Principles of Change: The First of Nine

Lost a Job? Starting a Business? Here's How to Cope

By Published on .

Ariane de Bonvoisin
Ariane de Bonvoisin

After interviewing people going through all types of change -- whether it be losing a job, divorce, a cancer diagnosis, becoming a new parent or starting a business -- I noticed that there were some very similar patterns, behaviors and attitudes among people who are good at change. Since change is the word of the year for all of us, it's my hope that this research will help you with whatever change you may be navigating.

I discovered nine principles I want to share. Each of my columns in the next few months will highlight one of them.

Principle 1: People who successfully navigate change have positive beliefs.

Your biggest need right now is to develop new beliefs about yourself, about the particular change you are facing now and about life in general. Nothing will have a bigger impact on the way you handle change. What you are saying to yourself, your inner dialogue, is your biggest enemy right now.

For many of us, life has challenged some of our strongest beliefs: A corporate job is safe, divorce will never happen to me, if I live healthfully I will never get cancer. When life turns out differently than we have always believed it would, it's hard to accept -- especially when it also involves an inner identity shift: "I am employed" to "I am unemployed." "I am married" to "I am single."

Beliefs are your foundation for going through change. Identify which ones are helping you now and which just perpetuate the fear, doubt and impatience. We are all obsessed with knowing how things are going to work out. Becoming good with uncertainty will put you way ahead of the crowd right now. You really don't know how things will work out. The quality of your life is directly proportional to the amount of uncertainty you can take. People who go for certainty make quick and often wrong decisions.

How you see life is also a very revealing piece of the puzzle. Do you think life is against you? Are you unlucky? Is everything always going wrong for you? Has God decided to punish you? As Einstein said, "The most important decision you will ever make is whether you believe you live in a friendly universe or an unfriendly one." Look at how you see life. Is it conspiring for something better to show up or to piss you off and make you miserable?

Ariane de Bonvoisin is CEO-founder of First30Days, a New York media company focused on guiding people through all types of changes, whether they are personal and professional, social or global. The company's website,, currently features 60 life-change subjects, many of which are relevant to our current challenging times.

Responding to any of the changes you are going through right now first requires positive beliefs about change and life.

Three questions about change
I host a weekly video podcast called "Change Nation," where I talk to experts, authors and celebrities, and I always ask them the same three questions at the end to discover their paths through change.

First, what is the belief you go to in times of change? Answers I get include "This will pass," "Things work out in the end," "I will get through this," "I'm not alone," "I have faith." You, too, have an overarching belief that has gotten you through tough stuff in the past. What is it for you? Now is the time to find safety in that.

Second, finish the sentence: The best thing about change is ...

And finally, what is the best change you've ever made? Think back. What is extraordinary is that a big majority of my guests have said it was a hard change. Yes, their most beneficial changes were also their hardest: a divorce, getting through a loss, being laid off. The thousands who have gone through change successfully? They are all optimists. Something good followed their toughest changes.

Most Popular
In this article: