I had a fantastic real conversation today with a person (let's call him Bob) about sea changes. Our conversation wandered along the line of thought "wouldn't it be nice if you could live....". As Bob and I chatted it became clearer to me that his chatting was not just to keep the conversation going. Bob started to share with me examples of others who have left the corporate world to shift into completely different lifestyles. There was a tone of admiration about these individuals as if to say they have the guts and Bob doesn't.
So I asked Bob what was stopping him from making the change.
It was another person. So from Bob's perspective the block was outside of him.
Then we talked further about how we have this internal dilemma of what we want personally versus what we compromise for and choose for the sake of our important relationships.
The questionable answer
So why is the sea change the answer? Why is this approach the panacea to our challenges in life? To me such a shift is made to look glamorous, desirable but for many the change might simply be an escape from facing reality. Or maybe an avoidance of the difficult task of having the conversations we need to about the circumstances that are causing us to want the sea change in the first place.
What we didn't talk about...
Despite the level of depth of our conversation I do not know Bob well. I only really met him properly today. So I held back. This was a second level conversation. If we had a more established relationship or were in a coaching session I would have gone further with such questions as:
- What are you seeing in the other person that may also be within you that creates the block?
- How much of your observation of others making sea changes in their life makes you want to do the same?
- What holds you back really? Fear of change? Fear of failure? Fear of disruption in your world?
- Is the sea change by any chance you running away from something you don't want to face?
- Is the grass really that green in the other place you want to go?
- What is missing in your current world, life, job etc that you think you can find elsewhere?
So overall my response to you if you say that you need a change is to look within and find out what you are not happy about in your world. Take some time out to reflect on the way you approach your life, how you choose to interact with others, how you filter your interactions.
For every time you say "I wish I could be somewhere else" stop and ask yourself what you are not dealing with now, not facing, not standing up for in the world where you are right now.
Try one on
Maybe if you are still determined that the sea change is it and you have done the reflection consider the benefits of mini sea changes - the old fashioned vacation holiday. Test out your theory by temporarily escaping. Pretend for that time that you have really picked up, changed lives completely and moved to a new place.
What do you notice then? What still goes with you when you enact the change? What part of your challenges that you did not face stayed with you.
My sea change
I am not able to point fingers without fessing up to my own blunders in this area. Well I consider them all great life lessons. I am also sure there are more to come since I am a complex human.
Without going into detail lets just say I got my family to pick up, change their lives and shift to a new location. Did things change in the new place? Yes and no. Some structural changes with the way we lived have created new ways of being that benefit us as a family. Other habits stayed the same.
I have moved country to change my life and still found that me and all my gifts and challenges came with me. It just did not matter where I settled.
And lastly the best one of all I have left many positions and changed my education path frequently to go to what I thought would be the next and best thing for me. Only problem...I came with me, full package and all.
Of course each attempt is more satisfying and relevant than the previous. I figure that my last sea change when I get it right will not be until I am in my grave.
You just have to do the work
It does not matter what you change in your environment nor with your circumstances, if you don't do the work on yourself you will still have to when you get to the next destination.
So what sea change are you looking for in your life? your work?
Oh, and Bob, if you read this, thank you for sharing with me and I hope that this helps where we left off.
Let's go there...