How to deal with change? It's a question that comes up frequently. Afterall, we know change is happening all the time all around us. Everything – whether produced by nature or produced by humanity is constantly in a state of flux, nothing stays still. Some changes we initiate others are thrust upon us. Paradoxically, changes that we ourselves initiate can be more challenging than changes that are imposed on us by others. We sometimes have to make really tough decisions and they can be the hardest to implement.
Have you ever wondered what your relationship with change is?
Your Relationship with Change
If you can get some clarity around your relationship with change – how you think about it; how you approach it; how you plan for it and implement change. Evaluating your relationship with change may be useful as you continue to face changes in your life, whether you initiate them, or are pulled into someone else's change agenda.
You’d think that changes that we ourselves initiate might be the easiest because we want them, yet they are often the hardest. I’m thinking about lifestyle changes, career changes, relationship changes that we want and yet they can be so hard to start and implement. My personal “Coming to America” story below is one such example.
The changes that are thrust upon us are also tough because we have little control over those from the outset. I’m thinking here of changes that happen in your family that you don’t want, or at work when there’s a change in leadership often meaning sigh, here we go again: another organizational restructure; or a change in policy that results in massive rework of processes, procedures and communications; similarly with changes in governance that means you have to let go of the old ways and learn a whole new other way of doing things.
Let’s Face it – Change is Messy
As a change agent – that’s what I’ve been doing most of my professional life, working with companies, government agencies and individuals to help “manage” change. Usually, I’m brought in to help “clean up the mess” after big organizational restructures because the employers had little information about the change that just happened and they are now the ones that have to deal with the fallout, and it’s messy. That kind of change where the employees are not involved in any way results in a lot of unhappy employees. That’s a story for another time. I have many of those old stories. And I don’t do it that way anymore.
Yet, even in that situation, when change is thrust upon you, it is possible to deal with change in a way that can minimize the stress and discomfort, anxiety and even fear. Even after the fact, it’s possible to get people to embrace novelty and innovations in ways that are energizing and meaningful.
So all this change work over the years has resulted in my helping people reflect on their relationship with change.
If you can get some clarity around your relationship with change – how you think about it, how you approach it, how you plan for it and implement it, it can be very helpful in facing changes in your life, whether you initiate them, or are pulled into someone else's change agenda.
Finding a Framework to Deal with Change
It's hard to change. You’re reading this or have listened to this Positivity Podcast episode, because it’s most likely you’re in a context where you’re faced with changing something in your life. We're here to help you through the process with our simple framework that will guide you through three steps: Awareness, Choice and Action. You'll be able to make changes in your life without feeling overwhelmed or discouraged by the prospect of change. You’ll have structure to give a semblance of control.
Awareness comes first with any change because we need to understand who we are and what we stand for and what we’re wanting to change and why and how – to help with this self-awareness part, I suggest paying attention to 4 things: Language, emotions, physiology, past successes.
Choice is the next guiding principle for change with 5 areas of focus: what you desire; discovering existing talents; your motivation; relationships and resources; mindset.
Enactment is the third principle is Enactment – that’s about taking action with 3 action steps: Just start; set some milestones; start small.
If you listen to this episode you’ll gain more information on the ACE Framework to deal with change. In addition, you might be interesting in taking a closer look at the Change and You self-paced video course, that guides you step by step through the ACE Framework. If you’re a coach or facilitator it’s a great resource that you can apply to guide others through change.
My Coming to America Story
In the episode, I share a very personal story to illustrate how I used ACE to help me make lifestyle changes. It’s the story of my coming to America! It was a huge step to move from one side of the world to another, yet, I was following my heart, I was curious, I was coming from love (even though there was a lot of anxiety) and through the support of trusted friends and advisors, I gathered the resources I needed to make the changes.
Now, this change wasn’t imposed on me, and I recognize the difference. Yet, it was not easy and there were roadblocks that made it challenging and almost too hard at times – selling a property, and a business, and getting a divorce. There were risks, and no guarantees of living happily ever after!
Yet, my desire was potent, and during this change, I remained open to my own needs and the needs of all the others players in my story. I sought support from trusted others who were able to offer me emotional support and guide me to find potential solutions that would work for me. Many of my trusted others were professional coaches. I was lucky. They helped me stay my course and tap into my own strengths that fueled my courage and belief in myself.
A Story of Past Success Fuels Confidence
A key to any change is to take a pause and reflect on how you have addressed change in the past. There will be learnings from your prior experiences that can inform current or future changes. For me, it’s “my coming to America” story. I remind myself of this story, as I am reminded I have the experience, the talent, the strengths, the capacity to deal with any change in the future. With this roadmap and the 3 guiding principles, I re-enact the Framework to give me strength and courage when facing change in new situations.
So next time when faced with change, whether of your own choosing or unexpected, step back from the confusion, or state of overwhelm and think back to a time when you dealt with change successfully in the past.
- Appreciate that you made it through the change.
- Take time out to identify your own strengths and other resources that enabled you to eventually accomplish the change?
Those strengths come in the form of your mindset, your emotions, your desires, your actions, your relationships, and your network of resources. Taking time out to do an audit of your strengths helps you manage yourself and be more conscious of the strengths of all the other players.
If you are currently facing a change, what past capabilities can you draw on, and how can you begin to design ways to take greater ownership to move in the direction you most desire? What supports do you need from trusted others and what actions will serve you?
A gentle reminder that it’s worthwhile to step back and reflect on the importance of understanding yourself more deeply in relation to certain essentials to life.
It’s not uncommon to think about your relationship with those essentials, so you can make them work for you. For example, you might call into question at some point in your life your relationship with money, your relationship with food, with sex, with authority, with learning, with technology, with nature, with your health and so on.
If any of this speaks to you, you might like to understand more deeply your relationship with change. In that case, take a sneak preview of the Change and You training course. It’s one of 5 courses on positivechange.training site.
- Change and You Course
- Positive Change Training
- Eleven Helpful Posts on Being Resilient
- An Overview of the Transformational Change Methodology, Appreciative Inquiry
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