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Why does change feel so hard?

Updated: Jun 12

I’ve been reflecting recently on the changes in my life over the last 5 years and some of them are huge. My life looks entirely different from what it did in 2019 and 6th May marked 5 years since I flew out to France to start walking the Camino de Santiago.


Just 4 days before that, I'd finished at the NHS after almost 11 years in the same job and more than 13 years in the same organisation (I’m sure I’m still not old enough for that to be true!).


2019 was an incredibly exciting, weird and stressful year although in hindsight, I think I was running on adrenaline for the first part and then felt lost for most of the second part. The ADHD part of me was really excited for all this change and what felt like a blank canvas to do whatever I wanted, but the rest of me felt unsettled and like I was scrabbling to establish routine.


It wasn’t an easy place to be and it feels strange that it's taken so long to feel more settled again. It’s taken a lot of internal work to get here and although there are some things I wish weren’t such hard lessons to learn (and keep learning 🙄), I’m really glad about the changes.


We all know why the next couple of years after 2020 were difficult and I had the added bonus of wanting to do the thing I'd left the NHS to do (coaching) whilst needing the financial security of some contracting work. I found myself unexpectedly back in the NHS for two years while I worked through the weirdness of Covid.


On reflection, I'm glad I was working and had the connection with colleagues who were also still going into the office. I think being home alone for 2 years would have been harder.


After leaving the NHS for the second time in 2022, I think I was actually at the edge of burnout. I rested a lot that year and found it really hard to find the motivation to move my coaching business along. A lot of fear set in and I wondered countless times what I thought I was playing at trying to run my own business.


The financial pressure led me to start my tech support business though which I LOVE! At the beginning I had a lot of conflicting feelings as it felt like a step backwards, but I wanted it to be a safe place for the coaches around me to come and get help with their new business’s tech issues.


I wanted to show that tech people aren't always the head-down, antisocial type who can’t (or wont) talk to people. I mean, I can be like that, but I actually like helping people and I really love hearing about their businesses and why they set them up.


It brings me so much joy helping them make a difference in the world. And 2.5 years later, I still love doing this work.


My coaching has improved immensely after a multitude of courses and learning. I feel really lucky I have two ways of helping people make the world a better place. They both bring me joy in different ways.


A huge change was finding out about neurodiversity and being informally diagnosed with autism and formally diagnosed with ADHD. This helped me make sense of so many of my experiences and struggles. It also helped me be a bit kinder to myself.


What’s been the hardest in all of this time has been changing the way I perceive what’s going on. Whether it’s what goes on in my head and my reaction to situations or people, or how I act when something has happened (or not happened) the way I’d have liked it to.


The biggest, most permanent changes for me have been internal - more understanding and acceptance of myself and, by extension, of other people. This helps me navigate the tough parts and have faith that I’m doing the right thing for me, regardless of what that looks like to others.


I'm finally in a place where I'm more comfortable with running my own businesses and particularly the parts where it doesn’t look like I thought it would. I know it will be ok, whatever happens, because I know I can take care of myself with kindness and love, not just toughness and shouting.


All these things would have seemed colossal at the beginning, and I can remember the idea of changing my career was so hideously scary and alien to me that I did nothing about it for a good couple of years from first having the thought.


Some of the changes have been such tiny incremental steps that I hadn’t noticed what was going on until I noticed the voices in my head weren’t as unkind as they used to be. Or that emotions that used to be hugely overwhelming for days, weeks or sometimes months at a time were only there for a few hours.


I am now in the process of consciously trying to share what’s going on and turning up as myself. I believe that showing people there’s a better way to be by accepting who I am - the challenges and the great bits – and accepting them the way they are.


I do it when I share bits of advice or tips that make things easier for others to do the same. I help my clients find more acceptance for themselves or new ways of being. Of finding better ways to work and solving problems they couldn't find by themselves.


I aim to be a safe place for all who come to me for coaching, support or just conversation. I do this because I like it and because I know that it gives people an example of how to be for others.


My hope that this starts a ripple of light that slowly spreads into even the darkest of places (politicians’ hearts for example).


I’m embracing the side of change that’s about leading by example and showing there is a better way than what we were shown in the past. I’m having more fun and there is far more joy in my life than there used to be. That part of me which always felt a little childish compared to the people around me now gets to come out and play!


That part of me is SO important. It brings a break in the monotony of just getting on with things and it also gives me license to be more creative than I ever used to be.


Change is often seen as huge, clanging events that rock your world - for better or worse. I think that often the most important change is altering what you think is possible for yourself. With compassion and care for yourself, which is hard in a world where there are so many contradictions about what we’re “supposed” to be.


I also think that change feels much harder when you’re looking at it dead in the face, rather than in retrospect with more overall context. I tend to think of the time I got stuck on the high diving board as a child. I spent so much time up there deciding whether to jump or not. Weighing up my options and ALL the potential consequences of any action I might take.


I am firmly in the camp of "anything is possible" with a dose of "it may not look exactly as you hope/expect/think it should. Change isn't a smooth ride, but if you really want it, I believe you can make it happen 💖.


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