10 Tips To Help You Navigate Change
Change is like rock climbing.
For some, scaling a rock wall is no big deal. It’s a welcome adrenaline rush – something to be relished.
For others, just thinking about rock climbing causes you to break out in a sweat! Rock climbing is something you would avoid at all costs.
Change, like rock climbing, often evokes similar feelings.
Life is not static – it’s perpetually changing. Doing life well entails learning, growing, and skillfully navigating change.
Wherever you are today, that’s ground level, but in front of you is a rock wall of change to climb. Resist the climb and you remain stuck. Yet, initiating the climb requires courage!
Three Essential Elements
To be a successful climber, you need to be mentally, physically, and technically prepared.
And when taking on change, those same three elements are essential.
The beauty of rock climbing is that it develops strong problem-solving skills and encourages creative thinking. Rock climbing also provides a physical outlet, improves concentration, perseverance, focus, confidence, competence, strength, and body awareness. Those are all compelling reasons to begin rock climbing for sure!
I’ll be honest with you – I’ve never attempted rock climbing! I’m not saying I’m unwilling to try, but so far it hasn’t been an activity that I’ve intentionally sought out.
I will tell you that if I did give rock climbing a whirl, it would only happen with serious safety measures in place! And you know what? I’m pretty sure that the more I practiced, the more adventurous I’d become, and the more willing I’d be to take on some slightly bigger risks.
If navigating change feels risky to you, take heart. It does get easier with practice too. Here are a few tips to help you as you set out to scale the wall of change:
Rock climbing is dangerous! Safety is paramount! It’s not the sport to skimp on your equipment! Before you ever set out on a climb, you need a quality helmet, harnesses, ropes, belays. proper shoes, etc. And you need the knowledge to properly use them. And when you’re ready to climb, it’s important to check your equipment and recheck it.
Rock climbing equipment is tangible – items you are able to physically touch and pack in a bag. The equipment for change is intangible, but just as necessary! Before you set out to make a change be sure you have what you need including…
- The Specifics
What exactly do you want to change and how will you know when you’ve arrived? More on this later.
- Know Your WHY?
What makes this change worth pursuing and how will you keep your WHY in front of you?
- Get Comfortable with Feeling Uncomfortable
Venturing into new territory feels strange and there will be a strong urge to return to a more familiar place. Hang tight – over time, change will feel less uncomfortable. And when those funky feelings creep in, pay attention! They are revealing something important to you!
- Choose To Be Consistent & Persistent
Just like climbing a rock wall is challenging, so is change! Don’t give up! Keep at it! It’s worth doing!
- The Specifics
Making a change without the proper equipment in hand before you set out – that’s dangerous!
Before you set out on a climb, you want to know just what you are getting yourself into! With that in mind, you should know what the level of difficulty of the climb before you. In rock climbing, there are referred to as “climbing grades” and according to the Yosemite Decimal System this is what they mean:
- 0 – 5.7 = easy
- 8 – 5.10 = intermediate
- 11 and 5.12 = hard
- 13 – 5.15 = very difficult – only an elite climber would tackle this climb!
As a novice, I’m not going to attempt to try a climb that’s rated a 5.13! That would be crazy. No, I’m going to try a mini climb, probably indoors, for my first go.
If you are new to making changes, it makes sense to start small and not tackle something huge the first time out. Once you’ve successfully made that change, making changes that are a wee bit more challenging are fair game.
3. Pick One!
I don’t have to point out the obvious – it’s impossible to climb more than one rock at a time, but so often people enthusiastically attempt to make a dozen changes simultaneously. That’s a set up for failure! Instead, pick one change, just one, to focus on. I promise you’ll experience greater success and before you know it you’ll be able to tackle the other desired changes.
4. Plan the Route
Before setting out on a climb, it’s important to survey your options and identify a route. The same is true with change. Start with a plan that includes your…
- Target – exactly what you are shooting for and how you will know you’ve hit it. For example, do you need 6 new clients, 42 new donors, $500,000 in revenue, or to arrive at 175 pounds?
- Baby Steps – what daily actions will enable you to get where you want to be? 35 cold calls, 4 fund raisers, exercising for 1 hour 4 times a week, etc.
- Deadline – without a deadline, humans procrastinate.
- Tracking – a way to visibly see the effort you are putting into your baby steps – the fruit will come as a result of your efforts!
- Method of Evaluating – just because you make a plan doesn’t mean it’s in stone. If you are not getting closer to your target, but you are faithfully completing your baby steps, it’s time to evaluate if your baby steps are the best steps to reaching your desired change. It’s OK to switch strategies!
5. Prepare to Fall
Learning to navigate the various holds in rock climbing is tricky. Most likely, you will experience a fall or two in the process – something to be expected! Thankfully, you have the right safety equipment in place.
In the world of change, “falls” often feel like failure – it’s painful, so I get that you want to avoid them at all costs. Yet, falls happen! In fact, you need to expect them. It’s what you learn from those falls that is powerful because failure is a fantastic teacher!
6. Work Your Core
The best climbers intentionally work their core – not just their abs, but also their back, torso, hips and the “peripheral” muscles including the biceps. They know that having a strong core gives them an edge.
Successful people also operate from a strong core. It’s their values that give them an advantage. If you have not identified your Top 5 Core Values now’s the time! Navigating change with your values in mind is that much easier!
7. Lean into Your Strengths
If you are like most people, your legs are much stronger than your arms. If you try to rely on your arms too much when climbing, you’ll be one weary climber!
With that in mind, it makes sense to rely more on your strengths than your weaknesses as you attempt to make changes in your life. What are your strengths?
My Favorite Strengths Book – buy it new so that you get the code for the assessment!
8. Learn to Relax
When tense, you bend your arms and grip harder, taxing your body and using unnecessary energy.
A more relaxed climber relies more on their legs, allowing their arms to remain straighter and tension-free, conserving energy.
Tense, stressed, or anxious? Those are change inhibitors. attempting to make changes from that place is twice as hard! Perhaps, focusing on a change that would enable you to relax a little more might be a great place to start. There may be more than one change that needs to happen to enable you to regularly relax, but remember one change at a time!
9. Keep Your Body Close
When climbing, it’s best to keep your body close to the wall or the rock with your weight on your feet. This frees up your arms to help you climb.
Remaining close to The Rock when making changes – that’s essential too! Lean into God and trust Him to help you!
Trust in the LORD always, for the LORD GOD is the eternal Rock. Isaiah 26:4 (NLT)
10. Hire a Guide
Many rock-climbing newbies work with a qualified guide in the beginning.
Ready to climb the mountain of change personally and/or professionally? Hire a coach! Just like a newbie climber, you don’t know what you don’t know. With a coach, the process is quicker and painful pitfalls are avoided. Plus, you aren’t navigating the unknown alone.
What’s been most challenging for you when navigating change?