Wow…. Something is definitely in the air… it is something that disrupts our lives; pushes us out of our comfort zones; often causes stress and pressure, but can be rewarding and invigorating. Can you guess what it is?
CHANGE! I have been speaking on change since 1990. It has always been a great topic because everyone can relate to change personally and professionally. I have been through massive changes over the past 10 years and have experienced all levels of change since I was a young person.
However, never in my 64 years of life have I seen so much change at such a rapid pace as I have seen in the past 6 months. I don’t know what is going on but everyone I have talked to is going through change, most of them are big changes like moving, career changes, health challenges, (lots) organizational change, and retirement. While a career change or job change can be a good thing, it still disrupts our life. We have to go through a period of transition and adjustment. While some people see retirement as a good thing, my dad of 92 years old, who just retired, is struggling terribly. On the other hand, buying a new first home is very exciting.
The pace of change in our workplace is accelerating. Technological advances combined with global economic forces have made the workplace more complex, interconnected, and chaotic than most people ever dreamed possible, even just a few years ago. Today, we’re experiencing a brand new era of efficiency, innovation, and discovery.
There is hope and there are answers! I’d like to share my best tips for thriving on change. Sometimes one tip will work by itself but most often, you need to use a combination of strategies.
- Guess where things are going, if you can. Keep your ears and eyes open. Know what is going on around you at work, in your community, and with your family.
- Gather relevant information and stay informed.
- Make specific plans for the upcoming changes so you feel more in control. Be active, not passive.
- Imagine yourself being successful in a new situation.
- Look for the good in the change. With change comes danger and opportunity. See both, but focus on the opportunity. You might wonder, “What is the opportunity in a job loss? Or illness?” Trust me, there is opportunity or lessons to learn if you choose to do so. I have had to apply this multiple times to several serious life-altering changes. It’s our choice as to what lessons we want to learn when life throws us big lemons!
Accept the change
- Don’t fight change that is inevitable. You will just drain your energy. Instead, focus on the area of the change that you can control. Example: maybe a person can’t control that their job is being eliminated but they can control getting their resume in order, talking to people, updating their LinkedIn profile, job searching, interviewing and even considering a different career.
- Get on with your life; don’t procrastinate.
- Do something that makes you feel good, something that gives you a sense of achievement. As we move through some change, we may feel like not getting out of bed! That is ok. We are human. It is especially during these times that you should pamper yourself or be easy on yourself. Men, included!!
- This is critical. I would not have made it through all my life changes without the following.
Share your feelings with a trusted friend or family member, someone who will let you cry or laugh, and who will listen. People can’t always give you the answers, but if they really listen, sometimes that is help enough.
- Look for someone who will encourage you, who can lift you up, inspire you, and spur you on.
- Read inspirational books, blogs, and articles and listen to people who motivate and inspire. Some of my favorites are Joel Osteen and Daren Hardy.
- Seek spiritual support.
- Visualize yourself with your feet dug deep in the sand while the waves of change come over you. They get stronger and the wind blows harder. Finally, the calm comes and you are still standing. You have survived the storm of change.
Go easy on yourself
- Don’t be too hard on yourself when you are feeling down or can’t adapt as quickly as you had hoped.
- Catch yourself doing things well and reward yourself.
- Take care of yourself. Enjoy outside interests and relationships.
Keep the best of the old
- Try not to make several changes at once. In other words, don’t change careers, move, and get married or divorced all at once (if you can help it.)
- Hang on to the good things or people in your life as you move through change.
Look at change as an opportunity to grow
- Tell yourself, “I am just stretching right now.” Change puts us in an uncomfortable place but that is ok because one day, that change will become your new comfort zone and will feel completely normal.
- Make small changes occasionally to become more comfortable with change. Take a different route to work, change your seat at the dinner table, or sleep on the other side of the bed. Thriving on change is a skill you can develop. But you have to exercise that muscle. Force yourself out of comfort every now and then.
- If you have children, create small changes with them so they will learn to cope with change more easily. If you think life is moving fast now, just imagine what life will be like for our children and grandchildren!
Embrace changes that come your way.