How to Stick With Slow Change
This is a feature called Good Thoughts from Good Folks where I ask a few good folks for their good thoughts on a question I’m thinking about. This week’s good folks: Mary Allen Lindemann, Sara Hashim, Amy Stacey Curtis, & Susan Eley.
This week’s question: When change is going slowly, how do you stick with it?
Mary Allen Lindemann is the Co-Owner/Community Builder of Coffee By Design, a sustainably sourced, handcrafted coffee roaster & retailer in Maine.
First and foremost, it is important to surround myself with people who support me and my vision. My tribe, truth tellers, those who remind me when I get down that I always get back up stronger than before.
I have learned over the years to slow things down. Gut instinct initially brings an idea to mind but by the time an idea is presented to the world or put into action, it needs to have been examined from a number of angles which takes time. I have also discovered that when the time is right, good ideas are successful so sometimes, knowing when to pull an idea back and re-present later makes all the difference.
And then there is Led Zeppelin. Music truly does soothe the soul and brings you back to a simpler time…calming the mind when all else fails.
I like to think of my goals as either long haul goals or short haul ones. When change is going slowly, it's often for a long haul goal, which is great because long haul goals often provide the greatest sustainable changes in our lives. I set my expectations differently for these and tell myself that this is going to take a while; I accept it, and so I'm able to take failure differently and celebrate rewards even if they are small.
That's not to say it's easy, but that, coupled with patience, some kindness and a sense of humor when dealing with oneself through transitions is often what gets me through. I also feel it's important to nourish yourself with people who will support you, push you, and laugh with you, especially in times of slow change, when the end is not always in sight.
Sticking to slow change is a component of my work as an installation and video artist. I watched one pile of white sand get smaller, one grain at a time, and the other get larger, one grain at a time, as I counted 562,437 grains over the course of 15 months. I walked at a micro pace down the center yellow line of my road, without stopping, for 9 hours, the sun and shadows creeping from one side of the road, to the other, attempting to walk exactly 90 feet.
For me, sticking to slow change is about seeing my process or concept, whatever it is, from its beginning, through each step, to completion.
Susan Eley is the Founder of Susan Eley Fine Art, a salon-style gallery for contemporary art.
The small changes we affect during our daily grind serve not only to push us closer to achieving our goals, but also cause the ripples and eventual adjustments we make along the path. Like changing tack on a sailboat, some adjustments are barely perceptible and others are dramatic swings. I would say, though, that my goals don't really change, even if the path to get there does.
The key for me is to enjoy the trip down the path, even when I jibe (sticking with the sailing metaphor) in what later I determine was the wrong direction. As long as I’m having fun, I can find the patience for the long haul. Dealing in art is what gets me excited to get up in the morning. I like all of it, even the failures, disappointments and winding, windy ways.
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