Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
It’s the human condition to find comfort. I like to pour a cup of tea, pull a blanket around my shoulders and relax on my comfortable couch. But the truth is that change is always on the horizon, and learning to sense the shift is an important part of growing up. If we can discern the changes coming our way, we can prepare and respond rather than react to the shock of a sudden new reality. There are three ways that change enters our lives; understanding how to embrace it can help us prepare for the road ahead.
Understanding the seasons
We are not set up to love change. I can remember several times when I was snuggled up on the couch with my guide dog, enjoying the fireplace, and there was a knock at my door. Something in me rebelled against getting up from my comfortable spot to meet someone else’s immediate needs. I’ve learned that change doesn’t have to come as a shock; if we take the time to read the patterns, we can sense that something new is on the way. Understanding the seasons is the key to responding rather than reacting.
I have learned to see relationships through every season, wins and losses, peace and conflict, following the threads to the end of the rope if need be. I don’t judge a person on who they are in a rough patch. I’ve had several relationships that spanned years. At the first-year point, I always evaluate the person, who we are together, where they are in life, and what they’re dealing with. I look at what I’m going through and whether we resonate.
The real person never changes: their “stuff,” their self-sabotage or self-centeredness, will come out. In life, so many connections are not permanent bonds, but they are lasting, in spirit, if not in fact. So much of who we are is the part of ourselves we invested in the relationship. But when there’s no more rope to hold onto, we can let go.
Related: 4 Ways Leaders Can Navigate Change and Find the Hidden Opportunities
Finding our place
When I first moved to Los Angeles, I didn’t know much about the difference between the valley experience and beach life. It took a leap of faith to get there, but that move was only the beginning. I lived in thirteen different cities in Los Angeles. Like most newcomers, I initially moved to the more affordable Valley: I tried Cold Water Canyon, Valley Village and Rosita. I was trying to find my place, my neighborhood. Nothing felt right.
One day I decided I wanted to live near the beach, which was expensive, but I found a roommate. It wasn’t the greatest neighborhood. I lived in Venice, Marina Del Ray, then Redondo Beach. It took some time to find the right spot. It turned out that Huntington Beach was for me. As I moved, I discovered more of who I was and where I fit into California life: Venice was too hippy; Santa Monica was lovely but not quite right. Some beaches were congested, others a concrete jungle. I settled on Huntington Beach because it had a hometown feel. There were parades, fireworks and fun. All ages were welcome. I kept evolving through several pivots, and that’s okay. I kept going until I found my way home.
Related: Embracing Change and Failure to Succeed in Business
Embracing our time
I graduated with a degree in broadcasting and psychology from the University of Oregon in 1998. I had worked production on shows such as Good Morning, America and Entertainment Tonight, but I had never had my own show. When Living Full Out, Inc. was created in 2008, we started with coaching and speaking. I had just received my life coach certificate when a program director from KFWB in Los Angeles called me. The station was looking to change the format from sports to motivation. They had Les Brown doing a show for the weekday slot, and they wanted me to do a weekend show. The program director had heard about me through the Life-Coaching school – iPEC — the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching. The radio executives sensed the winds had shifted, and they needed to make a change. Their decision altered the course of my career, but I had to recognize the shift in my own atmosphere and seize the moment.
It was the first incarnation of what is now the national Living Full Out Radio Show. It didn’t come without cost — a thousand dollars to be on the air. I found two sponsors to pay the bill, leaning on the companies whose services and products I had used for my visual impairment. I’ll never forget sitting in the executive chair with the boom mic in front of me, hearing the well-produced intro with music leading up to the show and the announcer’s voice saying, “Here’s Nancy.”
It’s our human nature to resist change, but it’s important to have “pivoting” in our toolkit as a way of embracing the shifts that come with life. If we can understand the need for exploration and discovery through change, discern the seasons, and seize the day, we can live a fulfilling life in which we can be wholly ourselves. The hardest part of embracing change is overcoming our fears. When we silence the “What-ifs” and fine-tune our decision-making process, who knows what opportunities lie around the corner?