THE BLOG

The First Secret of Change

11/30/2009 08:26 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

People Who Successfully Navigate Change Have Positive Beliefs

Your biggest need right now is to develop new beliefs about yourself, about the particular change you are facing at the moment and about life in general. Nothing will have a bigger impact on the way you handle change. What you are saying to yourself right now is this. Your inner dialogue is your biggest enemy. For many of us, life has challenged some of our strongest beliefs: A corporate job is safe; divorce will never happen to me; and, if I exercise I will never get cancer and so on.

When life turns out differently than what we have always believed, it's hard to accept, especially when it also involves an inner identity shift. It ranges from "I am employed" to "I am unemployed." "I am married" to "I am now single." Beliefs are your foundation for going through change. So identify which ones are helping you now and which just perpetuate your current fear, doubt and impatience. We are all obsessed with knowing how things are going to work out. Becoming good with uncertainty will put you way ahead of the crowd at any time. After all you really don't know how things will work out.

As Einstein said, "the most important decision you will ever make is whether you believe you live in a friendly universe or an unfriendly one." In other words, is life on your side or against you? Responding to any of the changes you are going through now first requires positive beliefs about change and life.

I have the privilege every week of interviewing people going through change. I do this for my show, ChangeNation, and I always ask them the same three signature questions at the end to discover their path through change.

First, what is the belief you go to in times of change? Answers I get range from "this will pass, things work out in the end, I will get through this, I'm not alone, I have faith." You too have an overarching belief that has taken you through tough stuff in the past. What is that belief for you? Now is the time to find security in that belief.

Secondly, fill in the sentence, the best thing about change is.... Make yourself answer this one.

And, finally, what is the best change you've ever made? Think back. What has been extraordinary is that the big majority of my guests always say their best change was a hard one. Yes, their best change was their hardest change--a divorce and the good that followed, getting through a loss and transforming their lives, being laid off and finally pursuing their dreams.

So, you can draw a little perspective from thousands who have gone through change successfully. They are all optimists.