First it’s a whisper, then it’s a shout, then it it’s a 2 x 4 to the head.
We’ve all had it happen. It begins quietly, there’s a gentle unease with how things are going and a feeling that things aren’t quite right. Then things get more uncomfortable and clear that change needs to happen. But usually we ignore these two phases.
Then, the 2 x 4 comes, often in the form of a health crisis (as happened to me recently), an unwanted job or relationship change or some other major shift.
A friend of mine calls this the “sound of the death rattle”.
It’s when the current stage you are in is coming to an end.
This concept resonated with me because I associate this “death rattle” metaphor with hearing the call to do the next thing in our lives. I know for me, when I hear the death rattle, I’m usually not ready for it and I resist and resent the change forced upon me as it is often in an unpleasant form by the time it reaches the 2x4 stage.
We often have the feeling of “but I just got comfortable here!” However, change is inevitable, whether we like it or not. So it’s up to us to learn how to embrace it, even when it might make us uncomfortable.
So what do we do when we know change is a-comin’? Here are my top three go-to ways to turn towards a new beginning when you hear that “death rattle.”:
It’s hard to figure out the next step if we’re too busy racing around and filling our days with endless to do’s. Sometimes we need to consciously slow down in order to listen to our inner voice. This might seem counterintuitive, especially if you’re a Type A personality (like me!) and you want to take action, not press pause. Slowing down will help you feel less frantic about next steps and you’ll be able to make more solid and grounded choices about where you’re headed. For me, guided meditations on the Insight Meditation App are incredibly helpful.
Get out of your comfort zone
Start exploring new options and trying new things. You never know what’s right for you until you try. For example, I recently felt the call to start writing. So I signed up for a writing class on the website Master Class. Step out of your normal routine and shake things up a bit. When you get out of your comfort zone, you allow new ideas and fresh experiences to help guide you towards your next step.
Sometimes when we can’t see what lies ahead, we start to doubt ourselves. This is when you need to trust that there’s a reason you’re being called to make this change—even if you don’t know what that reason is yet. That’s where you have to trust that what you’re doing is leading you to what’s right for you. For me, usually it is speaking with others; whether it be a wise friend, a therapist or a coach that helps me see a broader perspective and trust that there are bigger things at play.
I hope these three tips are helpful for you! Are there others that have worked for you? Share in the comments below so that our community can benefit from your wisdom.
Here are some other resources that may help you when you hear “the death rattle” / the call to make a change: