stage Two, we are catapulted into the “deadline stage.”
To make changes during Stage Two:
By approaching your life with complete honesty, ask yourself the following questions:
– What’s not working in my life – and why?
– If there were no conditions, what do I really want to do?
– If I could be anyone, who would I become?
– To have the life I really desire, what changes do I need to make?
– Lastly, if you’re not ready for a big change, a series of small but consistent actions can become significant stepping stones.
Stage 3 – The “Deadline” Stage
During Stage 3, escalating discomfort turns into emotional pain and suffering, and as pain and suffering infiltrates our comfort zone and forces us out, we’re propelled into consciousness – and this is when we begin to really wake-up and pay attention!
Now, without the shield of denial or the need to justify complacency, we are faced with the blatant facts of unfulfilling life circumstances. As we finally see through all the facades, we begin to reorganize our priorities and seriously contemplate options! Clearly, this feels like “do or die!”
Even though we might feel the pressure to make a decision, and we really want to leave an unhappy situation, we might not be prepared to take definitive action, and, as a result, we are pulled in two. In order to reconcile indecision, we might bide our time by setting a deadline for definitive action (ex: leaving a job or relationship). If this is the case, we might choose a designated date that is based on a milestone, such as a graduation or retirement date.
Although we may keep our decision to ourselves, there’s now a foreseeable end to our despair, and whether weeks, months or years away, we feel an immediate sense of relief. Finally, with a light at the end of the tunnel, we’re able to tolerate our remaining time.
However, even though we’ve made the hard choice and committed to a specific deadline, we’ve also given ourselves permission to prolong action and delay change.
While some people use deadlines as springboards into a new life during this stage, others don’t, and as a result, this strategy frequently backfires. You see, as the designated date draws near, all sorts of fears and objections often surface, and although some are logical, many are not.
Once we begin to second guess our decision, the reasons to stay start overshadowing the reasons to go, and if our minds become clouded with doubt, the clarity we once had is virtually lost.
Sadly, we may discover that we are no more prepared now than the day we first made the choice to change, and since we’re back at square one, we may have no idea what to do next! Consequently, that wonderful feeling of initial relief is often replaced by an impending sense of doom.
Although most people never make the connection, internal doubt and uncertainty can manifest as unexpected events that interrupt our departure plans. In other words, when we’re afraid to do something, we might unknowingly manifest plenty of tangible reasons not to do it!
– A time critical project has to be completed.
– The person we are leaving suddenly needs our help.
– A family crisis derails our plans.
– Some type of disability requires assistance.
– Financial issues immobilize our departure.
– An exit strategy falls apart (ex: we lose a new place to live or work).
Once we have a valid excuse to postpone our plans, we may feel a temporary sense of relief. However, if we use excuses to resist change, we naturally attract more excuses, and consequently, we set ourselves up for unnecessary challenges.
Nonetheless, the moment we pass our self-imposed deadline without taking action, we move on to the next stage – and this is when we reach the “tipping point.”
To make changes during Stage Three:
- If you make a deadline for definitive change, make sure that you’ll be ready and able to take action when the date approaches.
- Prepare well in advance; mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, logistically, etc….
- Don’t wait to the last minute to communicate with those involved.