When I created my Change Model years ago to help systems people understand the process people go through when they have to change to a new system, I drew on my experience from watching people resist learning new systems, getting frustrated about having to do it, feeling incompetent and wanting their old system back — well, you get the picture.
And this experience is why my Change Model still works — because it is based on how people deal with change, and this hasn’t changed after all these years. We all struggle with this.
Take a close look at the Change Model — I’ll bet you can identify with these feelings, right? We often feel like this when we have to learn a new system.
Why? Because we love being in our Comfort Zone and we don’t want it to end. This is what is called Refusing the Call in the Hero’s Journey. Even though we might be interested in The Call to Adventure, we kind of like the competent, comfortable, in control feelings we have where we are.
It’s a different story if there is something compelling us to go through the pain of change. This is what I call Drawn to a Vision (The Beginning) in my model. For example, I have a Vision about a new kind of Discussion Center for our soon to be released Awakening Your Hero’s Journey online course.
I was tired of dealing with the difficulty of focusing on a topic in Facebook Groups and the noise and distraction that is part of being on Facebook. We have to spend a lot of time finding the thread we are looking for and people can’t easily stay on topic, so the conversations tend to wander off into unrelated territories. This Vision of mine is what helped me leave my Comfort Zone because I was clear about the benefits of what I wanted to do.
So I was ready, sort of, to give up my Comfort Zone. But when I began the setup of this new system, it was a bit daunting, even to an old systems hound like me. That’s because a new system cannot possibly help people relate what they used to do with what they are going to do now — because people are coming from many different systems. While systems designers do the best they can at helping us learn how to live in their new world, we really are on our own in dealing with the feelings we have as we travel through the Change Model.
So here’s a suggestion. Learn to laugh at your unwillingness to give up your Comfort Zone. It’s pretty funny when you think about it, and it’s not a healthy trait to have in our rapidly changing world, is it? So what if you are comfortable, competent, and in control where you are? What if, instead of hanging onto these feelings, you decided it was time for a bit more adventure in your life . . . and maybe what you learn will lead to a world you cannot even imagine.
Okay, you say, this makes sense, but I have enough to deal with right now. I don’t need to add feeling stressed, frustrated, and torn into my already busy life by moving into that Stuck in the Middle part of the Change Model.
Aha, glad you mentioned this because I can help you. First, remember that these feelings are normal. We all go through them. When I was learning how to set up the Hero’s Journey Discussion Center I felt like this too.
Here are a couple of ways I dealt with it. One, if I felt overwhelmed and fuzzy-headed, I would take a break. Two, I would see how I could chunk it down, focus on one small thing at a time and not push myself to do too much all at once. And I kept a list of things I needed to do so I didn’t forget. It felt really good when I checked something off my list!
And, best of all, I would laugh about my struggle, At one point I thought, “Boy, I sure wish I had Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz with me. He always has such great ideas!”
And then I would realize I could ask for help, or read the instructions (a trait that is not in my DNA), or back off and rethink the situation. Or ask for help (also not in my DNA).
So you see, the way we resist and how we get frustrated can be a bit different for each of us. This is a big lesson in itself — learning how to change the way we change takes a bit of problem-solving, and one of the best ways to do this is to take a closer look at why we do what we do. It may be something that is holding us back, limiting us. And learning about this is what the Hero’s Journey is all about, isn’t it?
And now we come to the third part of the Change Model: The Beginning. We’ve made it, but we are still feeling incompetent, awkward and insecure when we remember how comfortable we were with our old system. Once again, we are getting in our own way here. We have decided it is not cool to feel incompetent, awkward and insecure.
Imagine if you felt this way about taking your first steps as a child and just decided to sit and crawl for the rest of your life because your parents were so thrilled when you won that crawling race! You loved the cheering, how competent you felt. You wanted to be that crawling Hero, without realizing that perhaps you could move on and become a Hero at walking . . .
So how can you Cross the Threshold and get on with The Adventure? Just remember that I will be here for you. You will learn the stages of the Hero’s Journey by following Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, and I’m your Glinda. And of course we always have Scarecrow and Tinman and Lion to give us a helping hand.
In my imagination I see all of us some months from now — laughing, learning, sharing, forming friendships, taking on challenges, becoming more and more the people we are meant to be. I mean how hard can it be to succeed at this Hero’s Journey of learning a new system when you are, after all, taking a course in the Hero’s Journey?
Learn more about our Online Course by downloading our free ebook on the Home page at www.kattansey.com.
You can also go to What's all this about? to watch videos I've created to help you learn more about the Hero's Journey.
Let's face it -- change is not going to get any easier. If we are going to succeed in dealing with it without tearing our hair out, there is not a better way to do this than learning how to follow the path of the 4000-year old Hero's Journey . . . the course will open in late January.