From Party Girl to CEO: How to Deal with Change
By Bri’Ann Stephens
Change is one of the most difficult things we go through as people and especially as women. The funny thing about change is it's inevitable. No matter who you are or what stage of your life you're in, it's just that— a stage, and it's bound to change.
What most people don't know is that change can be like a cool breeze on a summer's day. I went from clubbing, partying, and drinking every night (not to mention the drugs, strip clubs, and lesbian relationships) to owning a company, sharing the word of God, and being in a community of destiny chasers.
How? Simple. It's a three step process. Acknowledge the need for change. Accept the change. Find peace with change.
There's a story in the Bible many may be familiar with, the story of Moses and the Israelites. What was meant to be an eleven-day journey to the Promised Land, took forty years! Something that was meant to be so simple, was turned into a difficult task.
I was like the Israelites. Instead of acknowledging, accepting, and finding peace with change, I ignored it, fought it, and made myself believe it was unnecessary.
We all struggle with change. It is the way we deal with it that sets us apart.
I was an extreme party girl. I would be drunk before I got to the party, take drugs when I got to there, and even encourage others to do just as I was doing. Not only was I on the wrong path, but I encouraged others to follow me.
Many of my friends were strippers. I dated women and didn't mind having sex with them because I convinced myself "it's not real sex." On top of that, I was disobedient to my parents. My behavior wasn't an experiment; it was my lifestyle for 5 years. For 5 years of my life, I convinced myself I was happy and that somehow I would be successful.
One thing I know now is that most people are okay with their lifestyle as long as it's the popular thing to do. Standing out has always been a trend – see what I did there.
I knew it was time to change when my circumstances defined my happiness. My happiness became dependent on if I had money, if my current relationship was in a good place, or if I had something to do. We all have different happiness detectors – things that influence our happiness. You have to identify the things in your life that make you happy. Are those things good things?
Let me rephrase, if those things were taken away, would they be worth your happiness? Would you still be happy? If you didn't have money, your job, your boyfriend, your husband, those drugs, your parents’ approval, your children’s approval, would you still be happy? If the answer is no, then it's time for a change. If the answer is no, a change is coming whether you like it or not, it's inevitable.
My problem was not that I didn't acknowledge I needed a change in my life. I knew I needed a change once started becoming depressed, more than usual.
As women, we all go through those times when we just cry, sometimes even for no reason. However, I was crying almost every day.
I wasn't happy and I knew I needed to change. But, I didn't accept the change. I would talk to God in my head and I would tell him what I wanted to do. I would try to negotiate with Him, compromise if you will.
I would tell God, I will do this, if you do that. I began to pray more and read more. I started to minimize the things I was doing that I shouldn't have been doing.
But, I would not accept that I needed a complete change because it didn't correlate with the plans I already mapped out for myself. I was living lukewarm, one foot in the world and one foot in the spirit. It wasn't healthy at all.
It wasn't until I accepted the change that things started to happen and I begin to love life. How do you accept the change? Be honest with yourself about your struggles. Be honest with the fact that you're not living the way that you should and that you need a change. The more you fight it, the worse you'll feel.
Now, I will say finding peace was the hardest thing for me.
Imagine yourself on a road with all of your friends and the things you love, similar to a parade. You're all walking the same way, doing the same thing, all in one big unison.
Now, imagine yourself turning the opposite direction and the parade is still going on.
Well, the parade goes on your entire life and you have to continue to walk the opposite direction.
How does that sound? Terrible. I know. But, you have to find peace with it.
This was the hardest thing for me because I had to not only leave things behind, but also people. These people didn't encourage my change, they actually made me feel bad for changing. Some days it was hard, some days I would give in to remind them that I still loved them.
I did not find peace until I made up in my mind that I loved them but I loved me more. When I made myself a priority in my life, I found peace with walking in the opposite direction.
The more I walked in the opposite direction, the more I found like-minded individuals along the way. The more I walked, the more the path even began to change. God showed me where I should have been and what I should have been doing all along. I was on an entire new journey and I loved it more than anything in my past.
Find peace in doing what is best for you and don't look back. How do you know you have peace? You feel better and it becomes a little easier. Once I chose myself, I felt amazing! I started to take care of me.
I did things that truly made me happy. Walking in my purpose came so easy for me. Ask God for peace. If you still feel uneasy about what you're doing, then you're not on the right track.
Prior to starting Pink Productions, I never knew I would be owning a company. It didn't happen until I made a change in my life.
I don't know what your God-given purpose is and I don't know when you'll discover it. But, I do know that if you're resisting change, you are holding yourself back from the better life you should be living. Listen to that voice and follow it. If you know deep down inside that you want more your life, acknowledge it, accept it, and find peace with it. It's not easy. Transitioning into your God given purpose is not easy, but it is worth it.
Keep up with Bri’Ann on Instagram, @briann.stephens.