3 Secrets to Unexpected Change

Reading Time: 3 minutes

How to move beyond the brick walls of the unexpected.

  1. Move beyond first impressions.
  2. Lean into the good, bad, and ugly emotions.
  3. Surround yourself with cheerleaders.

If you’re like me, you could pinpoint a single incident that triggered a storm of unexpected change. You have thoughts of:

If only I’d done this or that.

If I were more attuned, then I would’ve . . .

It can’t be just me. . . and what’s really going on? Why didn’t I see this coming?

Whether it’s unresolved conflict with a boss or lasting negative impressions you knew nothing about, the decision for change wasn’t yours.

You felt left out of the equation. Attempts at resolve were like brick walls.

I needed at least a full eight months for my own mental shifts and emotional preparations. Time crunch. Holidays. Stress. Obligations. Family visits. Pressure. Overwhelming emotions. Fear. Worry. Risk. Eight weeks later.

Here are three things I’m learning (or re-learning):

Move beyond first impressions.

From finishing old business to meeting with new colleagues, I’m learning to be curious rather than judgemental. Isn’t it so natural to judge? Yes, there is a Judge who bears my name.

As my husband scouted out several office spaces, he saw a particular office that could be a right fit. He described the character of the historic building; the beautiful wood floors and tall ceiling. It’s just the right space to facilitate your small groups.

It would be the perfect space for me if it weren’t for the close-up brick wall view out the window.

I wasn’t open when he told me about the brick wall.

The massive window reached nearly to the top of the 15 foot ceiling. It’s width took up the entire wall of the room. The brick view was another building just a few feet away. No trees, no grass, no flowers, no feeling of the outdoors.

My husband said, You can see the sky when you look up.

I didn’t consider it. I didn’t even look.

Now, several weeks later, I’m settled into my new office at the Clearstory building. The brick wall view out my window now has new meaning.

Here’s what others have said after being in this space.

  • It’s perfect for a counselor’s office. . . No need for curtains on that window. The brick wall gives privacy, yet lets in the light.
  • It’s a metaphor. Our problems are like brick walls. You can’t see what’s on the other side, yet the blue sky is indication there IS another side.  
  • Awesome that you have a brick wall to look at through your window. You can enjoy the outdoors without the distractions of cars or people.

Lean into the good, bad, and ugly emotions.

Emotions are meant to be temporary guests in the home of our lives. Click To Tweet I’ve been a guest at a few airbnb‘s (an economical alternative to staying in a hotel). Most have been pleasant and others not so much. But all were temporary.

Treat all emotions as temporary guests rather than permanent residents. Both “unpleasant” and “pleasant” guests (good, bad, ugly emotions) are teachers. Anxiety, fear, and worry all have purpose. God designed us all to feel.

Pay attention to feelings and messages you may otherwise ignore.

Our experiences, decisions, and emotions in life reveal purposeful patterns. Pay attention to you how you’ve handled past changes. What have you learned about yourself? What have you learned from unexpected changes? 

The more I pay attention, the more clear I become.

Dignity in Relationships, a Life by Design has emerged through recent and past growth experiences in my life.  

Surround yourself with cheerleaders.

My virtual mentors, Michael Hyatt and Jeff Goins have been invaluable to me. Folks like Matt Wolf and Bradly Will helped get me started with online presence. Marvin Varghese and other therapist podcasters remind me of cheerleading mantras of my high school days.

Where there’s a will there’s a way, hey. 

I’ve grown since moving my practice and rebranding my services.

I’ve come to appreciate the entrepreneurial support in our city.

I’m thriving on the weekly group support and mentoring of Co-Lab and the Co-Starter program. Tennessee Small Business Development Center has provided me help through mentoring, counseling, and seminars.

Embrace the Brick Walls of Change

Now every time I walk into my office and see the brick wall window view, I’m reminded of three things.

Move beyond first impressions. Lean into the temporary guests of emotions. Surround yourself with cheerleaders.

Questions to Ponder

What unexpected change are you facing now?

What emotional guests have stayed too long?

Who are your cheerleaders?



About The Author

Judy Herman

Judy Herman helps leaders and families create connection beyond conflict through her counseling practice. She writes and speaks about how relationship messes are divine invitations for growing your true self.


  • Karen Z

    Reply Reply February 28, 2016

    I love that you use the visual impact of the brick wall in your office as the focal point for the 3 life reminders in your blog. i especially like the idea of seeing our emotions as ‘guests’ because they come and go, And like guests, some stay longer than others; maybe even too long or others don’t stay long enough. But no matter want, it is important we know the name of our guests, pay attention, and learn how to use that time. Since being a part of a small group for Lent, I’m appreciating practicing using the ‘Examen’ to help focus my attention on God in me and with me all the time and what he desires for me to see during the day..Experiencing awareness seems helpful, especially when one can share it with others who care..

    • Judy Herman

      Reply Reply February 28, 2016

      Great insight, Karen! I agree that we do need to know the names of our ‘guests.’ Thanks for your wisdom and awareness!

    • Judy

      Reply Reply March 4, 2016

      I agree, Karen. Yes, the “Examen” practice is helpful to me allowing those guests to come and go; and meeting God in the midst. Thanks for facilitating our group!

  • Ken Pritchard

    Reply Reply March 3, 2016

    This is so interesting. As the owner of The Clearstory, I fully understood when Judy’s husband suggested that the lack of a view in this space eliminated it from his search for Judy’s new office. It is a wonderful surprise then, to both of us, that the brick wall has come to represent something meaningful. It gives a whole new meaning to the expression “it’s all about your perspective.”

    • Judy

      Reply Reply March 4, 2016

      Thanks, Ken. That’s what I love about the work I do. It continually stretches me to think beyond my own perspective. I’m privileged to be in this space!

  • Marcia Swearingen

    Reply Reply March 15, 2016

    Congratulations Judy! I’m so happy for you. Loved the analogy of the brick wall and the wisdom of getting to know and name your emotions, while looking at them as “guests” who have a purpose and a time limit.

    May God richly bless these new changes and use you to help others do the same.


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