7 Ways to Adjust Your Sail After Change

This week, I endured a very unwelcome challenge. My boxer, Buddy, got dog sick (that was cheesy, sorry). He stopped eating, was lying around like a big lump of clay. Anyone on my team can attest to the fact that I was a wreck at first. I took him to the doggy ER!

I love the saying, “You can’t direct the wind, but you can adjust your sail.” I have to remind myself of it often.

Sidetracking a bit, here’s a fun story (click here) about a county commissioner in rural Georgia who was confronted with negative change and adjusted his sail. The problem he faced was too many people stealing road signs. What did he do? He renamed the signs with boring names so no one would want them.

Thing is, change happens everywhere and to everyone. The difference lies in your response.

When change happens, we usually want to lie down, eat too many potato chips, and blame the guy who cut us off in traffic—or whatever we can do to get the focus off of our misery. While this may help us for a bit, it doesn’t get us out there kicking again.

Dr. Harold Koenig, professor of psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center, states, “This whole life is about adapting to change. The person who is able to do that is going to be happier and healthier, and will function better if he can accept change, but also know when to stand up.”

So if the wind throws your boat off course to Bermuda when you mean to go to the Bahamas, what do you do? Adjust your sail, of course. Here are 7 tips to get you started:

1)Understand there is a season to grieve, but it must be balanced by forward action. Set limits on the amount of time each day that you will vent about your problem. Spend twice as much time taking action.

2)If you need deeper help, find a trusted friend or counselor to help you understand why you are stuck.

3)Write out a vision for your life, the way you want it to be. Refer to it daily. I like to post my goals on my mirror so I see them each morning when I floss.

4)Pay attention to your habits, and ask yourself if they align with the direction you want to go. Don’t question why you don’t have a good family life if you are inclined to stay up all night playing Pacman with your buddies.

5)Break out of your comfort zone. It’s easy to make excuses why you can’t call that recruiter today, or fix the leaky window, or clean up the dog hair on the back porch, but taking care of it and finding a solution will likely give you the boost you need to get you to your next goal.

6)Set goals that are attainable. Start small, with goals you can achieve soon, so that you build your confidence.

7)Encourage someone else. Sometimes the best way to get out of your own problems is to help someone out of hers.

What do you do to adjust to change? Post your comments below!

Okay, an update on Buddy… He’s all better, leaping around the house with his step sister,Winnie, bringing me the joy of a thousand seagulls, or something like that (I made that up).

4 thoughts on “7 Ways to Adjust Your Sail After Change”

  1. Hey Glenn,
    You can look at change as if it is a wave. You can do one of two things. You can head into the wave to try and stop it but it will just wash right over you and leave you stranded, or…. you can try to ride that wave. You can ride it at the top, shoot the curl, move in an out of it etc.(Just so you know, I never surfed a day in my life). Even though change can be overwehelming, this can give you a sense of balance and give you time to find ways of using the energy of change to its best advantage. Change is inevitable. It is the only constant thing in the universe.

  2. Sorry, but I am having a problem about change. My husband, who is retired, wants me to retire at the end of the school year. I, however, am not ready to retire. I am presently teaching 1st grade, teaching 16 piano students, and playing the organ for church. My children are all grown up, and I am having the time of my life. I am not ready to retire. We are living in a huge city, where I have lived for 36 years. He wants to move to the mts. of Arkansas. I like what I am doing. All he does is sit and watch TV or go to LA to the casino. While that is fun on a occasion, I am not into it for a steady diet. Any suggestions?????

  3. This is to Chris Luecke: As you well know, marriage is nothing but a series of sacrafices. The two of you have to decide if you want to continue to sail together or if you want to hop on your own ship. Surely there are schools in Arkansas. Maybe the comprimise is to move to Arkansas and still work.

  4. Hi Chris. This sounds like a difficult spot, but I’m glad you are enjoying your life. Here are my thoughts:
    1. You’ve got to communicate and both find a happy medium. It might be hard at first, but facing the reality is the only way to deal with it. Don’t make any rash decisions though, as change is hard on anyone. Sometimes when we first learn to speak up, we go overboard and get very angry. Just beware of this, take it easy, make decisions cautiously.
    2. It sounds like your husband needs a hobby, may be bored, or may have a deeper issue to resolve. He may need to learn to set boundaries, and engage in certain activities in more moderation. You can state your observations, and encourage him, but you can’t control what he chooses to do.
    3. Remember, it’s your life too; you have a say. Keep living your life so that you stay healthy no matter what happens around you.
    5. Instead of moving to AR, why not plan a few trips there and enjoy them as a treat? If in a few years, you both feel the same, then move.
    Hang in there, and keep us posted! -Sam

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