make change happen

How to Make Change Happen

What could I possibly say that the likes of Tony Robbins, John C. Maxwell, or Zig Ziglar haven’t already said?

Well, for those who know me, know that I tend to be feisty in my effort to get people thinking outside of the box, so I’m going to give it a try for you here. Here are some ways to really make a change in your life for the better.

How to Make Change Happen

Accepting change

Despite my timid nature into my early twenties, I happened upon a great group of business mentors who introduced me to a world I never knew existed—a world of thinking outside the box. Raised by an executive, I was no stranger to the understanding that working for yourself instead of someone else was how I could become successful; but did I have the hutzpah to carve the path I wanted for my life? Did I corner my father and ask him to teach me everything he knew so that I could become as successful? No. No, I didn’t. I was too shy to ask.

It wasn’t until I found myself in a crumbling marriage, that I decided to draw a line in the sand. I was a young bride (and mother), so my life skills were a little weak; and my marriage of two years was circling the drain at a rapid pace. I decided to change who I was as a wife. I was a damn good mother, so that was the least of my worries. I needed to give my marriage one last try. I began to feverishly read books like “You Can Be The Wife of a Happy Husband” by Darien B. Cooper, and “Five Love Languages” by Gary D. Chapman.

For one full year, I worked on myself and became the wife I felt I needed to be to make my marriage work. Three years after that, my marriage was still a mess, and I finally realized that it wasn’t due to my failings or lack of effort, but simply because my husband did not have the skills or desire to be a partner.

My efforts were not in vain, because during those four years, I continued to work on myself and become a better person, in general. I would oftentimes have two to four books on the go, and subscribed to a nightly habit of reading for at least thirty minutes before I went to sleep.

Did I have success at that point? No. Not even close.

Knowing not to quit

Marriage number two happened, and I was so optimistic towards its success because I met this man through my business mentors. I felt that our marriage would be bulletproof. He read the same books, and had the same success goals as me…  or so I thought…

Marriage number two taught me a very valuable lesson: Do not run.

I ran into his arms with my eyes wide shut. That marriage lasted almost ten years, and I was a shell of the woman I had spent years becoming. But… But, the misery I lived in inspired me to fight to be who I craved to be.

My epiphany occurred approximately two years before the end of that dreaded union.

Fighting for your right to change

I was studying martial arts, and getting very close to testing for my black belt, when I fell at work and damaged my knee. I had to take a one-year hiatus from martial arts and it devastated me. Approximately six months into my healing, I was given the green light to start moderate exercise again. It was at that time that the hunger inside of me began to build—I wanted to be strong again. I wanted to be fierce. I decided to become known as “That crazy lady who gets up at 4:30 every morning to exercise.”

I wanted to decide who I wanted to be. I didn’t want my husband, my job, or my injury to define me anymore.

At least once, twice, or thrice a week, when my alarm went off, I would lie in bed and argue with myself.

“You need your rest. You worked late last night.”

“You’ve worked so hard this week, you deserve a day off.”

Fortunately for me though, the little angel on my other shoulder was far feistier than the opinionated devil on the other one.

“You might as well get up. You know that you won’t be able to fall asleep again.”

“You can be who you want to be! Are you going to be a failure again, or are you going to be a winner?”

Six days a week, for six months (without exception), I rose at 4:30 and claimed my title as “the crazy lady.” I went on to achieve my black belt, but, more importantly, I regained my self-worth.

My physical regime continued faithfully for almost six years until I was hit with some serious health challenges. Health challenges that knocked me right off my axis. It took over two years for me to get to the other side of those issues but, by then, my habit was broken and life tossed in many other things to keep me distracted and imbalanced. The feeling of self-loathing and shame creeped in subtly—masked by other successes. It was not until recently, that my soul began to scream loud enough for me to hear. That feisty little angel was back on my shoulder, dusting off her wings, and kicking up a fuss. I couldn’t ignore her anymore.

When the nail hurts enough

One of my favorite stories about change goes something like this:

A farmer is sitting on his porch, when a friend stops by to say hello. As they visit, the farmer’s bloodhound repeatedly lets out a mournful howl.

The friend asks, “What’s wrong with yer dog?”

The farmer nonchalantly states, “He’s sittin’ on a nail.”

“Why don’t he just get off it?” asks the friend.

To which the farmer replies, “It ain’t hurtin’ him enough yet.”

I drew a line in the sand and declared this year’s Chinese New Year would be my day to start fresh. It was two weeks away, and I was excited to start fighting back again. I was literally counting down the days. Then it happened…

Nine days prior, I began to feel out of sorts—like I was coming down with something. As I normally do when I feel a bug coming on, I started mega-dosing my supplements and sleeping as much as possible. I was going to kick this bug fast… or so I thought…

Six weeks later, I continue to patiently wait out this virus.

Six weeks later, I am still counting down the days until I can jump back on my treadmill and start taking charge of my health.

Six weeks later, my two dogs faithfully sit by my side, yet I can see the sadness in their eyes as they wonder if we are ever going to chase bunnies again at 4:30 in the morning.

Six weeks later, I have had a lot of time to reflect on my life and goals.

I came to a couple conclusions:

  1. Netflix is addictive
  2. That “crazy woman” is still inside of me

My situation is not unique, and I am not “special” by any means.

Let me clarify that statement with some examples of putting my life into perspective:

  • I had a virus for six weeks versus an old school mate who is wheelchair bound and fighting back from viral meningitis
  • I’ve gained twenty pounds in two years versus my forty year-old colleague who lost her life to Cancer overnight
  • I don’t live in my dream home versus an acquaintance who has lost everything because of expensive medical procedures
  • I don’t have the wealth and success I’d hoped for versus the two thousand people who have recently lost their job at a local company.

Baby steps are the key to change

Anyone who thinks they can cause a monumental shift in their life overnight is going to be sorely disappointed and will surely fail.

Successful change takes:

  • A clear goal
  • Incremental daily steps towards the goal (How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.)
  • Mentorship from individuals who have achieved the type of goal or success that you are striving towards.

However, the most important key to achieving your goal or success is:

A DECISION

Draw the line today and stop getting ready to get ready.

Take your first baby step towards who you choose to become.

Photo credit: Unsplash.com

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