Five Strategies to Embrace Change - Summer 2018
Change is a funny thing. I sometimes fantasize about one or another thing changing for the good, yet any time circumstances are set in motion to bring about change in my life I am not so enthusiastic. Does the same thing happen to you?
It’s easy to get anxious or feel panicked when we encounter change. But why is that? Certainly everyone has had their fair share of change in their lives. Think about it: organizations change, children grow, careers take unexpected turns, life circumstances have an ebb and flow, over all our lives change. Whether changes at work or in our personal lives, change is a constant, so why do we feel so unprepared when it comes our way? Sometimes even when we plan for change we end up feeling overwhelmed or surprised by what that entails and even how we are affected by such change.
How do you respond to change or prepare for it? Can we truly ever prepare for the unknown? Is there a better way to manage change? It certainly seems like those that can quickly adapt and embrace change often have more overall success. They ride on the waves of what’s new and unexpected and seem to come out the better for it.
I am convinced there is a strategy for gracefully embracing change, especially at work. I may not have the entire recipe yet but there are a few things that ring true for me. When I anticipate or am facing change:
Simplify. Keep a simple schedule in your daily life. Don’t add new things. Focus on what you currently have on your plate. This is not the time to add more variables and volunteer for new projects at work.
Slow down. Change brings stress – even if you sometimes don’t acknowledge it so it is important to take your time. Operating at your normal ‘fast” pace may not work in the midst of changes so cut yourself some slack and slow down.
Stick to the Routine. We view our day to day routines as boring and mundane but when facing changes knowing what comes next or always partaking of the same “treat” or ritual at the same time can be very comforting. Keep one or two things a constant – you will be thankful for it.
Surrender. Some change is inevitable yet we spend so much time fighting it. Acknowledge, accept and then reflect on how you will incorporate or address the changes to your life. Focusing on how you decide to react is better than bemoaning whatever new circumstances you are facing.
Find your support. Surrounding yourself with friends, colleagues and/or mentors for support is a great way to build an emotional cushion when encountering change. Don’t make it into a gripe session about what’s coming rather share the change and be truthful about your feelings. One thing that will be clear is that you are not alone.
These few things help me stay calm when confronted by change most of the times. It’s true, any of us can be completely overwhelmed by circumstances imposed on us but we don’t have to stay overwhelmed. We can step back and decide to adapt, move on, and grow from the unknown. Here’s wishing during this summer you stay connected, even through change.