“I have to sell my house”.
That became my mantra after an autumn meeting with the mediator and the lawyers. I realized there was no way I could afford to continue living in this beautiful house on this beautiful property way out in the country. I was bitter, sad and upset every time I envisioned a For Sale sign out on the road. It was tearing me up, making both my personal and professional life challenging.
I have never been one to wallow in anything, but this was hard, especially when its reality fell on the heels of some other difficult news. It meant more change that was not of my choice or control. I had a brief “why me” episode that wrought more damage than relief.
But change means opportunity, if a person is willing to look for it. After my initial grief, it was time to transform my attitude and approach. I needed to truly accept this upcoming change, and then look for the opportunity it presents.
Easier said than done, but left with no other obvious choice, it made sense to try.
“I am going to sell my house” is what I now say when people ask why I am madly organizing and packing up my belongings, and why the house (temporarily, I am sure) looks like a bomb hit it. And the truth is that this change in attitude had made all the difference in the world.
In packing things up, I am taking time to look at what is really important in my life. I am finding that there are many things that I can let go, because I don’t need them anymore. There are other things that I’ve hidden away that I can take out, have a look at, and savor the joy they provide. This change in attitude allows me to look at things with a different perspective, focusing on the positive rather than the sad; finding joy where I didn’t think I’ve find anything other than loss.
Lao Tzu said that if you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading. I was heading in a direction that I didn’t want to go, but this beautiful house was keeping me there. Now, suddenly, I am freed up to change direction. How lucky can I be?
In my consulting business, change is constant. I am always working with new clients, working in different places and experiencing a multitude of project demands upon which I thrive. So I know I can learn and grow from change. And in truth, now that I have embraced the change that is thrust upon me, I can hardly wait to see what’s around the corner. What is that saying about not being able to discover new oceans unless you lose sight of the shore? I can still see the edge of the shore, but my sails are full and the wind is fresh.
I challenge all of you who are reading this to pause and reflect on your lives, personal and professional. What is changing that is out of your control? How can you alter your attitude to take advantage of that change? If you change the way you look at things, how will those things change?