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Naturally Leaning into Change

Leaning is a big part of riding a motorcycle. When I first learned that you don’t actually turn the handlebars to make a turn but rather lean to make a curve or turn I struggled with that. Conceptually, this made no sense to me and I could not envision how I was supposed to use my entire body to turn a heavy bike without turning the handlebars to make that happen. I spent countless hours sitting on my bike telling myself I could figure this out, then countless more practicing around my neighborhood. Still mentally struggling with how this was possible. One day I just got it. I felt it happen and I knew my mind and body had connected into what it meant to lean into a turn.

I think the same struggle happens when changes happen in our lives. Conceptually we cannot grasp why it’s necessary, why it needs to happen or how we’re supposed to handle it. We struggle to lean into change. It feels counter-intuitive and awkward. I’m just going to go on and say for me it sounds like a lot of work and exhausting too. Even when the change is necessary and we want it doesn’t make it easy sometimes. The hard part is we often don’t get that time to prepare for it either. It just happens and we need to react to it without time to practice, think about it or even figure out how it will work for us or what it all means. Yet, when it’s time to turn or change direction, we have to learn lean into the changes.

It’s fair to say I’m not alone in feeling like change is better when we have control over it, when it’s not forced or sudden. When we feel like it is us who wants that change or needs it to happen then we feel in control of the speed, sharpness, timing and experiences of that change. We can go into the turn more confident that it is right for us and we feel ready for what is ahead. What I have learned in my own journey is if we can find a way the change can work for us we can develop this control. Whether it’s changes at work that out of our control, a personal change we want to make or something else we can always find a way to make it work for us and come out of it better.

My favorite example of this is when there is a major change at work, like your department is restructured and no one knows what is going on or what’s next. It feels terrible to go into work every day wondering what those impacts will mean to your job and what you are accustomed to doing every day, even if you really don’t like it. We really don’t like people messing with our jobs. Work is stressful enough on our body, mind and heart that changes sometimes put us over the time for stress and anxiety. Yet changes happen all the time at work and we are expected to go along with them whether we agree with them or not. It can be very difficult to see even in this situation we do indeed have controls for how that change influences us.

While not easy, it is entirely possible to take changes out of our control and move in grace with them. It starts with knowing our minds are going to automatically jump to telling us it’s impossible, can’t be done, is wrong and doesn’t work for us. That’s exactly where my mind goes, every single time, especially when the change isn’t something I’m driving or knew about ahead of time. That voice inside my head is fear talking. It’s uncertain, I don’t have enough information, I haven’t had time to prepare or work on it and yet it’s happening anyway. The ability to recognize my own insecurity about this change is important for what I do next.

It is so easy to just react to change by saying no. Doing this though is letting the voice in our head put words outward about how we feel in this moment with the change we’re being forced to deal with now. It is natural for us to say no, get mad about it, avoid it, resist and all the anti-change behavior you can think of doing. Sometimes this is warranted and sometimes it isn’t, doesn’t really matter when you’re not comfortable with it, right? Yet when we take that pause from saying no as our first reaction and let our mind settle we can start to see opportunity for how we can rethink what this change will mean to us.