Written by Lauren Cohen of Hope and Humor Therapy

It may seem like we just randomly create a change. We think about it for awhile, and then suddenly it feels like the right time to just do it.

Sometimes we feel like we impulsively make a change. Wham! The change is happening, and our chance-taking brain is calling the shots. Actually, researchers, James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente, have discovered that there are multiple steps that come before and after the change action. Each Stage of Change contains opportunities to shore up our bravery, self-compassion and self-care skills when taking a chance.


During this stage, you are not really aware that a change could occur. Maybe others around you are encouraging you to take a chance, but it’s not really on your radar. Perhaps someone suggests that you submit your latest art piece for an upcoming show, and your brain says, “Hell no. This is a hobby. That is a REAL art gallery. NOPE! Nice try friend.”


You start to think that you could take a chance and you begin to weigh the possible positive and negative outcomes. Your brain starts to say, “Okay, if I did submit to this art show, what would I lose? What would I gain? Is this chance worth the potential nightmares and heart burn?”


You take the chance! Your brain says, “We submitted the piece! Wehew! And also AH! I need to remind myself that acceptance or rejection from this art gallery does not define my artistic worth. It would help me create more art, talk to my friends and acknowledge to myself that this is nerve wracking!”


You reaffirm your decision and put a plan in place to take action. Your brain says, “I have reviewed the risks and rewards, and I think it’s worth submitting to the art show. Let’s go through the submission process. What do you need in order to submit the piece? How am I going to take care of myself while I wait to hear from the gallery?”


You take time to review what occurred. What went well, what was less helpful, and how would you like to move forward? Your brain says, “Phew, I submitted the piece and survived the process. Let’s look at what I did that was helpful during each phase
and what I need to do differently next time.”

Start over! Yay?!

Here is the visual poster version of this article, as it appeared in issue 06.

Brave-Up to Take a Chance by Lauren Cohen, Therapist: Hope and Humor Therapy


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