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Making change is like a rollercoaster
This metaphor may not work for those of you on the extreme ends of the Rollercoaster Love spectrum. For the next 5 mins, just go with me on this.
Change comes with scares, thrills, ups, downs, waits, dips, screams, cussing, and the occasional unknown wet drop hitting your face.
Picking the coaster
Rollercoasters, like changes, come in all different sizes. They go from kid-friendly where there are no straps at all to ones that might make you black out.
Looking at the rides, you choose what thrill level you are ready for. You may start out light and easy (like a wooden coaster) and work your way up. You may decide to go after the one where the people getting off the ride look like they just saw their parents naked.
You may even have friends dragging you to one that is freaking you out. Or, maybe you are the one dragging them?
What thrill level are you seeking?
Waiting in line
You've picked the ride that has some drops, twists, turns, and loop-de-loops.
Now, you have to wait in line. You probably have a 20-minute wait. Not too bad, but you kind of wish you bought the pass to cut the line because you are starting to panic.
You carefully watch the people getting off the ride for any signs that you should run away. You look at your friends for any sign they are panicking too. If they are, maybe you can talk them into going on a different ride.
Changes are the same. Once you pick a change, that excitement hits but then reality starts to hit. You start thinking about the HOW of it all. You then start looking for a possible way out. You don't know if you'll take the way out, but you at least want to know it is there.
How do you have fun waiting in line?
Selecting the row
It is almost your turn and you have to decide what row you want to sit in.
In the front, you can see everything! There is nothing to hide behind.
In the back, you can feel all the turns, twists, and drops more.
Everywhere else, you can just look at the seat ahead of you.
With making a change, selecting a row is like selecting your level of intensity and focus. Are you going full-on and want to see it all? Are you looking to feel it all? Are you looking to just get through it?
Which row are you selecting?
Ok. It's the big moment. This is the last chance you have to run away. Once you lock in, you are committed.
The bars come down and you are buckled in. You continue to pull, push, and test the safety as much as possible. One last look around to see if you have any path out.
The attendant comes by and does your safety check. You look them over to see if they seem like the type of person to take this seriously. You test it one more time. Maybe you even ask them if it's ok.
The attendant speaks and you can't understand anything he says. You look around to see if anyone else looks worried. They don't so you attempt to keep cool.
Changes have this safety check moment. Maybe it is right before you make an investment or sign the dotted line. Or maybe it is right before you say the commitment out loud to another person.
What are your safety checks?
Climbing the hill
The movement starts. You see the hill in front of you and feel your body lean back.
You think "Could this go any slower?!?!"
You look down "Oh god, why did I look down?"
You grip the safety bar as hard as possible.
Then you breathe. You try and ignore that you are going up and up and up. "OMG When is the hill?"
Then you hear it, the brief silence that comes from the moment the first car leans over the hill. You hear the screams start. It's happening.
A smile starts to form.
With changes, your Gremlins may come in causing doubt. They may ask: Are you sure you want to do this? Is this really going to be fun? When will this be over?
What do you focus on when climbing the hill?
Your smile turns into a wide-mouthed laugh scream as your car plummets over the first hill. You look around and take it all in. You are joined in screams and laughs all around you. Another hill comes but you are excited! You can't wait for that 2nd drop.
You go upside down and wish it lasted a little bit longer. Your mouth is getting dry from all the laughter and screaming.
At no point are you thinking about the safety. You want this ride to keep going. You are so happy you stuck with it!
Changes hit this Weeeee moment when you start to see real outcomes and it just feels so absolutely incredible! They motivate you to keep going and make you so happy you pushed through.
What are your Weeeeeeee moments?
Hitting the breaks
The ride slows and then there is an abrupt stop shaking you back. You sit waiting for the new set of riders to start going up the hill so your group can move up and be let off.
You reflect on what just happened. You laugh with your friends and say "That was so awesome!" You are really happy you did this and are kind of sad it was over so fast.
Not all changes have an abrupt stop but many do. There's either that moment where the change becomes part of the norm, or the moment when you hit the specific goal you've been working toward. That moment of reflection hits for both.
What happens when the ride comes to a stop?
The attendant pushes a button and your safety bars release. You unbuckle and get out.
You still feel that excitement and pride at what you've just experienced.
You walk down the stairs passing people who are waiting in line for the ride. You give them a big smile, trying to communicate how fun it will be for them. Just like you, they don't notice it.
Celebrating milestones in a change, especially when it's done, is important. It is something to be excited about and proud of. You just did that! Celebrate it.
How will you celebrate as you step out?
You and your friends laugh as you look at the funny pictures of you on the ride. You talk about how awesome it was.
You say: "What ride are we doing next?"
You pick another rollercoaster. As soon as that ride is in sight, you start to feel the panic again. You try and calm it by thinking about how awesome the last ride was.
No matter how many changes you get through, the cycle is the same. Some parts of the cycle may be shorter, but they are still there.
So, what ride are you doing next?