In our last post, we looked at how the brain reacts to change and gave you a few ideas for helping care for yourself as you embed new habits. Today we’re going to dig deeper into your coping mechanisms and ensure you’re ready and able to adapt as necessary.
As humans, our brains have developed in such a way as to give us a great capacity for adaptation, but humans are creatures of habit. Most of us have a clear preference for the orderliness of our routines and crave reliability and predictability.
Yet change isn’t just inevitable, it’s a necessary process for without it, nothing would ever improve. Change is a necessary component of living a successful, fulfilling life, especially when it comes to our careers and leadership in the workplace.
The following tips will help you to begin to see change for what it is – an opportunity for improvement!
Acknowledge your feelings, especially your fears, surrounding the change
It’s normal to be apprehensive at the idea of change. While change can bring new challenges helping you grow as a leader, the increased scrutiny can also have a negative effect on your energy and performance.
Regardless of the type of change that is taking place, it is important for you to acknowledge that the old way of doing things will no longer work. The more quickly you can accept the change, the easier it will be to move forward.
At this stage, be very honest with yourself about your feelings, particularly your fears. What is it about the change that you find so disturbing? It can be helpful to write down your feelings about the change.
As you try to make sense of the situation, try to gather as much objective, outside information as possible.
For example, if it’s a change involving your work, follow-up with HR to find out as much as you can about the upcoming change. It’s the unknown which is unsettling, so seek out the information you need.
As you learn more about the change, evaluate your fears considering this new information. Are things as bad as you feared they might be? In most cases, they are not, but if you’re still worried, talk to a mentor and look for ways you can position yourself to gain some benefit from the change.
Change your perspective and focus on the positive
As you review the information and advice you’ve been given, look at the other side of the coin. While change is certainly disruptive and scary, it is often the beginning of a transformation that will ultimately enrich and improve your position.
Create a list of all the potential good things that could come about because of the change. What are some of the positives that can come out of changing? Remember – writing these things down helps your brain focus on them and spot opportunities ahead before you consciously do so.
Be gentle with yourself and others
As you continue to evaluate and process the change, understand you will not move from fear to acceptance overnight. You’ll swap from feelings of anger, pessimism and even depression to feeling excited, upbeat and positive. Don’t be too hard on yourself as you try to self-regulate your emotions.
Take time out each day to rest, relax and recharge.
Always remind yourself of the good things in your life.
Focus on the future
As time goes on, change begins to become part of your new routine and new life.
While it’s certainly okay to hold fast to any fond memories, you must learn to let go of the past. What are some new goals can you set for yourself that will help you make the most of this opportunity?
Is there something that you can learn, a new skill that you can acquire or sharpen, because of the change? What can you do going forward to make things even better?
As you learn to identify, acknowledge and release your fears surrounding an upcoming change, you give yourself permission to learn and grow from it. As you let go of the past and look to the future, it allows you to make the most of the creative, empowering energy that comes with upheaval so that you can best improve your life and the lives of others!
Are you ready to lead change?