Sunday, May 31, 2009

A New Normal

You want to know how to change.

You want to know how to serve your priorities and your values.

You want to know how to do stuff differently.

I know you want this, because you've told me. You say, "Why do I keep facing the same stuff all the time? Why can't I do things differently?"

Well, how about this: When normal's not working for you, just make a new normal.

Meredith is unhappy in her work. She has a boss who says one thing and does another, and the ground is always shifting beneath her feet. Her normal is stressful, unpleasant, unhappy and needs to change. She knows this.

However, there's this issue of the economy, and her deep-seated belief that she should be able to turn the situation around, and that she shouldn't walk away from a challenge, and that maybe she's doing something really, really wrong and there's no job that would be any different.

Her normal sucks.

But the way she's looking at the prospect of a new normal equally sucks.


Unless she can change just one thing. One tiny little thing. Toward a new way of being. Toward a new perspective. Toward a new normal.

Like, maybe, starting with a difficult conversation with her mercurial boss. Maybe, just maybe, calling him out on his inconsistencies. In a productive and collegial way, of course. By doing this one little thing, she'll shift her quiet, don't rock the boat, please-please-like-me normal into something a little stronger, a little prouder, a little better.

A new, happier, normal.

One area many clients have difficulty with is having difficult conversations. Does just reading that make your teeth grind? OK, difficult conversations are... difficult. Speaking up can be hard. Saying something that might, possibly hurt someone's feelings is so scary that many of us avoid saying anything.

And we internalize those icky emotions and end up all sick and unhappy and psychically smoooshed.

But when we create a new normal -- a normal where we say what's hard when it's just a little bit hard, rather than waiting until until it's big time hard -- we break the old patterns and create a new way of handling "hard".

Habits are tough to break, mostly because they feel so known and, therefore, feel rather safe. A new normal can seem impossible to get, because we're so familiar with what we've got.

Got to open your eyes to the possibilities, darlings, and dare to live a new normal. Because the payoff is big. The payoff is a life of your own design, doing things you like doing, with people you enjoy.

Change is possible, and good. Happiness is attainable. Hey, happiness -- it's your new normal.


Peacefull Reader said...

This is great...I am looking for a "new normal" as it relates to my children, as I explained to my husband today at lunch. Your post has put it all together for me. Thank you.

Keisha said...

I really like this post Michelle. I am experiencing "a new normal" right now with my sister and with a friendship that used to be close and now is gone. A new normal has been my mantra- and I'm glad you wrote about it!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad this post has been helpful to some of your readers. For some reason I found it extremely elementary. For the money you charge to coach your clients which is more than many of Martha's coaches charge I would think you would offer something more.

protocol lady said...

Michele, I was having a discussion about "changing the norm" with a friend at the very moment your email arrived! The clear, straightforward simplicity makes everything appear to be do-able! Thanks! I find it interesting that the only negative comment came from someone so ditinguished as "anonymous" Not terribly courageous, honorable or relevant.

March on

plumtreestudios said...

The internet gods must have been smiling down on me today. Ever so serendipitously, I have found your blog for the first time, and on this most appropriate post. While "Anonymous" before me may think it quite ordinary, I think that sometimes it is what's plainly in front of us that is most easily missed. And I, for one, am very happily reminded during a time that I've been avoiding my own, usual "normal". In may case, it turned out, my "new normal" was pointing me in the wrong direction. Thank you for sharing and brightening my day. Would I have seen it eventually? most probably...but I'm very thankful for the nudge. ;)