How to manage change

Changing course: Stories to navigate career and life transitions
Shelaine Strom

Reviewed by Greg Reed

What is the book about?

A practical guide offering strategies to those experiencing planned or unplanned transitions in life and career.

It’s a book on how to handle change, addressing why change happens and how we may need to make changes in our own lives in order to move on.

Who is the author?

Shelaine Strom: according to her bio, a Christ-follower, blogger, story-teller, career and life coach, and trainer/speaker. Find out more at http://www.shelainestrom.com/

Also a member at Ross Road (Mennonite Brethren) Community Church in Abbotsford, B.C.

Why this book?

The question isn’t whether we will experience a significant change in our lives or careers, but when and how often such change will occur.

The stories that Shelaine shares provide the concepts and tools necessary to prepare for and handle the shifts in life that will certainly come our way. The characters portrayed throughout the book are various and familiar – you may even find yourself within the story.

Comment on the book’s theological perspective in light of the MB Confession of Faith.

Changing Course is not a theological text, nor is it a Bible study. In fact, you would likely position it as a “self-help” book. However, amid each of the stories, there is a sense of Shelaine’s love, care and respect for each of her clients. It’s clear that Shelaine is exercising her spiritual giftedness as she ministers to those both within and outside of the body of Christ.

Key insight:

There is no “one size fits all” solution to dealing with change. The journey through change is filled with twists and turns that are unique for each individual. By providing stories based on her clients’ real-life experiences, Shelaine demonstrates how different we all are. This perspective is essential for those of us who are Christ followers as we seek to be accountable to one another in matters of faith and life, as we care for one another through these times of transition.

Downside:

I am now in what I consider to be my fourth career. I have been a classroom teacher, an administrator of a short-term mission program, an educational leader (department head and vice principal) and, for the past 3 years, a pastor. I’ve seen some significant transition in my life. As I read Changing Course, I identified with and have used each of the concepts and tools presented within the various stories told.

However, a book cannot provide what is essential to anyone going through a significant change in life and/or career: relationship!

We need relationships that provide practical, emotional and spiritual support. I was fortunate to have friends and family, a home group at my church and colleagues supporting me with prayer and practical help through each of my transitions.

Who should read it?

Changing Course is helpful not only for those who will go through transition and who are going through transition. It is helpful for those who support and care for those in transition.

Favourite quotes:

“…self-worth is broken into two categories: self-concept which is how you think about yourself, your self-perceptions and your identity; and self-esteem is defined as the degree of acceptance and respect we have for ourselves. Job loss or change can have a significant impact on one’s self worth.”

 

“You can teach people new skills, but attitude affects everything – even how willing someone is to learn a new skill.”

 

“What we’re really talking about right now is boundaries – what is mine to take care of and what isn’t.”

 

“By identifying the places I’m hooked and choosing to forgive, I allow the hook to fall out which takes away the power of the offender to control me.”

 

“Our past hurts can affect our choices.”

 

[Greg Reed is pastor, Generational Ministries at WMB Church, Waterloo, Ont.

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