Change. Transform. Modify. Alter.
All these words are about moving from one “space”- mental, emotional or physical – to another. They all are about a journey – a trip, a movement – that is a constant theme in life.
What is change about?
Change is what we experience as the difference between where we started and where we end up. It is a process which alters something, so that it becomes different. It is also a set of actions- something we do in the process of altering, modifying or transforming one state to another. We can experience this change as an improvement or a breakdown of the status quo, and it can even result in the birth of something new, or the evolution into the next stage of growth. We are always changing- because as we grow and learn, so we change. Literally our biological neuro-pathways in our brains are altered. As long as we are breathing, we are learning and growing, and thus experiencing change. Therefore, with change being the only constant in life- because if we are alive we cannot not change- then the point of power comes from asking the question:
“What direction is the change taking me and what is the quality of the change- will it enhance or undermine my life?”
The benefit of asking such a question is that we can manage the change, and even direct it to our advantage. Those who can see change coming and are able to use its arrival to make better adjustments or manage the bumpy ride more effectively, are the ones who get back onto the road with more ease, grace and speed.
So how can we become a change embracer? By an embracer of change, I am referring to someone who chooses the 4X4 vehicle with power steering and extra absorbent shocks for the trip; Someone who welcomes the movement of life (the speed and condition of the highway) and even relishes in it and looks for it (by choosing a powerful engine); Someone who knows how to manage the stresses and tensions that occur as things shift and evolve (as the scenery and conditions change on the trip); Someone who can sustain and maintain the change by making the destination into the new comfort zone, the new way of living, the new “home”.
A Model for Change
One model (the Axes of Change* Model) gives us four distinct “phases” to look for, with 8 different “gears” to use as we make our way on this trip of change.
The first phase is about checking if we have the energy for the trip. Do we have the petrol to drive our 4X4, that is, the mental, emotional and physical energy to go on the journey? How we check for this is to use the first gear of “vision” to awaken our dream of what the final destination could be like. Then we move to second gear, called “un-vision” to challenge us to notice what we are leaving behind and what that current space means to us. This gives us the pull and push of motivation for the energy (petrol) needed to make the trip.
Once we’re clear on if we have the energy for the trip, we can then move to the gear of “reflection” to expose our reasons and intentions for getting to our destination as well as what might be keeping the breaks on. It exposes if we need to service our car first and what ideas we need to change in order to put our foot on the accelerator to make the trip happen. Then we need to move into fourth gear of “action” to provoke us to decide if we will get into our 4×4 and when, and if there are any things we are waiting on before choosing to go, like having the car serviced.
Now we need to create the trip- to make it real. The fifth gear of “inner maps” creates for us the maps of the route to take, noting any resources or ‘padkos’ (food for the road) we will need, alternative routes, our strategy for making the trip with timings and any passengers or landmarks to help on the way. With our inner map in place, we then shift gears again into our “outer game” gear, to actualise this map into action. Now the rubber hit’s the road! We start moving on our actual journey and put our map to actual use with the real-time behaviour of driving.
4) EXPLORING TO SOLIDIFY
Now the journey is underway, and we move into the gear of “reinforcement” to celebrate the milestones as we pass landmarks and signs that show us we’re getting closer to the destination. We also use the gear of “testing” here to verify that we’re still on our desired route, check if we need to try an alternate route or make any adjustment to our seat position or rear-view mirrors. Once at our destination we use these gears too, to reinforce our destination by celebrating our arrival and noticing what it feels like to arrive, and also how we will stay at our destination. We also test the reality of our new destination, to affirm we’ve got there and explore it, to happily start settling down there. This stage of solidifying is what makes the destination our new “home”. It assists in preventing us from slipping into reverse and reverting back to old ways from the past or returning to the origin of our trip.
As with driving any car, we shift back and forth between gears as we come across obstacles and traffic lights on the way and need to change our direction or speed. Also on our journey of change, we shift back and forth between the gears to get more petrol when we run out of energy (motivation), or re-evaluate our decision to stay on the trip, or make adjustment to our map and turn onto different roads, while all the time checking we’re making progress and celebrating our milestones.
Your Road Trip
To embrace change, all that is needed is to find the motivation to change, make the decision to change, create the change and then solidify it. As you think of the inevitable journey of change that is before you, may you choose to take your 4X4 for a spin, with a full tank of energetic petrol, an updated GPS device with a charming voice for your map, a team of delightful cheerleaders in the back seat, and an exciting way of exploring your destination to make it a sustainable and highly enjoyable achievement.
And may your trip be THE Road Trip of your life!
* The “Axes of Change” model is a revolutionary model that came out of the Cognitive Behavioural Sciences and is (at the time of writing) the only non-therapeutic model of change. It is useful for change embracers who ask for and desire change in that its premises relate to generative change- that is it is about managing and even creating change from a place of growth and self actualisation, and a desire to use talents, knowledge and skills to move to a new level of success and performance (and not out of fear or the recovery from hurts). This model is one of the 7 key models used in Meta-Coaching, the coaching style of Inner Coaching.