Change Your Life…Love, or Livelihood
by Suzanne Zoglio, Ph.D.
As a life-balance coach, I’ve witnessed, supported, and written about life changes related to self-management (planning, organizing, budgeting money and time, self-esteem), relationships (setting boundaries, opening the heart, negotiating) and resilience (dealing with loss
of any kind). In actuality, creating change usually involves all three, but there is one common denominator: creativity.
If you don’t like how you feel, you’ve got to create new feelings. That means thinking and behaving differently, so you’ll feel different. If you are feeling nervous, you can shift gears to feeling calm by doing things differently. For instance, let’s say
you identify the frazzled nerves and track their cause to feeling insecure about your job. Because today so many people are feeling insecure about their jobs you might just throw up your hands and say, “That’s life. Nothing I can do about it.” And to some extent, you’d be
right. You probably can’t totally control whether or not your job will be eliminated. However, you can influence the outcome, the consequences, and how you feel…if you are willing to innovate. By that, I mean to think and act creatively. You’ve got to let go of old
assumptions and think outside of the box. New circumstances call for new solutions. If you’ve never been worried about losing your job before, you’ve never had to invent a response. No wonder you’re rattled. Such a new challenge requires a creative response. You can’t just
follow old patterns and think you’ll feel better. Instead, let’s look at what you can do.
Whenever you want to change something about your life, ask yourself four questions:
1. How do I feel?
2. How do I want to feel?
3. What would make me feel more like that?
4. What can I do to increase the chances of that happening?
Let’s say in the tenuous
job/feeling frazzled case above, the person is feeling fearful about not being able to pay the bills. She wants to feel more secure, more in control, and less angry about giving the company years of service only to be abruptly discarded. So, if she sits down and writes a list
of how she’s feeling, we might see “scared to death,” and “mad as hell.” We might also see under how she wants to feel: “confident,” and “valued.” Starting with confidence, what might make her feel more confident? Her list might look like this: boss says my job unlikely to
go; someone else says they’d love to hire me if I’m ever available; a review of resume indicates qualifications in a “back-up” job; learn a hot new system or technology; have three month’s living expenses set aside; have a list of possible roommates should I need them; have a
list of contacts at other companies; know how much my severance package would be; know what my line of credit is; a week-end job option to supplement unemployment; talking to friends that have survived a lay-off; avoiding “panicky” people who fuel “the sky-is-falling”
thinking. Okay…the list could go on, but let’s pick a few responses to question three and apply question four: What can I do to increase the chances of that happening?
If she wants to know if her job is in jeopardy, she could ask – her boss, Human Resources, other respected higher-ups. It seems simple, but asking beats worrying or listening to rumors every time. To get an “I’d love to have you” from someone else she
could subtly show interest in future openings in that department, develop relationships with other departments, work collaboratively with others, and get confidential counsel from Human Resources regarding possible slots for which she might be a fit. She could also let
neighbors and friends know what she’s good at and that she’d appreciate a heads-up if they hear of a related opportunity. Getting “top performer” kudos wouldn’t hurt either…in her company’s newsletter or on her updated resume.
Being prepared for the worst (while working for the best) can also help you feel more confident, so getting the details on her severance package, loan limits, possible part-time salaries, and potential expense sharers can be worth the effort. As is
updating one’s resume, reviewing possible connections, and completing new training.
Even seemingly minor behaviors such as who you have lunch with (positive or negative people); what you say to yourself while showering (I’m a winner; I’ll be fine; I’ll make this work); what you listen to on your morning commute (doomsday talk hosts or
uplifting music?) can raise or lower your confidence.
So, whenever you want to create something new in your life (more energy, more happiness, more love, more security), consider using the 4-F model of how do I feel, how do I want to feel, what would make me feel more like that, and what can I do to
increase the probability of that feeling? It’s a creative process that inspires positive change rather than a passive process that generates fear and a false mindset of “there’s nothing I can do.”
If you want different, you’ve got to think and do different. Change your feelings and you’ll change your life.
© Copyright 2009 Suzanne Zoglio, Ph.D. All rights
Suzanne Zoglio, Ph.D.,
is a life-balance expert, author, and national lecturer. Through her writing, coaching, and seminars, she helps individuals and work teams reach their full potential. With a personal mission to nurture growth, she supports practices that lead to energy, empowerment, and the realization of meaningful goals.
Suzanne’s books include Recharge in Minutes and Create A Life That Tickles Your Soul (Named “Outstanding
Book of the Year” and “Most Life-Changing” in the Independent Publisher Book Awards).
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