We often have the feeling that we are at the foot of a wall. We know we have to find a way to be on the other side, but we don’t even know how to start.
Do we break the wall? Is there a crack? Is there a way around the wall?
Because the path is unknown, there is no map. No one has seen THAT wall before. And even if they have, the number of stories of going “to the other side” are too many for you to find the one that had the exact same circumstances as you and the exact same wall in the exact same manner with the exact same capabilities. Just reading this sentence is overwhelming!
The bottom line is this: Transitions are uncomfortable. But think about this for a minute. If you find yourself at the foot of that wall and there is no deadline to be on the other side, you have a lot less stress trying to climb it. You can take your time. You can try to go around. Find that it’s not possible. Try something else. See if there’s an easy crack in the wall to break it down. See what is easier for you. But if you are pressured by time, trying all those things can become frantic. The risk that you try the “wrong” option first is paralyzing!
So, in other words, it’s easier to get healthier habits BEFORE a heart attack. BEFORE the doctor says: “do this now or you will die”. BEFORE you start fearing you will not see your child walk down the aisle. BEFORE the deadline and its outcome is pressuring you to go on the other side of the wall as quickly as possible with almost no time for experimenting and transitionning.
Let’s go on a little story of PROACTIVE transition. I’m going to take Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Mobile as an example. We can all agree that he is a very successful man even if the entertainment industry has to change at a rapid rate to stay relevant. He has been able to do this so well that is he is not only an icon but his own personal brand stays relevant over time. Not many can say this in this day and age where everyone is very quickly distracted and information is abundant! Stars are rising out of YouTube and falling just as quickly! But Richard Branson stays relevant. He continues to be iconic in a world of very quick changes.
So how is this related to transformation? To standing at the foot of a wall we have to cross? Richard Branson recently predicted that in 30 years the whole world would be forced to eat mostly plant based ( http://vegnews.com/articles/page.do?pageId=9987&catId=1 ). He is looking at environmental factors, sustainability of our food supply, health crisis in the world and he can see that the signs point towards the need to adopt a plant-based lifestyle. This is a change. This is “the other side of the wall” for many people. We have been taught that we need to consume meat and therefore this is definitely a transition for most. What did Richard Branson do? He is controlling the narrative. He is seeing what the easiest paths to this lifestyle are. He has decided to stop eating red meat. This is definitely a change for him. I suspect we will see him slowly but surely move more and more towards that lifestyle. By the time his prediction materializes, he will already be there.
A change that is inevitable can either be forced or controlled
If the current situation has to change, the period of time between the current situation and the inevitable state is the period where a person has the opportunity to plan a transition, try things, adapt. It’s an opportunity for an adjustment period. It’s the opposite of ripping the Band-Aid. During a period of change, this transition and adjustment period can make all the difference in the world
Men like Richard Branson don’t wait to be forced to do things. They plan it carefully and make changes on their own terms. This “controlled” transition is extremely empowering and makes the change an incredible sense of victory! It puts YOU in the driver’s seat. This method allows to significantly reduce the stress of change and make it a much more positive experience.
Control your narrative! For every wall you face, don’t put off getting to the other side. Don’t wait until you lose your control and get pushed (very uncomfortably) to the other side.
Put a plan in place, try things. Make it work. Make it a victory!
Like Richard Branson, by the time the change is forced, you will already be there.