Tips for Overcoming Challenges

Change optimist Ariane de Bonvoisin helps you cope.

by
- Posted on Sep 22, 2009

Author Ariane de Bonvoisin

Some people fear change. Others embrace it.

Now more than ever, it pays to be a resilient person who can easily cope with life-altering challenges.

Meet Ariane de Bonvoisin, author of The First 30 Days: Your Guide to Making Any Change Easier.

With her help, you can learn to chart a course though any life change, no matter how frightening it may seem. Here are her 9 key tips for mastering change:

1. Change your view of change.
De Bonvoisin’s first principle is that people who successfully navigate change have positive beliefs. Meaning that if you believe changes are terrible and difficult, they inevitably will be.

“Change optimists” are people who believe that change is good, and that something exciting awaits on the far side of the transition.

2. Believe that something positive will always come from change.
Though it may not be immediately obvious, even the hardest, most painful changes will eventually bring a gift to your life, says de Bonvoisin.

Become comfortable with the uncertainty that change brings, and stay open to the positive mystery of what’s right around the corner.

3. Exercise your “change muscle.”
Believe that you’re stronger, smarter and more intuitive than you’ve ever been told, and that you’re more resilient and a much more powerful person than you know. Once you accept this, you’ll be able to sail through any change—even the most difficult.

4. Recognize negative emotions and move past them.
Inside all of us are “change demons,” those negative whispers you hear in your head that can destroy hope and dampen self-esteem. If you harness their power, change demons can be transformed into strong positive emotions.

5. The faster you accept change, the less pain and hardship you’ll experience.
When you don’t accept change, you get stuck and resist the forward momentum that’s carrying you to the next phase of your life. The sooner you allow life to carry you along, the better you will feel.

6. Express your feelings clearly and positively.
Change makes many people feel out of control. Help yourself by choosing how you communicate the news of your change to others (and to yourself). Are you communicating only the pain and heartbreak? Or are you reminding your listeners (and yourself) about the bright sides of the change? 

7. Connect to something larger than yourself. 
De Bonvoisin says that, no matter what your spiritual beliefs, when you establish a stronger, deeper relationship with the calm, centered, secure part of you—the real you—you can give your tired, scared mind a rest. Consider prayer, meditation, drawing and painting, listening to music, or writing in a journal. Doing so can help you make sense of what seems like chaos around you.

8. Surround yourself with people who can help you.
Saying three simple words, “I need help,” opens up channels of assistance, says de Bonvoisin.  Assemble a capable team that can help support, inspire and motivate you. Avoid negative thinkers.

9. Fear of making the wrong decision can paralyze you.
Sometimes we’re so fearful of change that we’re not able to take the smart actions that would allow us to successfully manage change.  Remember that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a step.

Jot down the areas of your life that feel out of control and note the things that need tending. Make a to-do list. As you accomplish each step, cross it off your list. It’s amazing how powerful, accomplished and in control this will make you feel.

Did you enjoy this story? Subscribe to Guideposts magazine.

View Comments