The Human Response to Change
Change is personal. Most anyone can tell you that change is constant. But practically no one will tell you it’s easy. Maybe that’s because changes don’t just happen; they happen to people. And when those changes happen to be us, we tend to take those life transitions pretty personally. That’s all part of being human.
Here at Aurochs Financial, we never forget that when change happens in your life, it affects how you feel. And how you feel affects how you think and act. As Financial Transitionists®, we believe it’s our responsibility to recognize how the change in your life is affecting you so we can assist you in working through it in the manner and time that are best for you.
Transition Traits: Struggle
What people do when faced with major life changes can be as individual as they are. During times of transition, many people experience challenges that interfere with their readiness to move forward with plans they had made, or their ability to think and act clearly. This could be due to factors such as the quality and amount of energy they have, their mindset about stress, and/or their history of resilience. We call this Transition Struggle, and part of our training with the Financial Transitionist Institute was to learn how to identify and address the most common traits of such struggles. For example:
Jane’s story – Overwhelm
Jane’s recent divorce has brought lots of changes to her life, and not just financially. After years of being “John’s wife,” she’s now relegated to being “John’s ex,” an identity she never wanted or even imagined. She says she is “stunned by where life has landed [her],” and now, with a heap of once-shared and new responsibilities sitting squarely on her plate, she adds that she feels “overwhelmed” by it all. She’s too exhausted by the present to even hope things will improve in the future, and she can’t think straight about which items on her seemingly endless to-do list she should tackle first. While the divorce process itself has ended, all that Jane has to work through and decide before she can find a fulfilling new normal is just beginning.
When listening to a client tell their story, we pay careful attention to the words they use. Jane feels “stunned” and “overwhelmed,” which by the way is perfectly normal. When a client feels overwhelmed, the most skillful thing to do is to help them sort and prioritize the many things that need attention. It is frequently the case that very little needs to be done immediately and that most things can wait; the client just doesn’t realize that. When clients see a one-page list of decisions and actions that need attention now, soon, and later, their overwhelm and confusion decrease and they are able to take whatever time they need to process their experience without feeling pressured about decisions or actions that can easily wait.
Tom’s story – Invincibility
Tom’s large insurance settlement from an accident a few years ago is finally coming his way. He has chosen to take it as a lump sum and has already spent every penny of the impending windfall “in his head” in a way that includes both unwise purchases and equally unwise financial commitments to various family members and friends. He has no current medical needs as a result of the accident and assumes that he won’t in the future. He begins planning a move to a neighborhood that’s a step up from where he currently lives and he considers investing in a friend’s start-up. If anyone suggests that maybe Tom should wait until the money materializes and carefully consider what he really wants or might need before committing to anything, he promptly advises them to mind their own business.
Whenever a client engages in “future spending,” which is common for people anticipating windfalls, financial and personal ruin aren’t far behind. Tom could very well be on the road to destruction because he is feeling invincible. What he needs most is someone to help him articulate why he is doing all of this future spending; determine if any of the things he is doing are actually necessary; and help him manage his expectations for what will happen as a result of the money.
Traits of Transition: Flow
Unlike Jane and Tom, some people embrace even the stressful aspects of transitions as a learning experience or an opportunity for personal transformation. They respond to change with focus, clarity, curiosity, and even enthusiasm, and they listen to and carefully consider all information that can help them make wise decisions. We call this Transition Flow, and the most common traits of such flow, as you might imagine, reflect the flip sides struggle. The best part of flow from our perspective is that it can always be enhanced in quality and duration.
Our commitment to you
Our goal is to help you recognize when you are exhibiting Traits of Struggle and to provide you with processes and tools to help you work through your transition. At moments when you are moving smoothly through the transition, we will help you recognize that and sustain it.
Change is constant, and we won’t guarantee you it will ever be easy. However, we take an individual and personal approach to guiding you through it, while empowering you with life skills you can use again when that next wave of change inevitably comes rolling your way.
Are you ready to create a plan for living the life you’ve always dreamed about? Contact us today to schedule your complimentary discovery meeting.
Your Guide to Financial Independence
Rick Epple, CFP(r), CeFT (r)