Principles of Change: The Seventh of Nine

Infuse Life and Work With Spirit

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Ariane de Bonvoisin
Ariane de Bonvoisin
I've interviewed thousands of people going through all types of change -- job loss, divorce, a cancer diagnosis, a baby, a new business -- and I've noticed some very similar patterns, behaviors and attitudes in people who are good at change. I've discovered nine principles, and I'll highlight one of them in each of my columns in the next few months. Here, then, is the next one:

Principle 7: Finding your Spirit: Where tranquility, ideas and wisdom live. People who successfully navigate change know they are connected to something bigger than themselves. When everything around you is changing, look for that part of yourself that doesn't change -- the part that is calm, centered and always there.

You can tell the people that have spirit. You can also tell the companies that have spirit. Nothing religious going on here, it's just a sense of aliveness, of joy, of doing something that matters, that makes a difference, that helps. It's a commitment to going beyond the material, the rules, what's expected and going with a different form of guidance. Often it's inner guidance -- a nudge, a knowing of the right thing to do next, a strong intuition. We all put far greater value on intellect, on the mind; we cling to being clever, on knowing. Finding your spiritual side is about being open to not knowing, to being empty so that a new idea, direction or person can come into your life. It's about finding a different sense of peace, tranquility that doesn't depend on getting a deal, making the money or any form of external marker.

More Principles of Change
People who successfully navigate change use empowering questions and words and think better thoughts.
People who successfully navigate change know that the quicker they accept a situation, the less painful it will be.
People who successfully navigate change give themselves permission to be human. They feel their emotions and know how to move through them.
People who successfully navigate change know they are resilient, strong and capable of getting through anything. Period.
The Change Guarantee: From this situation something good will come.
People who successfully navigate change have positive beliefs.

All great leaders, heroes, athletes or even regular people who have touched us in some form believe in something greater. They don't all define it the same way, or have the same word for it, but everyone I have interviewed eventually says some version of, "something bigger was going on." All types of change, whether they be personal or professional, at some stage make us go looking on the inside. We find ourselves reconnecting to our intuition, our heart, our faith, our connection with another part of our self -- perhaps our "higher self" that we have so often forgotten.

Infusing life and your work or business with spirit is about going with your intuition, that part of you that is connected to a different, unnamable source of wisdom. It's about a different intention that goes beyond "getting something" but is about "giving something" -- helping, serving, contributing to your fellow human beings. It's about bringing the energy of kindness, care and love -- if that doesn't scare you -- to everything you do and everyone you interact with. As Plato said, "Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle." What the world and business needs now is a lot more gentleness, gentleness starting even in our communication, e-mails we send to people, how we interact with the world. We must remember to be gentle with ourselves and stop the disapproval energy that runs our lives. It's about stopping the "perfection" cycle and giving ourselves permission to be human.

How do we do this? We start with being comfortable with silence, going inside, taking some time to check in with how something is feeling -- does the deal feel right? Does the website design feel in line with your intuition? Does this person you want to hire feel right? We become OK doing nothing, allowing ideas, insights to come through when the mind is not overly busy. We find moments of taking away the incessant noise all around us. Yes, some people call that meditation, but that word is also loaded with connotations of sitting in a lotus position and chanting. Meditation is only about being with yourself, away from any distractions, getting back in touch with a different part of yourself, hearing your deeper truth, re-aligning some aspect of your life. Infusing your life and work with spirit is also about finding your intention for why you are doing what you are doing. What guides your choices and, really, your life? Is it about wanting more or giving more? Power moves through those who serve, not those who are out to get more. Ironically, when you don't focus on getting approval, or money or fame, that's often the time when it comes to you in spades.

Finding your spiritual side is about a bigger sense of meaning as to what we have come here to experience. The best advertisement for the spiritual path isn't about doing a yoga class once a week, wearing a spiritual piece of jewelry or even going to church. The best ad is about being kinder, more compassionate to others, finding any which way to help.

Ask yourself, who needs my help today? You are loaded with gifts, ideas and connections that can help someone else do something good in the world. I ask myself that question every day and in so doing, it's remarkable how many of my challenges and hurdles also get taken care of in parallel. My quiet silent time to be with spirit is what I call a "non-negotiable" (together with my health). This means no one and nothing touches this. I don't start the day before attending to these. They come above everything for me to then be effective in all areas of my life. What are your non-negotiables?

How much spirit is alive in your organization or family or job? What feels right as something to get started on to reconnect with this part of yourself that runs through you, whether you acknowledge it or not? Find your spiritual side, the part of you that never changes and is always there, detached from any drama, and life on the outside becomes calmer. You are then plugged into a different source of energy, not only the "little me" trying to keep everything under control, but the bigger source that powers life, nature, that part we don't understand. That source where anything is possible and we are not limited by disempowering thoughts or beliefs. Nurture that relationship.

Ariane de Bonvoisin shares her change secrets in a free daily e-mail. Her book, "The First 30 Days: Your Guide to Making Any Change Easier," is now available in paperback. Contact her via Twitter at @clickariane or Facebook at
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