The last part of the book is dedicated in detail to the change cycle. Basically, all the stages of the cycle that takes you from where you are, to where you are supposed to be.
In the interest of time, I will just relay a summary of this part. The book is really engaging, interesting and inspirational, so I really recommend you to buy it and read it in its entirety, if you are stuck in your life and are in desperate need to find a way out of it, but don’t know where to start.
Before we get into the details of the change cycle, we need to understand why a desire to change is prompted in the first place. She calls this the “catalytic event” – something that happens that triggers a major life transition, something that revolutionizes life as you know it and ends up redefining the way you see yourself. This event can take the shape of:
- shock – a sudden change that comes from outside you and not from changes you’ve made in your own thinking
- opportunities – this is a chance that is presented to you unexpectedly, when you encounter the possibility of making a huge jump toward the life your essential self wants to live
- transitions – these develop in a slow pace, and they come from inside you, rather than from the environment. It usually begins deep down, the minute you set out to live a life that doesn’t resonate with your essential self
Once either of the three above hit you in a way or the other, the cycle of change will begin. No matter what you try to do to stop it, the cycle will begin on its own and throw you into a whirlwind of change, that happens in the below four steps:
- DEATH and REBIRTH: it is called square one, because everyone who goes through this feels as they are going back to exactly that: square one. Starting all over, as if anything they have done or experienced before, suddenly evaporated. During this time, you mourn the old life and begin to explore your new one. It gives you the chance to start from scratch and chose your new identity that resonates more with your essential self. This phase will slowly allow you to free yourself from social pressures and focus on what you feel inside. Follow your instincts and they will take you on a journey to reach your north star
- DREAMING and SCHEMING: once you left your old life behind and completed your grieving process, you will start having ideas you couldn’t have conceived of before the catalytic event changed everything. At first, your ideas will be impractical and idealized, but the more you move into this phase, your dream will gradually become more solid, because you will be paying attention to your inner cues and you will feel the need to make a plan. You will create a blueprint for your new life, starting from a vision and idea, gradually moving into the real world
- THE HERO’S SAGA: now that you have dreamt about your new life and made a plan, it is time for action. This part of the cycle it’s the most frustrating, as you will be forced to transform ideas into action. And when this happens, you might realize that some, or all of it, doesn’t work. No matter how much time you spend detailing a plan in square two, you never really know what problems you’ll face when you finally put the plan into action. That is why it’s so hard. You will encounter failure, impostor syndrome and often you will fall back to square one, having to start all over again. But this doesn’t mean that your dreams are misguided, or that they won’t come true. It just means you will have to modify your plan from square two, maybe more than once. Trial and error, until you don’t find the right fit.
- THE PROMISED LAND: once you planned and executed, it is time to gather the fruits of your hard work. Square four is about tending to the life you created and that you worked so hard to achieve. The change process now becomes slow and steady, you will not have to think about learning anything dramatically new: your job is now to refine and perfect operations so that they work more and more smoothly. Just don’t think it will last forever: as you change, your life will to, so you need to ensure that you keep everything up to date and maintain your new situation, to ensure you don’t have another catalytic event that will send you right back to square one…unless you want to
The most important learnings that I gathered from this book are not rocket science, if you really think of it. When your life is out of balance, you feel it: your body doesn’t feel right, you mind is numbed, your character alters, your energy levels hit a low, your mood is swinging like there is no tomorrow. Your whole self is sending you signals that it is time for a change. All you have to do is listen, and leave out any outside voices or influences that might try to force you to silence your inner thoughts. You just need to follow your guts and your instinct and consciously take action to make a change and follow your inner voice. The path won’t be easy or without obstacles, it will be a lonely road that you will have to ride on your own, but the reward on the other side, will be your real and new life waiting for you: where you will be who you are meant to be, who you really want to be, doing what you really want to do, surrounded by who really means to you and supported you.
Change is hard, no one ever said it was easy. But that is why so many people give up on it, and prefer to stay where they are, though miserable. The choice is yours. Your north star is guiding you, shining the light on your path. All you need to do is take that first step towards the light, and keep going.