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5 Helpful Questions When You're Going Through a Change

Did you know even good change produces stress? If you Google "life crisis units" you'll find a list of events ranked by how stressful they are. Marriage ranks #7, right between "major personal injury or illness" and "getting fired."

Go figure. Good stress or not-so-good, these 5 questions can help make any change less stressful.

What Can I Control?

If you make a list of what you can control, you might be surprised at the strength of your list. And if there are factors you can't control, try adding them to a separate list. What you do with that list is up to you—from crumpling it up, to offering it up, to setting it aside. Just keep circling back to "What can I control?"

Where Have I Succeeded in the Past?

You've been dealing with change your whole life. Remember going from kindergarten to first grade? Back in the day, that was a big deal. What made it hard (besides the fact that you were six, if that) is this: You had no idea what was ahead, but you knew all too well what you were leaving behind.

But you made it anyway. So it goes with most changes—we're called to let go of one thing before we can comprehend and appreciate what's taking its place. Whatever you're going through now, trust that you're going to get through it—as the saying goes, not somehow but triumphantly.

What Does This Make Possible?

Even in the hardest changes imaginable, new possibilities do open up. Be willing to explore that. It's another way to make change less stressful and more meaningful. You don't have to answer this question verbatim.

Example: Years ago when I lost my dear friend Susie, I was too distraught to ask 'What does this make possible?' I simply looked for ways to bring some good out of this life-altering event. In time, I shared my story (and hers) with high school and college students all over the country. It didn't bring her back. But it brought me back—and maybe saved a life or two.

You can read more about Susie in Ultimate Reminders for Everyday Life. Out of all the reminders in the book, the story behind #181 ("Don't make death harder than it is") still draws the most praise.

When change happens, don't be afraid to ask What does this make possible?

What Does This Make Necessary?

What's necessary can be anything from getting more sleep to hiring outside help to getting a whole new set of friends. I hope not—but sometimes you've got to do what you've got to do. Be willing to ask "What does this make necessary?" and follow where it leads.

What's Next?

Bingo. Once you're able, it helps enormously to ask "What's next?" or "Where do we go from here?" Both questions point us toward the future, which is where the action is. And you don't have to figure out what's next all at once. Just figure out your next step.

Even in the hardest changes imaginable, new possibilities do open up. #MondayMorningPepTalk

Gina DeLapa

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Gina DeLapa is America's Ultimate Reminders® Coach, a sought-after speaker, and the proud creator of the Ultimate Reminders® book series. Her wise and witty reminders ("Beware the organization whose response to a burning building is to form a committee") will make you laugh, stir your soul, and inspire your best. If you're not already getting her free Monday-Morning Pep Talk, be sure to sign up now at