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The fall season is a time of transformation. Children go back to school, clocks change (sometimes), leaves leap from their branches (in some places), and more of the present year is behind us than ahead of us. As we head into Thanksgiving, followed by the holiday season celebrated in many different ways, and close out the year with New Year’s Eve, now is a good time to take stock. Check out my tips below to create positive, sustainable changes.

Back in 1964, a time of great turmoil in America, Sam Cooke wrote about change in his iconic song, A Change is Gonna Come. It always does. We can attempt to resist it or we can embrace it. Personally, my life has changed so much since being widowed that it’s unrecognizable from the one we were living…and the one we had planned together. While grieving was complicated, the choices I was left with were quite simple – resist the change and suffer or embrace the change and choose a path of growth and transformation.

Over the past several years, even my transformation as a coach has evolved. When I first launched my coaching business, my primary focus was cancer survivors and caregivers. It has been an honor to serve this community as a coach, speaker, blogger, and advocate. Behind the scenes, I’ve done much more coaching healthcare executives, leaders, nurses, surgeons, medical residents, health coaches, and other healthcare professionals. While I continue my role as an advocate, my focus has shifted to helping healthcare professionals and organizations improve patient adherence, patient engagement, and patient support programs through coaching and training.

When change happens suddenly or unexpectedly, for you or the patients you and your organization care for, it can create stress, fear, and feelings of loss. It can be overwhelming. Here are some tips to help you through times of change:

Tip #1 – Change IS Going to Happen. The more we resist it, less we can see the opportunities it can provide for us. We only have two choices when circumstances beyond our control create change in our life – sit down and give up or get up and get going. The sooner you can accept change, the sooner you can create something you never imagined from it. I’m not suggesting this is easy, but for me and my clients it is easier than the alternative of living a life of giving up and giving in.

Acceptance is different than giving in. Gratitude is one of the critical factors that can help you move to acceptance. Even if change has created a loss, we can grieve that loss while being grateful for what we do have. Over time, this helps us to accept what we can’t change and move forward.

Tip #2 – Don’t let grief be the leader. Go through the grieving process that comes with change. It can be a healthy, healing process. Personally, I became stuck deep in my grief. While it took me much longer to work my way through it, I’ve helped clients rebuild their lives and avoid getting stuck by teaching them the process I finally uncovered that helped me rebuild my life. (I now offer an online self-guided course, Grief as a Pathway to Transformation, through Daily Om, a leading online personal development website.) Ask yourself what matters most to you…and how can you bring more of that into your life? What changes do you want to make to turn change or loss into living your values and purpose on a daily basis? For patients who grieve the loss of their health, finding actions they can take that help them to feel more in control gives them a sense of leading in their own lives. If their healthcare professional has recommended physical activity and it’s new to them, they’ll be more successful if they come up with their own plan and align the outcome of improving their wellbeing with something they value, such as spending more time with family and friends.

Tip #3 – Spend Your Moments Wisely. Just like the grains in an hourglass passing through, you only get the moments of your life to live once. Invest in yourself by taking time to be aware of your values and your priorities so you can live a life by design, not default. Who do you want to be spending time with? What do you want to invest your energy in? What actions, experiences, and relationships best support your wellbeing and your longevity so you have as many grains of sand as possible to ‘spend’ during your time here? Take an inventory of where you experience time ‘sucks’ – people, situations, and actions that divert your attention and are not related to your role or your goals. Sometimes, being helpers, we take on things that are not really our responsibility. Some people are masters at passing off their work to others. The more reliable and effective you are, the more likely some may find you a great shortcut to ending their day early. Before you say ‘yes’, consider your role and decide if what you’re being asked to take on falls within your scope of responsibility. We’ll cover more ways to be as effective but more efficient while maintaining good relationships in the coming months.

At heart, I am a disruptor. I invite and support others to disrupt the way they are living so they can be, do, and have more.

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