I’m fascinated by ferns. I think it’s my inner child. She loves the unfurling of the fronds, their clever symmetry and their resilience. Yet no two ferns are the same. They follow fractal patterns – a form of Nature’s magic. Each part relates to another in perfect alignment and they make the best of their situation, finding the light through the forest canopy.

Why am I bringing them up in this article? Making change stick is a bit like finding your own fern-like qualities. 

Any change journey is like a fern sending out a new arm. Gently, inquisitively, carefully into new spaces. They react to the cycles of light and dark, the weather and what their roots are telling them. But out they go into the world.

As you solidify your own future, you will test each expansion into a new space. Gently, inquisitively, carefully. You react to your cycles – menstrual, weekly and daily – and adapt to meet their various needs. You listen to what your body tells you; if you’re on track, if you need replenishment if you are aligned.

By doing so you start to embody and embed new habits and intentions that will allow you to create and feel more joy.

Ferns are beautifully resilient. They withstand temperature changes, shortages of water or sunshine. Being nibbled at by passing wildlife. Or being cut back by gardeners.

To sustain your changes, you need resilience. The world will move at it’s own pace. Perhaps your ideal role pops up sooner than you expected, your team’s response to your new approach at work isn’t what you expected or your nearest and dearest need to recognise your joy in being the unmasked you.

And what about naysayers? Here are four tactics for resilience in the face of worry warts:

1) Repeat a mini mantra and breathe

Focus your mind on “positive intent, terrible delivery” and breathe slowly and deeply. That removes the “sting” of what was said and allows you to let go of the emotion.

2) Recognise their emotional “hook” and your own

We all have them. Maybe they’re speaking from regret at not following their dream or have been badly burnt doing something similar? Maybe your hook feels like they don’t have your back or they think you’re an idiot? Once you can recognise both of your hooks, you’ve got a chance to explore their point of view.

3) Listen hard and thank them for sharing with you

Don’t dismiss too early; you could be missing something. Listen, thank them and then engage all your curiosity. Check anything you’re not 100% sure you’ve understood through open questions, to encourage them to say more about their point of view. By asking questions, you hold back your reaction or opinion and allow them to clarify or evidence their point of view.

4) Ask them for their help and support

One of the most effective ways to turn a naysayer into a cheerleader is to ask for their help in your change. Giving them space to share their worries, their experiences and their advice. Recognise their mentorship and allow them to feel good about contributing your journey.

That said, be in your Queen – they are one of your advisors, providing data, insight and wisdom. You make the decisions with all the information at hand. 

 

The fractal pattern each fern grows is similar but unique to its community of ferns. It defines itself and sticks to its intentions to be itself from core to tip. It is unashamed of its quirks and kinks. 

You are connected to your peers, your family, your friends, your role models, mentors, advisors, influencers and the list goes on. You are connected around common alignments such as a cause or belief, a goal or intention, or around shared values and commitments.

Yet, you are still unique. No one else is you and that’s your superpower, to use for good.

Finding the core strength to reveal your whole self without fear of judgement or rejection can wobble as you start to branch out and feel into the reactions, opportunities and newness of your journey. 

Take inspiration from the fern’s graceful and serene fronds – they start true to themselves with small fingers that unfurl into smaller fingers that unfurl into smaller…….and as they do this, you almost don’t see the base grow wider and stronger creating a foundation of strength.

The same is true for you. Keep taking small steps that establish your authentic, aligned life – in your home, within your job or business and within your relationships. Before you know it, you will have a strong base of courage, resilience and new motivation to continue.

All of us are on change journeys. I was reminded of this myself over the weekend as I shared some of my tactics, tools and experiences with a friend. I’ve come a long way from the me, who thought love and acceptance came from saying yes to others and ignoring my needs in life. The me, who lived between Mother and Warrioress, with an big dose of Martyr every day. The me who ended up having a fast growing tumour thanks to the stress I’d piled on.

I keep going knowing I am a healthier, boundaried and balanced person, who channels her values into her personal and professional life without fear. Those who matter are still with me, as are new people who love and value me as I am truly meant to be.

And I work with brilliant people who want their life to enable them to experience joy by being and doing their whole authentic self in all aspects of their lives, work and love. Is that you?

Take time end as we approach the end of September and reflect on these four articles on change:

  • – Where are you at?
  • – Who has your back?
  • – What support do you need?

The Haven is always a place for you to get support, inspiration and celebrate your wins. There’s a warm welcome there for you.