How to Create Our New Normal

There is no question, we’ve been through a lot lately, massive transformation on so many levels. Our lives have abruptly been turned upside down and we’ve been forced to adapt in ways we never knew we could. But we are and we continue to grow in the process. We tested our agility and challenged our ability to change. It’s not always easy when change shows up unexpectedly.  It is certainly more manageable when we are in control of the changing circumstance but that wasn’t the case as 2020 was kicked off with an unexpected call to “shelter in place”. If there’s one thing we can all gain from this pandemic experience is the realization that change will continue to happen, either by choice or by chance, and how we respond to it will have a direct impact on our quality of life.

So, as we are being called to get “back to normal” where we can once again socialize at our leisure, sip coffee on the patio of our favorite coffee shop and embrace our loved ones like we once did, now comes with a sense of caution and uncertainty. The sensation of fear as we begin to go about our daily life is anything but normal.  Now we have to move forward somehow, get back to life as we knew it while taking these extreme precautionary measures and pretending to do the things we always have.  Whether we are aware of it or not, this experience has not only transformed our world from this point forward, it has made an imprint of fear-based emotions, altered our perspectives, has us questioning our level of trust and asking, “What exactly does this “new normal” looks like?”.

If there is anything good that has come out of sheltering in place, it’s that we’ve all had some time to be with ourselves, explore our thoughts about life, and observe our own emotional response to change. The distractions that kept us from dealing with our internal conflicts were ripped out from under our feet.  We are now facing the issues we basically swept under that carpet, be it your relationships, addictions, procrastinations, and everyday avoidances because we have nowhere to run and hide.  If we are honest with ourselves and shine the light on these dark, self-sabotaging patterns of behavior that didn’t serve us well in our “old normal”, then we can transcend them into a new paradigm.  But how? How do we practice such transparency when in the past we could just go to work, or go shopping, or go to school and not have to deal with it?

Change is our greatest teacher but if we don’t get the lesson then what is the point? In order for us to adapt to a positive new normal and evolve into a greater version of ourselves, it helps to understand the Six Stages of Transformation, a simple framework of the cycle we all experience during times like these and whenever change is afoot. Here are the Six Stages of Transformation and a snippet of where we are and where we are heading as it relates to transforming normalcy:

The first stage of transformation is Realize. Nothing can be transformed without first having awareness.  We’ve all been thrown into this stage when COVID19 became our reality and we’ve been left with dealing with our own emotions, our own fears and concerns of these unprecedented times. As we navigate through the chaos, we have to realize with truth, and “real eyes”, what specific changes that are occurring in our lives. When we see past the denial and destructiveness that changes like these can sometimes expose, we need to realize, bring into reality, a more desirable outcome. Stephen Covey said it best, “Begin with the end in mind.” It may seem too easy, but so many of us go through this cycle of transformation without even knowing it. Once we admit things are shifting, see the light at the end of the tunnel, the easier it will become.

The second stage of transformation is Release. Transformation cannot occur without first letting go of something. It is essential for us to create ample space for the elements of our new normal to fill.  With the case of this pandemic, much was released without our permission. Our freedom to be, do and have whatever we wanted was stripped from our lives. We all felt the void inside us, the emptiness that was once our daily routine and the feeling of “missing something” became a daily activity. Whenever we decide to change an aspect of our lives, we automatically release what’s not working. In this case, those things are being released for us, some good and some may not be so good, either way, we have to deal with the circumstances and get comfortable with this awkward hollow feeling.  As uncomfortable as it may be, the hard truth is, this is what transformation feels like.

The third stage of transformation is Rebound. This stage is much like rebounding in basketball, which we all sadly missed out on this past March, when we need to take the ball where it bounces and bring it back to our end of the court. For some, this may be to sit in sadness or silence while the ball comes our way and for others it means taking action, jumping for the ball, protecting it from the opposition and running with it. Whatever your experience has been is okay. There is no right or wrong way to rebound from change. What we need to be aware of in this stage is to acknowledge the grieving period whenever something in our lives has been lost. To allow ourselves to feel whatever it is we are feeling and to nurture ourselves through the process.  This is a natural part of transitioning into our new normal. Sure, we can white-knuckle through it and ignore those emotional reactions, but it will serve us better when we allow time to recover, rejuvenate and refresh our mind, body and spirit. Our well-being has been tampered with however, with some self-discipline and self-nurturing we can gain control of our life, set ourselves up to take the game-winning shot that propels us toward a more beneficial version of normal.   Allow yourself time to rebound in healthy ways.

The fourth stage of transformation is Reinvent. On the map of the world, there is a little icon saying, “you are here”. A new version of yourself is unavoidable at this point. Being your best self may have been a challenge under the circumstances…until now. What will you create for yourself now? In this exciting phase of recreating your life, we get to choose what is next for us. We know things have changed, we’ve let go of some aspects that we can’t take with us and we’ve recovered from the shock of it all. Now we slip our feet into the shoes of the unknown, take that first step and see how it fits. This is the time to put into action our new beliefs and behaviors whether it’s a greater appreciation for family time, managing time while working remotely or using your time more wisely.  You get to choose who to become now and how to best spend the most valuable commodity we have, our time. Life has given us the flexibility to make these choices now and we’ve all been given the freedom to reinvent our lives. Remember that grand vision in the realize stage? It’s time to live it. This is the practice field for our new normal where we find balance in what was and what is. Our new normal is right around the corner as we boldly step onto the path of empowerment.

The fifth stage of transformation is Resurrect.  Once you’ve put into practice your new, improved life, bounced back from the massive turn of events and are able to look back on these times with a new perspective, then you have truly resurrected, risen from the ashes of fear and uncertainty, into that highest version of yourself and what has become your new life. This phase may take some time for us to fully feel like we have our lives back in order but one thing is for sure, you know what you want, you know what you don’t want and at this point in the game, you are not settling for anything less. Understanding how the natural cycle of transformation works, it is encouraging to know this day is in the not too distant future for us all. Our economy is going through its own version of transformation. Rest assured, this glorious stage is upon us, much like anticipating the changing seasons. Those who reach this stage of transformation first will become role-models for us all.

The sixth and final stage of transformation is Respond. Mastering transformation is an art, life is the canvas and we all have a paintbrush in our hands. With the success of navigating change comes with a great responsibility. And that is responding to the needs of others who may still be struggling through the process. I mean, what is the point of going through all this and making it to this point if we can’t share our personal experience to inspire someone else? This is the stage where true leaders are born and without hesitance, they step up to the plate to make a positive impact within their circle of influence. People become the priority over everything else and offering a helping hand for others becomes second nature. Whether at work or at home, having the awareness of the internal suffering of those around us will open opportunities for compassion and healing. Let us all be aware of the needs of our youth during this time, whether you’re a parent or not, we can all take a leadership role to empower our young people with kindness and words of encouragement.  They too are experiencing the pain of transformation and these memories of their childhood are something none of us have ever had to look back on.  This is not a normal childhood experience and it’s important that we remember this when conversing with our children. This final stage is a courageous call to action. You are the stone being thrown into the waters, creating the ripple effect of humankind for generations to come.   Use your power wisely and often.

In closing, I will say this, the transformation process isn’t always easy, but I don’t think anyone can argue that it is always worthwhile especially when we can make a positive impact when all is said and done. May this message come with the reassurance that we will all resurrect from this with the vision of transforming into a greater version of humanity. We have all witnessed so many blessings during this sacred, historical time. Be sure to keep those in your pocket as you travel on your journey to normalcy.  And whether you’re on the first lap or approaching the finish line, I’d like to be the first to congratulate you in discovering your “new normal”. I applaud you for your dedication and commitment toward creating a better world for the human race, starting with your own.  Life is what we make of it. We’ve got this. Believe in yourself. Believe in each other. Believe you can.

Angel Carlton is the author of Dedicated to Destiny and Staying Afloat During Tides of Change, Keynote Speaker, Podcast Host of Leading the Way Today, Transformational Leadership Coach, Founder of Power Up People! Inc. and Co-Founder of Leadership America.

The Six Stages of Transformation is intellectual property and cannot be published or produced elsewhere without the written consent of Angel Carlton and/or Power Up People! Inc.

From Struggle to Striving

By Angel Carlton

“The deeper the pain, the greater the GROWTH.” ~Angel Carlton

Several years ago I experienced some major life changes and went through some tough times.  I meditated and journaled on a regular basis to manage my emotions and keep my sanity. Through those journal entries came a consistent message of hope and an explanation of where I’ve been, where I am heading and the most profound idea, why it was happening. I captured these messages and created a framework so that I can better understand the process I was experiencing during each life-altering change being tossed my way. From there, I was guided to write a book with this message and seek a publisher.  So, I did just that and the very first publisher (Changemakers Books) that I sent my proposal to accepted it which, from what I understand, never happens! I am proud to say the time has come and it’s finally hitting the shelves of booksellers all over the world.

I have to be honest here, although the content of this book came through me several years ago with the intention to help others navigate life’s rapid tides of change the same way it helped me, I have continued to experience incredible growth since then. Despite what you may see on my Facebook posts, life’s challenges didn’t stop showing up.  The truth is, change always in motion.  And the more I talk to people, the more I realize so many of us are experiencing the same struggles, stresses and symptoms of transformation. Studies show the pace of change is doubling every year and because our brains are not programmed to adapt to change, it creates stress. Just look at the news! 

It was when the publisher recently sent me my first copy of my own book and read it in its entirety that I gained the perspective I needed for me to prevail through the past few years. It’s almost as if I wrote the book to my future self, the person I am today who needed to hear these messages again. I share this because I truly feel this message is meant to be shared. My purpose is clear, to help people navigate change so that they transform into the next greatest vision of themselves…starting with myself.

So, as I am in the process of introducing my baby to the world, please join me in the celebration of welcoming my new book, Dedicated to Destiny, A Pursuit of Personal Growth, Prosperity & Purpose. It’s about adapting to change in this crazy, hectic world of ours. The book explains how to maintain our focus on a greater purpose, a grander vision of ourselves, to help us get through those tough times and thrive as a result of it all. I introduce the 6 Stages of Transformation that helped me move through some of life’s most horrific challenges, a natural process that if we pay attention to it becomes a powerful life tool.

I remain a student of this process and the more change that occurs in my life, the easier it gets…almost to the point where I embrace it and become wildly curious about the outcome.  There is a confidence in knowing my struggles are part of the journey toward a striving life experience. I invite you to explore the messages for yourself and share them with those around you so that we may create a more compassionate, kind and caring world. Visit:  Dedicated to Destiny to grab your copy.

#ibelieveinyou #changeisgood #dedicatedtodestiny
Continue reading “From Struggle to Striving”

Do You Suffer from the Open-Door Syndrome?

open door syndrom

Choosing to open or close the door when opportunity knocks, will determine the course of your life. The clearer your vision, the easier the choice.   

Written by Angel Carlton

Imagine a path without borders…it would be difficult to determine where the path lies, which direction you were heading and unidentified guidelines would certainly make reaching the destination a bit more challenging. The same goes for traveling the path of life. Setting solid boundaries is one of the most powerful behaviors those seeking a greater purpose, can embrace.

When we fail to set boundaries for ourselves, we end up with a case of what I call, the Open-Door Syndrome. When you’re not guarding the door of your destiny, then you’ll find yourself walking through the door of temptation. Once you become aware of the doors you’ve opened, and learn which ones benefit you, you can then be empowered to choose to either walk in or walk away. Only then can you begin to gently close the doors that will not take you to your highest vision. Some doors you may find yourself slamming shut, others you may want to keep cracked open if a future opportunity for growth exists. Either way, this requires some honest self-reflection, communication and humility on your part.

Perhaps you will recognize these doors in your life:

  1. Revolving door – when you make the same relationship choices, allowing the same type of people in your life over and over again, one enters another on leaves, still keeping you in the middle of nowhere. Nothing changes until your choices change. This is the behavior shift that will propel you to the next phase.
  2. Sliding door – only opens from one side – either they let you in or you let them in, but seldom is there mutual respect. Be very cautious with these relationships. One-sided relationships are energy vampires.
  3. Swinging door – not clear on who is entering, you never know which way the door will swing, people coming and going from your life. If this is an occurrence in your life, then it’s time to set some strict boundaries and begin to control who enters next.
  4. Screen door – simply keeps the bugs out, but not quite sturdy enough to keep out the thieves in the night luring to steel your dreams.
  5. Locked door – where you let no one in and trust very few people, the barriers limit you to any opportunities and you stay stagnant because you’re not willing to take any risks, or you may fear any type of change.
  6. Basement door – when your door opens to a downward staircase to only those people who bring you down, lowers your energy and keeps you in the dark.
  7. Rooftop door – lifts you up higher, takes you to a place where there is no ceiling, feeling of limitless possibilities. Imagine you’re on the top of a skyscraper, when you open this type of door to possibility, you have great perspective of your life and clearly see where you’re heading and with whom.

Recognizing the type of doors you open throughout your life will help you to manage the “Open Door Syndrome”. It’s all about creating awareness and setting healthy boundaries so your life path is more defined. Regardless of the doors you open or shut, I found that this simple exercise will help to “clear the weeds” along the path. Reconnecting with the people who have contributed to your journey thus far will help accelerate the transformation process.

Make a conscious effort to reach out to those people who have served you in some way, believed in you and supported you. Just a simple thank you for that act of kindness, brings them back into your stream of consciousness. What this does is create an energetic support system. I truly believe, we place certain people in our lives with a higher strategic insight, knowing they will deliver the perfect experience for us to evolve at that particular time on our human journey. They have a right to know how they contributed to your personal growth and will feel empowered to know this truth.

Angel Carlton is the Author of 2 books, Staying Afloat During Tides of Change, and Dedicated to Destiny, the Founder of Power Up People!, Motivational Speaker, Transformation Coach, serves as a Director for the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp.com) and is a Radio Show co-Host on Leading the Way (KLIF.com). Learn more at www.AngelCarlton.com.

 

Align Your Allies

allign allies

By Angel Carlton

Outgrowing your relationships is a symptom of personal evolution.

Times of change are life’s monumental moments of transitioning into the next greatest version of yourself, and who you have at your side will have a direct impact on the outcome. Seemingly, it is during times of change, where we evaluate everything in life, including our relationships. Typically, when we “outgrow” a relationship, we automatically want to blame the other person for what they’ve done or not done to maintain our happiness. The truth is, more than likely, they haven’t changed at all. They are the same person they’ve always been. You’re the one who is evolving, transforming, and growing. Suddenly, that person doesn’t seem to be a fit any longer. This is not the time to blame, this is the time to be accountable for your own evolution. With this growth comes a responsibility to be honest, respectful, and compassionate with those around you, as they might not fully understand the changes you’re experiencing.

Be selective as to who you let on the bus that is taking you to your destiny, and who you should be waving to out the window as you parade on by. Some people are not yet equipped to go where you’re heading. There’s no need to discard people who you love and care about. Simply, share your new approach toward life, lead by example, and they will either follow or get out of your way. To help you determine who is destiny-worthy, make a list of all of your relationships, and put them into one of these four categories:

  1. The first category contains those relationships that empower, encourage, and support your highest vision. You usually walk away from these people feeling energetic, happy, and capable. These are healthy relationships to have in your life. You want to surround yourself with these people as much as possible.
  2. The next category are those people that you either admire, envy, and even judge. These are significant because these messengers are here to show you something about yourself that you may have forgotten or haven’t noticed yet. Pay close attention to these relationships, as they bring great insights on what to release during this very important phase of transformation.
  3. The next quadrant contains relationships that require much giving of your energy. These are the people in life that you support, you encourage, and you empower on a regular basis. The fact that you’re helping someone may boost your energy temporarily, yet after a while this can drain you. These types of relationships can create an energetic imbalance in your life. This is why it’s so important for you to give to yourself first, so that you have enough energy overflowing to give unto others without sacrificing your own enlightenment.
  4. The fourth quadrant of relationships is what I call GTHO (get the heck out!). The “GHetTO” is no place for anyone to be. These relationships are destructive, can be abusive, and are very disempowering. In most cases, these people are unsupportive, try to diminish your power, keep you “small,” and discourage you from any growth whatsoever, because if you change, that means they may have to change also, and for some, change can be very scary. It would be to your benefit to distance yourself from this type of unhealthy relationship. Keep in mind, it may take more time to rebound from this type of release, because it occupied so much of your energy, and tainted your self-belief system. In the long run, you will be stronger, more secure, and you’ll become highly self-sufficient once you get back into the flow of life.

There will be a time during the cycle of transformation when you may have to clean up some relationships, and create ones that serve you and your highest vision. When you become intentional about who you align with, you will notice an acceleration on your journey, otherwise your path may be filled with delays, distractions, and dead ends. Remember, those who are truly dedicated to destiny, are on the road less travelled. If it were comfortable and easy, everyone would be doing it. As Roger Staubach once said, “There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.”

 

Angel Carlton is the author of two books, Staying Afloat During Tides of Change: Introducing the 6 Stages of Transformation, & Dedicated to Destiny: A Pursuit in Personal Growth, Prosperity & Purpose (To be published in 2017), the founder of Power Up People!, a motivational speaker, Transformation Coach, AND she serves as a Director for the Institute for Corporate Productivity & Radio Show Host on Leading the Way (klif.com).

Symptoms of Transformation

dischargePrescription

“Change is that uncomfortable ailment that requires a prescription of patience, love and self-awareness. “ ~Angel Carlton

When we think a cold might be coming on, we may feel a headache, stuffy nose, cough or sore throat. When we recognize something out of the ordinary with our health, there are certain symptoms that alarm us that something might not be right. At that time, we might typically consult a doctor if our health doesn’t improve. The same goes for our emotional health during times of turmoil or transformation in our daily lives. Yet, when was the last time you sought help to recover from life’s unpredictable circumstances?

When we begin to recognize the symptoms of the transformation cycle, or signs of changing times, we can administer a prescription and navigate that change in a healthy manner. However, if you continue to ignore the signs of a misalignment in life and choose to white-knuckle through the process, the diagnosis may worsen and so might your level of stress which leads to disease and illness.   This type of stress has a domino effect where it impacts your productivity at work, and that may lead to yet another layer of unwanted stress.  When change is not dealt with properly, you can see how things can easily spiral out of control.

Unexpected change is why 45% of our society lives under extreme stress, according to a study conducted by Forbes. Statistically, that is nearly half of our circle of friends, our neighbors and co-workers! We know from watching the news what unaddressed stress can do. It can be very dangerous! That is why it is imperative to recognize the symptoms associated with change so that we can diagnose the issue, release the stress and prescribe a healthy remedy of self-awareness.

Whenever a tragic event occurs, like a job loss, broken relationship or death in the family, we are initially jolted into a state of shock, what I call the Realize Stage.  These events often serve as directional signs, pointing you to take another direction in some aspect of your life.  If you’ve ever been there, you can easily identify with what I am talking about. It’s when we begin to ask those profound questions about life’s purpose. These phases are a cyclical pattern of human personal evolution, and, when we are aware of them, they can bring a sense of peace and harmony to the trials and tribulations that life delivers. When we learn to identify the lessons from life’s rollercoaster ride, we gain a healthier understanding of our journey, our relationships, and most importantly, ourselves.

It is important to know what transformation (or some might refer to as “an awakening”) feels like so you understand what you’re experiencing is perfectly natural. It also helps to get a penthouse perspective of your path, by reviewing where you’ve been, where you are and where you’d like to go. Let’s take a look at the first of The 6 Stages of Transformation and a few examples of the symptoms you may experience as you respond to the change or event happening in your life (these may vary depending upon the type of event or circumstance).

  • A feeling of lack of purpose
  • Close relationships begin to feel unfulfilling
  • Feeling disconnected from the “norm” and a sense of not belonging
  • A strong desire to be alone and self-reflect; isolation
  • An interest in understanding death, and what happens to our soul when we die
  • Searching and seeking answers for the true meaning of life
  • A (An) unexpected loss that generates a sense of “life is never going to be the same again”
  • A calling to do or be something totally different and out of the ordinary
  • A feeling like you need to contribute to something greater; an urge to make a difference
  • An attraction toward books, videos, seminars, webcasts, and other material on holistic/spiritual/metaphysical topics
  • Music begins to speak to you; lyrics seem to bring messages
  • Signs begin to show up in unexpected places—as numbers, for example
  • People, sometimes strangers, show up as messengers during this time
  • “Coincidences” occur more regularly and are more noticeable
  • You feel a strong desire for a fresh start
  • A sharpened sense of self-awareness and perspective of life

Whether you resonated with one or all of these symptoms of personal change, remember to be kind to yourself as you move through any difficult time. Become the observer of your life journey and recognize when others might be going through difficult times. Rest assured, life’s ups and downs are a reflection of the natural order of everything.  So, take your doctor’s orders…embrace change with a healthy curiosity, apply a dosage of patience and follow up with self-nurturing kindness.

Angel Carlton is the Author of 2 books, Staying Afloat During Tides of Change, and Dedicated to Destiny, the Founder of Power Up People! Inc. (PowerUpPeople.net), Motivational Speaker and Transformation Coach.  Angel also serves as a Sales Director for the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp.com), a human capital research firm that discovers the people practices that drive high performance.

Marching to the Beat of a Different Drum

Embracing-Change-drum

What would your life be like if you truly believed that all change happens for your benefit? Would that make you break out into a happy dance? Well, get your dancing shoes ready because the more aware you become of life’s unpredictable circumstances, the quicker you will see how change always works to your advantage.

Understanding how change occurs…

Let’s zoom our lens and focus in for a moment on how change occurs. My mantra is change is sometimes difficult but always worthwhile. Once I realized that change was inevitable, I then began to embrace the flow in which change occurs, and suddenly life began to take on a whole new meaning. When I dug deep to get to the core of what causes changes in our lives, I broke it down into four categories: an Event, through Engagement, an Epiphany, or an Essential. Here is a simple break down and examples of each cause:

  1. Event ~ These are life-altering events that outcomes are seldom prepared for, such as a death of a loved one, birth of a child, divorce, marriage, accident, or health or financial crisis. These events cause a sudden awakening and “reality check” forcing us to take action. Even when considering happy occasions, like a vacation for example, the anticipation is often more exciting than the event itself. So when reality seeps in, it can be quite an awakening. Detach from the outcome and you will never be disappointed.
  2. Engagement ~ These changes are caused by being engaged with other people—our relationships. We either receive or reject feedback, criticism, or a personal opinion from another that opens our eyes for us to see ourselves in a different light. On the other hand, when we are engaged with others, we find that we either admire them and see a reflection of our own potential, or we recognize a shadow side and can admit we sometimes possess the same ugly quality. This is typically a part of ourselves we realize would be beneficial if changed. These messengers, who hold a mirror up for you to see yourself differently, cause us to react either for the better or for the worse. This change can occur in the form of a disagreement, a break-up, experiencing new love, interacting with colleagues, or parental, spousal, sibling, and offspring issues.
  3. Epiphany ~ The “aha” moment when clarity comes shining through those rose-colored glasses you’ve been looking through. An epiphany-type change occurs with the power of a single thought, like a truth revealed based on a message, self-discovery, or a breakthrough. Trust that these thoughts are coming from a higher place, and are not to be ignored. Remember, truth is sometimes absurd when first heard.
  4. Essential ~ This change is more of a necessity that is intentionally made from your internal decision-maker and stems from a need to improve your life physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. This change in mindset occurs for your survival; it’s an alteration in your belief system or recovery from a life that hasn’t served you. Change is the only alternative. It is typically essential for change to occur for those suffering from addictions, abusive relationships, or a health issue.

One way to break down barriers caused by unexpected change is to generate awareness around how change occurs. Ask yourself, how am I responding to these changes? Rather than allowing that change to stop you in your tracks, or set you back, shift your perspective and march to a beat of a different drum. Recognize what type of change is occurring so that you quickly rebound and use that event, circumstance, or breakthrough as a launch pad toward a happier, more balanced and joy-filled life.

 

Angel Carlton is the Author of Staying Afloat During Tides of Change, the Founder of Power Up People! (PowerUpPeople.net), Public Speaker and a Transformation Facilitator for individuals, companies and organizations.

 

Learning to Love Change

sunset-heart-sandBy Angel Carlton

We embrace “opportunities” but reject change. Change is merely an opportunity we have yet to discover. Change is simply our higher self, reminding us to live our magnificence to create a life of significance.   To fully embrace this truth, it’s helpful to first understand the reason behind why things change in our lives and the struggles we have to endure. Let us become aware of how is change generated in our lives so that we may learn to embrace its meaning and take from it the lessons of love change delivers.

The first step toward embracing change is changing your perspective toward it. Change, simply put, is to alter, modify, or make to become different. We know change is happening in the world, in our lives, and in the lives of everyone around us. But how well are we coping with these changes? Just take a look at the news, the violence, stress and anger all around us, locally and globally. According to a study conducted by Forbes, 45% of society is living under “extreme stress”! That’s nearly half of your circle of friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors who are on the brink of a breakdown. Surely this is an indication we desperately need a way to adapt to our changing world—and sooner than later! It’s time we begin to see these changes as opportunities to gain a better understanding, learn from them and utilize the lessons so that we become a better and stronger society. Let us no longer look at ourselves as victims in an increasingly destructive world, often with a sense of helplessness. Instead, let us stand up, be strong, and move forward as a driver of change, a generator of positivity, in hopes of changing the focus on the lens of which we view the world.

What generates change?

Understanding how that change is generated will help you get to the core of what the purpose, lesson, or gift each change or circumstance delivers. There are three categories to best describe how change occurs within our lives: from Happenstance, through Intention, or by Default. Recognizing which category each one falls into is the primary key to embarking on the path to positive change.

The first generator of change, Happenstance, is when change just seems to happen, be it negative or positive. Some people grow and evolve without even being aware of the changes that are causing the growth. Some of them seem to have the “Midas touch,” where everything they touch turns to gold; they flow through life, usually the happy-go-lucky types that have a positive attitude about everything. Then there are some people who seem to have “bad luck”— those whom simply can’t buy a break and forever find themselves in a rut. So while we are all creating our own experiences, some people know it and others walk through life completely clueless about this amazing power we all possess.

The next group contains those who change with deliberate Intention. They are determined to seek ways to improve their lives and strive daily for a more fulfilled life. These are the individuals who have realized there is more to life than going to work, making money, sleeping, and eating. These folks realize there is a greater vision, and as a result of change they’ve had a glimpse of life’s truer purpose many times through the eyes of change. This glimpse has sometimes been referred to as a “spiritual awakening.” When this occurs, it’s like the healthiest obsession one could possibly imagine. Everything in life becomes a quest to conquer more of that same feeling of clarity, truth, and meaning.

Finally, change is generated by Default. These people usually have an unexpected experience or traumatic event that forces them to wake up and see life through different lenses. They grow because they have to. For example, the death of a loved one will often force people into a life change. It’s understandably not a pleasant experience, but those who discover a healthy coping mechanism will move through these unhappy times and emotionally be stronger on the other side.

These are what promotes change in our lives…Happenstance, Intention, Default and when we Embrace change, (HIDE is the acronym) life truly does become an adventure. There really is no reason to “hide” behind change any longer. Change is what gives us the ultimate human experience. Become a master of change and your life will become a masterpiece.

Angel Carlton is the Author of Staying Afloat During Tides of Change, the Founder of Power Up People! (PowerUpPeople.net), Public Speaker and a Transformation Facilitator for individuals, companies and organizations.