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  • Ricka Robb Kohnstamm

How do you actively welcome uncomfortable change?

Some change is predictable and comfortable - children going back to the classroom where they will again be surrounded by community, returning to familiar routine after a break, or perhaps noticing (with relief) as a baby settles into a regulated sleep schedule.

This kind of change is welcome and anticipatory. Bring it on.

But welcoming change that is uncomfortable? That is much more difficult.

  • Leaving a long-term employer without knowing what comes next...

  • Retiring, but not in the way or at the time you planned, leaving you feeling deeply rattled and longing for structure...

  • Walking straight into confronting long-standing family conflict, without guarantee of resolution...

  • Turning towards an overwhelming medical diagnosis...

  • Staffing, once again, an ICU full of critically ill and unvaccinated patients...

  • Considering being vulnerable in relationship with someone new...

Change, both comfortable and uncomfortable, is normal and constant and necessary for growth. Uncomfortable change (you may notice if you look back over your life experience) is a particularly powerful force propelling us forward - getting us from "here" to "what comes next..."

It pays to consider how we might actively welcome, instead of avoid, the steep uphill climb through uncomfortable change, in order to move closer to "what comes next".

Consider these steps...

Ground yourself as you start the journey and reground along the way. Start where you are, with what you know. Walk around the block, have coffee and laugh with a friend, be in nature, eat whole foods, allow your mind to quiet by listening to calming music, get enough sleep, put your screen down, practice yoga nidra. Get solid and grounded. Make it your job. Focus. Instead of investing in something new, come back to what works.

Set an intention aligned with your values. While we can't see the end of the story (or often even the end of the chapter and sometimes even the end of the paragraph), set an intention, as you begin uncomfortable change, aligned with your values. Write it down. Put it where you see it over and over again.

  • I will be honest with myself about how I feel, no matter where this story goes.

  • I remember that I am courageous, even when I am afraid.

  • I value balance and consciously choose to create time to be with friends, as well as time to be alone, in support of my journey.

Let go of the tight grasp to what you think you know and prepare to be surprised. Soften your desperate grasp on the past, to what you know, to what you think the ending of the story should be. Soften. Loosen. Let go... and welcome in the spaciousness that comes with not knowing. Turn towards, relax, welcome. Exhale. And then notice what happens.

Uncomfortable change comes unbidden to all of us, over and over again, whether we welcome it or not. It is normal and essential. Learning to welcome it, instead of avoiding it, allows it to take us where we are meant to go, become who we are meant to be, live our fullest lives.

Actions, aligned with values, support optimal health.


Hello, I'm Ricka.

Ricka Kohnstamm Executive & Physician Coach Profile Photo

I'm a Nationally Board Certified (NBC-HWC) Integrative Health and Wellbeing Coach. I specialize in working with physician leaders, corporate leaders, non-profit executives and their families to navigate complex work and personal issues so they can strengthen their relationships, heal, and feel hopeful about the future again. 



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