Are you ready or willing?
Transitions are not a new theme for many us. This process or period of changing from one state or condition to another is so common that if you’re living here on planet earth (as an animal, vegetable and even mineral) you’ve certainly experienced some kind of transition. Some transitions we’re eager for (first love, driver’s license, new home) and some, well, they find us. In fact, sometimes it feels like we’re being hunted by change with nowhere to hide.
This is the exact predicament my client Jessie found herself in during our most recent session.
“Jamie, I’ve got a new topic for us,” Jessie said. Jessie and I have been coaching together for 3 years now and there’s little we haven’t covered. We’ve worked through her career ups and down, buying a house, getting married, and everything in between. Many many transitions.
“We need to talk about kids,” she blurted out, “because my husband has started dropping hints that he’s ready for a baby. He gets it that the timing is ultimately my decision and though I definitely want a family, I’m not sure I want it right now.”
“What’s your primary concern with having children right now?”, I questioned.
She described the fear of losing her freedom and not seeing her non-mother friends as much. She mentioned financials worries and then, she hit the core of it. “Honestly,” she said, “my life is really good and I don’t know if I want to mess with that.”
“I hear you,” I said. “Because having a kid is like flipping the snow globe of your life on it’s head. Everything gets tossed upside, you can barely see straight, and then, slowly, the flakes settle in a completely different configuration.”
“Exactly!” she exclaimed. “And I just want to feel fully ready for that change before I say yes.”
I took a deep breath, letting her words sink in as they were the exact words I’ve repeated to myself a hundreds times on the same topic….”I just want to be ready. I just want to be ready”…
“The thing is,” I said. “Major transitions are not about our readiness to handle them. We’re never ready for the shifts that flip our well known, well planned lives on their heads. Transitions are about our willingness to say YES to them and the unknown change they bring.”
“In other words,” I continued. “You don’t need to be ready. You just need to be willing.”
When we got off the phone, Jessie had new clarity on the baby topic. Her homework was to journal about what excited her about motherhood and what might she need to experience within herself and from her partner to be willing to start a family.
The beautiful thing about willingness is it eases our resistance to change. While readiness can feel like armoring up for impending doom, willingness is softer, getting us clear on our intentions while simultaneously opening us towards whatever’s to come. Willingness feels like surrender and is tinged with trust.
As you think about the major transitions in your own life, what would it be like to willingly face what’s here now?
What would it feel like to trust, knowing the circumstance is here for your continued growth?
What do you need to know, to believe, or to feel to willingly find ease and say YES to the transition in your life?
As you dig into these questions notice what it’s like to shed the need to be ready, to protect and anticipate every possible problem. What’s it like to touch upon willingness, to consciously show up and soften to see what comes?
May we find the willingness needed to weather life’s transitions and know that we’re all in the same storm together.
All my love,