By Ariane de Bonvoisin
Why do some of us initiate change and follow-through, while others never do?
I’ve had the privilege of interviewing thousands of people navigating change for my book The First 30 Days.
For some, they’re navigating a career change or a shift in their relationship, for others it’s a health diagnosis or a change in their finances. And for others, it’s an inspired course of action they are passionately pursuing to change the world. So, I’ve been able to be the detective, always on the lookout for why some people are good at change while others take “the elevator straight into the basement!”
I am often asked, “What is the one thing that really makes the difference?” If I had to pick one thing, it would be optimism. Optimism in the context of creating and navigating change is about using a different set of beliefs. It is about once and for all choosing empowering beliefs about ourselves, who we are at our core and how we see our potential -- not what limits us. Optimism is about cultivating the belief that life is on our side, always, no matter what, and that life is conspiring for us, in the direction of our growth. Finally, optimism is about believing that regardless of whether we are pursuing a change that is ultimately termed “successful” by society or not, something good will come of it.
Optimism also comes from believing in something bigger, in our spiritual essence. It is a reminder that we have an infinite amount of Grace supporting us, if we fully trust it to be there for us and stop trying to take control. Optimists can navigate the darkness and the uncertainty, and find rest and safety in fixing their focus on God, The Divine, Beingness, Grace, whatever we want to call it. That part never disconnects from us, although we often hide from it.
People who are true change agents have always believed in something greater than themselves. They know they are not alone as they journey through life.
When everything around you is changing, look for that part of you that never changes, that is calm, detached, that is witnessing your life, that is guiding you at all times. Busyness is one excuse that gets in the way of this connection, and yet, this connection is always the answer we are craving. As we step up to become true Architects of Change, answers do not come from a full and overwhelmed mind, they come from a peaceful and calm state of being.
Do whatever you can to cultivate this part of you daily. A yoga class on the weekends doesn’t quite count. Find daily quiet time, reconnection, prayer, setting intentions, journaling, contemplation, doing nothing, reading, purifying the mind and body. This should be first on our to-do list, not what we get to if and when we have the time. Our courage, commitment and passion to create change will have a very different foundation if calmness, presence and optimism are what feed it every day.
Ariane de Bonvoisin is the CEO and founder of First30Days.com, a New York City-based media company focused on all types of life changes, and the author of The First 30 Days: Your Guide to Making Any Change Easier. She holds degrees from London School of Economics and an MBA from Stanford.