4 Questions to Ask Yourself During a Time of Change

We are, individually and collectively, in a time of change. No matter the territory of your personal transition, you are likely asking questions like this:

What am I going to do?
If this fails, then what?
Who am I without my job?
Will they still love me if I change?
What if it never gets better?

And there you are, spiraling down a set of questions that lean towards failure, isolation, concern—taking up space in your mind, constricting your chest.

Those who thrive while they navigate the territory of transition know this: When it comes to moving gracefully into something different, it is not “survival of the fittest.” It is survival of the focused. 

In other words, the antidote to overwhelm is not trying to fix everything all at once, it’s getting focused on what to do right now. People who are able to thrive when things are shifting give attention to one main thing. Softly, but consistently, they focus on asking better questions.

Five years ago, I sat on a park bench with my dear friend and colleague Maria Sirois. I was preparing to move back to New England after years of touring the world as a live-in health and life coach to the famous and elite.There were so many variables taking up real estate in my head and heart: a cross-country move, a reinvention of my business model so I could work from home, the ending of a long-term relationship. But in that moment, Maria said, “Let’s do some work together.”

“Yes!” was my first response. Then a pause as the dreaded questions bubbled up. Why would a thought leader like Maria want to work with me? She’s so established, what’s in it for her? My questions abandoned the truth: that I had something to offer, in favor of fear.

 “What could I possibly bring to our partnership?” I asked her.

Without missing a beat, she replied, “I think the better question here is, what would we have fun doing?”

This simple reframe of my question shifted where my attention went.

The Who am I to be doing this? question was a momentum stopper, bubble gum on the sole of my soul, the shower drain pulling my energy downward into doubt and playing small. The question “What would we have fun doing?” calls for creativity, wonder, joy, possibility. It asked us to rise into something better.

As a coach, I knew this already. My clients and I all pause to consider what the better questions are. But as a human being, in a moment of transition, I needed to be reminded.

Which of the following questions, if you focused on it, would guide you into the best of what can happen next?

  1. When have I seen myself be brave before, and how could I apply that here?
  2. Who can I ask for help?
  3. If I was 3 percent more confident that things would work out, what would I try next?
  4. What do I really care about, and how will I bring more of that into my days?

As you read this list, what question slows your wild mind long enough for you to hear your heart beating? For you to remember that you can, in fact, breathe right now. For you to replace fear with truth. Go there. Repeat that question. Make it the home screen on your phone, post it on your steering wheel. Let it hang in the air like a flag to possibility, until an answer emerges. 

Because here’s the deal: Things will be different.

Transition by choice, or not, is where we find ourselves, and the question that leads us onward becomes: In the face of this before me, who do I want to be?

Karlee Fain is a celebrity life and boundary coach, author, speaker, and founder of The Boundary Academy, with roots that extend back into three decades of Kripalu yoga practice and teaching.

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