In this episode, I talk about what change is and why it can be so stressful for many people. I talk about the different stages of changes and offer four broad strategies for coping and navigating any major life and career change.
Imagine feeling courageous and hopeful about the future even in uncertain times. Imagine finding purpose and meaning after a major life change. Change can be hard, but it is also an opportunity for growth and self reflection. Whether the change is chosen or not, we always get to write our own story and decide how we choose to respond to change. Welcome to the made for change podcast with Dr. Janny Chang, certified life coach and master of self reinventions and change, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, you will face major life changes and reemerge confident and courageous and ready to embark on the next chapter of your life. Now, let's get started.
This is episode one of the made for change podcast, formerly known as the unleash your inner power podcast with Dr. Janny. Chang. Hi, Friends, this is Janny, your certified life coach, I have rebranded my podcast, and also just my coaching niche. And what I want to do is help women who are navigating a change in their lives or career, or who are at the crossroads, deciding to make a change in their life or career, find meaning and purpose, resilience and joy in their lives. So if you're interested in working with me, please do email me. And DM me, I have a lot of exciting content coming. I plan to do a lot of free workshops and webinars this year, I'm super excited. And I do want to say that my unleash your inner power, content is not going away. I am still you know very much a proponent of confidence and finding self worth through internal means and not just externally. And I'm still using the model, I'm still using thought work. And so that undercurrent of tapping into your inner power is still there and helping women who want to create life on their own terms that's still there. And the only difference is that I'm focusing on women who are going through some major life change. Okay. So today, I wanted to kick off the talking about change. What is change, change or transitions can be difficult for people, even if it's something we choose, like a job we've left, or a career we've chosen, or a geographic move, the uncertainty of what the future brings, and leaving behind what was certain can bring stress to our lives. Let's just think about what happened with a pandemic. I remember in March 2020, when in my life, at least we knew that things would not be the same again. You know, at least for a long while. My job had changed. We were doing remote work that suddenly shifted. My sons and my daughters, preschools and daycares were starting to shut down, at least temporarily. Right? And so, and even now to this day, right, I think there is the sense that we want to return to normalcy or what life was like before the pandemic. But it doesn't seem that that's possible. Right. So this this major change has happened to all of us. In the meantime, people are still going through regular life transitions, divorce, death of loved ones, forced retirements, empty nesters, life transitions, don't stop and they can cause people to suffer. psychologist William Bridges has identified three stages of change. And this is just I think it's very similar to when we talk about stages of grief or anytime we talk about stages is that it may not be linear. And we can experience all these stages all in one day or all at once. So it's just a framework, but it may be different for each person right so something to really keep in mind. The first stage is is what he calls fall transition a time to break old patterns. Okay, so he kind of models that off the seasons of the year. We say goodbye to what we know familiar people People and routines, right in the second stage is the winter transition. And that brings emptiness and confusion and uncertainty.
This is the liminal stage, which is where we're not quite departed from the old. But we're also not yet connected to the new. The third stage is spring. And that's when we've let go of the old situation, relationship or identity and created a new beginning for ourselves. The stages aren't linear. And, as I mentioned, in any transition, we may experience all of these at once, right. And so, a good example of this is when I became a parent, for the first time, I wavered between all three stages in the beginning, you know, you have this baby in front of you who needs you. So it's like, you know, the older you is gone, right. But you find glimpses, glimpses here and there of that person. So I'd hear a song, remember who I was before I became a mom. And then I hear the baby crying, go into mom mode. And then a few hours later, I feel uncertain and confused and scared about whether what I was doing was right, or being a good mom, and what was I doing? I had all these doubts, right. And then an hour later, I feel like, Oh, yes, this is who I am. Now, I am a mom. That's all in a day, right? I can always cycle through the transitions, all in one day. And I would say that even to this day, I know that the changes been made, like I am now identified as a mom now of two kids. But I still sometimes go through the liminal stage. Right. As my kids get older, I'm starting to get stronger glimpses of who I was before I had my kids. But at the same time, I also know that I'm a very different person. Now, in terms of my identity, as a mother, as a parent, and how I'm being responsible for these two beings. The point of this illustration is just to show that the stages, you know, are by no means linear or discrete, they could be muddled and messy, just like in life.
But it's important to recognize that all transitions have these elements of feeling confused and uncertain. And being in a liminal state, and then reaching a point where we feel comfortable in our new identity. And then maybe going back to the liminal state, right and feeling confused, again, you know, in this new chapter in our lives, but we get to write our own story. So that when confusion and anxiety and stress continue to linger, you know, they go on long after the change has taken place, we can find ways to take control of our story, and get more comfortable with the transition. Now, I'm going to offer four broad ways that we can do this with any transition our lives, and these are broad strokes. So recognize that, you know, if it's a major life change that involves trauma, that, you know, you should probably seek therapy, okay.
And if you also, if it's a major life change, that involves a goal you're trying to meet, you know, and you're already at the minimum baseline, then, you know, find a coach, right to help you. Okay, and this would all be customized, it would be tailored to your particular situation in your life, what I'm offering is just very broad strokes. And again, they're just more like frameworks that you can reference and think about, but whether they totally 100% apply to your life, that that may differ from person to person, right? And depending on the particular change, and the gravity of the change, how long the changes how traumatic the changes, right, in my coaching practice, I, you know, I'm very proud to be trauma informed. And I continually do a lot of research and read up and, you know, get certificates on trauma and being trauma informed. But it's something to be to be aware of, right. But at the same time, I do know that everyone's transitions can be very different in your lives. So you can take these broad strokes, and you can do what you will with them, whether it's applicable, or you want to take bits and pieces to apply. Or, or simply just listen and, and kind of take them at face value, but not necessarily. You know, apply them to your life, right. So it's totally up to you. Alright, so the four broad ways that, that I think that we can apply
these strategies to any transition our lives that can serve have us and help us be the author of our own stories. The first one is being aware of our thoughts and stories, right? So we have a lot of thoughts about what's happened about this change. And not all those thoughts are true. Some of those thoughts carry shame, some carry blame, right, we can learn to separate the thoughts from the facts and the stories, we've told ourselves from time to time, I would write all of it down, you know, a sheet and a paper separated into two columns, thoughts and facts, you can write down all the thoughts, and then write out in the second column, the ones that are actual facts, and what's factual, or what's proven in the court of what can be proven in the court of law. And so say, you've been fired. And your thought is, I can't believe I got fired, I totally messed up. I'm a horrible person, I'm horrible work worker, I will ever find another job. Right, I always lose jobs, will the only fact in any of these statements that I just told you is that you've been fired? That's it. That's the only fact The rest are thoughts. And if they're firm thoughts, there, then consider beliefs. And then stories, write really strong beliefs over time, or consider stories that you've told about yourself told you about yourself? Right? So the statement, I always lose jobs seems like a strong thought that could be part of a story that you might have told yourself for a while, right. But when you examine it, you can see that that's not factual, right, that's just a thought, right. And so I would definitely write everything down pertaining to the major life change, or what's happened to you. And you separate out the thoughts, or the beliefs or stories from the actual facts, okay, becoming aware of our own thoughts and recognizing that we have 1000s of them a day. And we shouldn't believe all of them will help us go a long way in navigating any life transition. The second sprawled strategy I have for dealing with any life transition, is allowing ourselves to feel and process our emotions. Now, if you've heard my previous podcasts, you know that this is one of my big areas, is to allow ourselves to feel, and we have this this statement that we seem to coaching, which is that life is 5050, what it means is that no matter where you are, how you know how much money you've made, or how quote unquote, successful you are, whatever we are, we all have a human brain, and we all are going through life, right. And as the Buddhists say, life has suffering. And what we see in coaching is that life is 5050, because 50% of the time, we have negative emotions, 50% of the time, we have positive emotions. And that's just a shorthand, it could be 6040 8020. The point is, is that there's no person who is just 100% feeling positive emotions all the time. And why is that because we have a human brain that we're dealing with, we all share this human brain. And we're living through life, right? So it's so important to allow ourselves to feel and process our emotions. And I'll talk about this later on, and then later podcasts. But you know, when we don't process our emotions, they can get stored and lodged in our body. And that can be a stress point. Okay? And, and that's where you can carry that emotion even though you think, Oh, I'm over it.
But if you don't allow yourself to feel and process it, it will come back to you in other ways and manifests in other ways, whether it's through a knot in your back, or you know, for some myself, I carried in my job, for instance, I carry stress and negative emotions in my job. Or it can come up in other ways, right? Like how you're treating people, or also in your own experience of daily life, right? Are you enjoying your experience? Are you feeling worthy and loving yourself? Right? And it could be that if you don't, you have some residue of unprocessed emotions from a previous event in your life, right? And the way you allow yourself to feel and process your emotions is to just take some breaths. Inhale through your nose, exhale through your mouth, just as in yoga.
And you do a scan through your body from head to toe to feel what you're feeling, allow yourself to feel what you're feeling. And then name it, name it. And if you can't name it, like, you can't tell, if you're feeling angry, or anxious or sad, you can even just start by describing and by either writing it out or telling someone what that feeling feels like in your body, right. So like, if you can't name sadness, but you might be able to describe a heaviness in your chest, or soaking, you know, your posture goes down, right, or you feeling kind of cold in your, you know, hand and in feet, right and just heavy, right? So you can describe these things. And identifying that is a major step to allow yourself to feel, and then to process it. Okay. And I also tell you, what was so helpful to, is to work with a life coach like myself, to help you process your emotion. For some people were very cerebral, and I work with a lot of cerebral clients were very intellectual. And in their heads, they might be able to identify emotions, and they can, you know, breathe through it, and talk about it, but they're still very stuck in their heads. And so what I do, and I recommend to process the emotion, and to truly feel it, is to watch a sad movie and just cry your heart out, cry your heart out, that's part of processing emotions, and also releasing the stress cycle, you know, a lot of our stress cycles are not able to be released or ended, you know, throughout the day, and, you know, fight or flight used to be will take care of that, right, you could, you could flee somewhere, if you if we were truly in danger, and then we would be able to complete the stress cycle. But now, with modern society, you know, we just sit there, we're sedentary, we might go for a stroll, but doesn't necessarily complete the stress cycle. So when you are able to process your emotions, and just let yourself feel them and also just let the move through your body because emotions are just what they are, don't even judge them. They are just sensations, vibrations that are in your body. Okay? And if you find it hard, if you find it hard to process it, you know, I like I said, just, you know, listen to some music or watch a movie where you are just releasing, crying, something you know, where you are releasing that emotion.
Okay. Alright, the third strategy that I have to offer a third kind of broad stroke strategy for navigating change in our lives, is creating a ritual in your everyday life. Rituals help as an anthropologist, I love rituals, right? Okay. You know, we study them a lot with different cultures. And all cultures have rituals. Rituals can, you know help you overcome the grief that comes with change, by offering a sense of control in your life, when it feels chaotic, or confusing, right, the rituals are deliberate. And they also could be private. Okay, it could be that you've lost your job. And you're grieving that sense of identity you had, the ritual can be simply going to the park bench, where you used to eat your lunch every day at work. And so you go, you let yourself go once a week, you create this ritual, you go to that park bench once a week, and you eat there and you just allow yourself to feel sad about losing that job. Right?
You take your time, rituals also allow us to truly grieve, who we were, you know, this other chapter in our lives, right? It gives us that space and that time, so we don't feel pressured to just quickly move on. Right? You know, if you recently went through a bad breakup, you could create a ritual with your friends, where you put the photos that you know, were most meaningful in your relationship into a collage, you know, you write a poem about it, and then have a public funeral for your relationship. It could be you know, you're publicly, you know, mourning that relationship, right? That could be also like a one major ritual, then you can cremate the collage, right? I know that this kind of like, you know, funeral iStick ritual can be really useful for people, especially if they've ended something that they've been wanting to end for a while, like, like a long term relationship, that would that have gone awry. Write
something about also burning tangible items in a safe way, by the way, but you know, something that's very ritualistic about burning tangible items that represent a past. That was in the past. It's also just powerful because it's symbolic. It's symbolic of, you know, departing from the past and creating something new and trying something new for yourself. Okay? Okay. And number four, always extend compassion to yourself, always. And that, you know, something I talk about to constantly in my podcasts and in my coaching all my content is to just to be compassionate and kind to yourself as you would to a friend, right. And I know that this might seem obvious to some people like, oh, you know, it sounds corny does like say nice things to myself. But really pay attention to the thoughts you have about yourself, and how you talk to yourself. And not just on like a daily basis when you wake up in the morning. But in those moments when you feel shame, or when you've made a mistake, or when you are about to blame yourself, right? It's in those moments, that's key for you to disrupt those thoughts and just become more aware, like, you know, am I starting to berate myself and beat myself up for mistake? You know, and what would I do what I say to myself, if I were my best friend, or if I were my sister, or if I were my mother, right, or my child, I would be so much kinder, I would be compassionate, I would allow myself to be human, to make mistakes and to fail, right. So, you know, always extend compassion to yourself in this process. And the final final bonus, and I said, four strategies, but I do have a final one is to just activate curiosity. You know, and I know that if you've gone through major life major change, is that the tendency is to want to just like bury yourself, you know, rest and sleep. And that is all good. I mean, really take that time to rest, and to slow down, right, and not have to rush to like, find the next job or find the next relationship, right? Give yourself that breathing room. But at the same time, also, you can activate your curiosity, and, you know, get curious about this change that's happened, if it's something that you're unhappy with, you know, think about, like, get curious about the things that did go well, like if it's a job, in which, you know, you were let go, for instance, you know, you can get curious about, like, what were some of the great things that I did, you know, as in trying to shift that blame away, like, but when you start to see yourself, blame yourself, but get curious about like, what other way can I view this, you know, situation? Like, yeah, I actually, you know, maybe I made one mistake, but I was doing such a great job. And I also was a great cheerleader. For my colleagues, you know, the other kind of way to activate this curiosity is to just like, get curious about like, oh, the situation I'm in? Yeah, it's a bummer. It sucks, you know, this change is not what I expected. But can I get curious about like, what the future might hold? You know, what kind of life do I want to leave? Maybe this is a sign for me to like, try something new, start my own business, or create that font that, you know, flexibility that I've always wanted in my life? You know, is there a way that I can get curious about what my future holds? And also get curious about just who I am as a person, right.
And I know that for many type a people, which is a lot of my clients, for Type A women, right, we identify so much with our career, you know, it becomes our sense of identity and our sense of self worth. But here's my thing to you. Get curious, why do I do that? Is there more to me? What do I value? What kind of life do I want? Let's just take this job equation out, you know, who am I, without my title, without my job, and who do I want to be in the future? You know, make this kind of like just experimental exercise, even if you're just like, you know, very sad and just like moping in bed for the first few weeks after a major transition. But I would get out your journal and just kind of like, poke around in your brain and say, like, what if this was different, you know, what if I wasn't in this long term relationship? You know, who am I without this other person? Like, what what do I value? What do I like? You know, what are my interests? Like? What I mean by activate curiosities, get to know yourself better, you know, this is a time for you to develop a relationship with yourself, but just get curious about your own brain and get curious about your hopes and dreams and desires. Like your your best friend, you know, and Do you want to know everything? Like, everything that you haven't had the chance to know? Because you've been so busy working, where you've been so busy, preoccupied in a relationship or sort of just going, going going right? But now is the chance to take that breather, and to just sit with yourself and journal every day. And it could just be one question a day that you're answering. It's like, who am I today? What do I like today? What what are my colors that I like? You know, what do I like to do? Who am I? Who am I? Who do I want to be? So those are just some major questions to ask.
So I think that these are kind of like broad stroke strategies, or however you want to call them coping mechanisms, or just ideas, just ideas that can help you and serve you, if you're facing any major transition, right? So I'm going to go through again, one is to be aware of our thoughts, and our stories, and take us with a lot of thoughts. And not all of them are true, right. And so be aware of that. Be aware of our thoughts. Second, allow ourselves to feel and process our emotions, including the negative ones, and the shame and all of it, it's just vibrations. Let ourselves feel and process them and get support for it too, if needed. Number three, create a ritual in our everyday lives, right? Rituals really help because they give us a sense of control when things feel chaotic. And they also allow us to say goodbye, and say hello, say goodbye to the past and say hello to the future. So create a ritual. That's number three. Number four, always extend compassion to ourselves. Always be kind to ourselves, be aware of how we're talking to ourselves, be our own best friend, right? And then number five, this is a bonus one, activate your curiosity, you know about who you are and who you want to be. Okay, activate curiosity, right? Ask those questions, take this time to probe and get to know yourself better. Alright, my friends. That's what I have for podcast, the first podcasts have made for change. If you're going through any major life transitions and use some extra support, please reach out to me whether it's relationship related or life or, you know, career related. Those are my two specialties right now. But I'm open to helping you and supporting you and walking alongside with you for any major transition in your life that you're having a hard time coping with. And also if you are about to make a decision, and you just need that support, you need some clarity on whether you should make a major change, whether it's a leap in your career or some sort of major change in your relationship world or in your personal life. do reach out to me as well. I'd love to work with you. I have some one one openings right now. That love to work with you. Alright my friends. I will see you next time. Thank you for listening. Thank you for tuning in.