The Face of Challenge

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” ― JamesBaldwin

I read a story about a family of squirrels. Their residence was a large Oak tree in a forrest. Generations of the family found comfort in being together and doing the work they needed to do for their survival. They gathered acorns and felt protected from any predators that might be lurking. It was their tree, and they were safe.

Some of the squirrels noticed that leaves were beginning to die prematurely. Then branches began to drop off at a rapid rate. They surmised that the tree was dying. Some of the squirrels decided to take a risk, leave the tree in search for safety. The leader of the pact warned against such a change for fear of foxes and bears that would attack them. Slowly, more and more of the squirrels left and were never seen again. This reinforced the leader squirrel that they met with hardship. However, the leader squirrel was becoming frail for the lack of food as he feared his demise.

One day, a few of the squirrels returned to convince the leader to come with them. They found a new tree that was safe. They were thriving on the beauty of the tree with plentiful acorns. This did not convince the leader who said they were meant to stay where they belonged. He would not take the risk. He was trusting that the dying tree would come around. Sadly, the leader squirrel was never seen again.

We are constantly changing and must be prepared to flow with the changes. Look at thriving companies that failed as a result of not keeping up with changes. Remember Blockbuster, Kodak, Xerox, Sears and Poloroid? They are just a few fortune five hundred companies that were iconic with their products, yet did take risks to keep up with change.

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” ~Will Rogers

Techniques to begin the change process: 

1.  Stop underestimating yourself

Playing those negative tapes over and over keep you stuck. The more we listen to ourselves, the more stuck we become. The next time you get in that cycle, simply balance the thoughts. When the negative tape plays, stop it and relive the times you have taken risks and were successful. Play it again. Thin of all the good times. You can do it over and over. Most of our negative thinking comes from a place that hasn’t even happened. We imagine not doing something well and what that might be like. Yet some people are still hanging on, thinking that the risk to change is greater than the risk to stay where they are.

2.  See your self positively doing that you wish to do

Play a positive tape. Remind yourself of the positive outcomes. Imagine having successful outcomes from the risk. See yourself taking that first step. Imagine with all the intensity, using all your senses. See yourself and what you’re wearing, what you hear smell feel and taste. Amplify the feeling of joy and confidence and happiness. Feel it. See what you think about this video for making positive changes: 

3. Healthy reward

Reinforce your efforts. Make a plan. Need reinforcement on the way? Perhaps planning for a reward in itself can be rewarding. The world that we’re living in is constantly changing.

Industries that were thriving just 10-15 years ago are now largely irrelevant.  Book publishers, DVD rental companies and car manufacturers may have been popular a few years ago, but they are hurting now.

Don’t be the squirrel that won’t change. As Ghandi says, “Be the change you wish to see.”

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Carole Stokes-Brewer, PhD, LISW-S