Have you ever noticed that just when it seems all is quiet, you’ve got a “good handle” on “things,” all of a sudden change comes around? Perhaps it’s a new job or a new realization, a situation that must be adapted to such as a new assignment. We may find ourselves seeking out the change only to find it brings more with it than we initially intended.  Here are some guidelines on how to start the process of adapting to and getting comfortable with change.

There are five stages to change according to the Transtheoretical Model set out by Prochaska and DiClemente, which is a helpful model when beginning to face changes which could be on your horizon. The five stages are:

Precontemplation ~ When you’re not even aware there’s something to change, let alone be ready to make a change!

Contemplation ~ This is where you begin to wonder about making a change and what that could look and feel like.

Preparation ~ Beginning to prepare for change by thinking about it, gathering information on what others have done to make similar changes.

Action ~ Taking the information you’ve gathered and actually taking action oriented steps to carrying them out.

Maintenance ~ Making the ongoing commitment to sustaining the new behaviors.

Now you might be wondering how this relates to change that you take on yourself such as a new job or thinking about changing/expanding your practice. In order to get to a place where you’ve even applied for a new position or are thinking that its time to take on something different for your professional life, you’ve already made a huge amount of progress on this path!

How to get ready? First things first and in this case that means getting comfortable with the notion that situations, people, beliefs can and do change. One aspect of a Thriving Clinician is to have Courage and Conviction ~ one aspect of Courage is to face these changes with as much grace and wisdom as possible. Remember Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote; “Courage is fear that doesn’t overwhelm us.”

Conviction is helpful when facing change as well. The belief that your change is a reflection of your Best Self, your Best Decisions given the information you have to work off of right now. Often we say, “I wish I had known….” The reality is we make the best decisions we can given the information we have at hand; we’ll make different decisions based on new information when that becomes available.

One more guideline for you; give yourself a break. Change is really tough and not always a smooth transition. It’s not uncommon to start on a change and then back away from it while we gather new information, our courage or financial resources. Once the process of change starts its only a matter of time before it becomes a reality.

I sit here a full year after starting a professional certification program that I knew would bring change. Did I know exactly what kind of change? No, not really! But I knew it was time for change! As a result I now have Charter Wellness, a website, blog and newsletter, not to mention really exciting new directions for my work! And I have you! Exciting, motivated, engaged SLPs and other independent clinicians who are looking for the very same changes. Now, how much fun is that?

Wishing you all the best on your journey of change!