Making a change usually means going through a time of transition that can be unsettling and hairy.
It’s like a caterpillar that transitions from its old, leaf-eating self to a flapping butterfly. Sounds great, right? Except that in between, it goes through a chrysalis stage, which may look all neat and tidy on the outside, but if you were to slice it open you would find that our darling caterpillar is reduced nothing more than a pile of goo. Whether it’s moving on after a relationship ends, starting a new career, having a new child, or changing your diet, life transitions can be like that goo.
I have been through my fair share of goo in my life: going to graduate school, moving to Thailand, leaving my fiancé, becoming a coach, and starting my company.
While I look back on these times with fondness and gratitude for where they brought me, they certainly were not always comfortable or fun. In the goo-zone, your old way of doing things doesn’t work anymore, and you haven’t figured out a new way of doing things yet. You feel unsure, incompetent, scared, lost, doubting yourself, overwhelmed, and maybe even wishing you were back in the good ol’ caterpillar days. But not really.
Does this describe you right now, in any area of your life?
If you are serious about change, there seems to be no way of getting around the goo phase, and so a good strategy is to learn how to do it well. Here is my strategy for being a Master of Goo:
1. Accept the goo.
It’s messy and uncomfortable, but that doesn’t make it bad. Appreciate the goo for what it is, and breathe it in. Goo is a unique type of adventure that doesn’t come all that often. Don’t spend your time wishing it away: dive into the goo and accept it.
2. Eat well.
This means different things to different people, but the key idea is to know what foods make you feel good and energetic, and which make you feel moody or sluggish. For me, a big part of eating well means avoiding processed sugar (and the sugar highs and lows associated with it) and drinking enough water. What does eating well mean to you?
3. Get enough sleep.
Many of us either have trouble sleeping because of anxiety, or sleep too much as a way to try to avoid reality. Figure out what it takes to make sure that you get the right amount of sleep, whether it’s making a soothing bedtime routine, having rules around what you do if you wake up in the middle of the night, or getting out of bed at a certain time.
4. Gather your community around you.
You may want to crawl under a rock and figure things out on your own. This is the opposite of what you should do. Your community is a source of strength, ideas, care, perspective, and constructive energy that can help you not only feel better, but also make your goo more productive. Make a commitment to reach out to one person per day to help you navigate your goo.
5. Focus on what you most need
Each morning, I do a mental inventory of how I am feeling, and decide what I most need. Some days, I need to believe in myself. Other days, I need a focused day of work. Some days, I need to put down my anger and forgive someone. Once I have decided what I need, I then spend ten minutes mentally building it. In the case of believing in myself, for example, I give myself a pep talk and think about all of the things I am proud of in my life.
These simple steps have made a world of difference during my times of goo. I know that many of the steps may be obvious, but at the same time, ask yourself how many of these you currently do. We could all probably use some attention to these basic guidelines.
What is your current goo like? What regime will you build for yourself to become a Master of Goo?
Image courtesy of Sid Mosdell