3 Simple Steps For Adapting To Constant Change.
“Adapt or perish”.
Have you heard that before?
It is said that the only two certainties in life are death and taxes. Well, let’s add another one – constant change.
Change is an inevitable part of our existence. Almost every aspect of your life will go through some form of change. Those of us in western societies witness change on a constant basis. Some changes are constructive, some are not. The key is to know how to handle change in a way that the perceived outcome will be constructive. That’s right, you may not be able to control what has changed. You can however, control what the perceived outcome of the change will be.
As I progress through my Diploma Of Counselling, I have realised that many people seek support from a counsellor due to changes in their lives. Some common life changes include developing relationships, ending relationships, moving to a new house, moving to new cities, having children, negotiating adolescence, children leaving home, and retiring.
When I was an Executive Coach, there was no shortage of clients who were continually grappling with changes in their respective organisations. They were not alone in this. Anyone who works for a medium to large organisation will be subjected to changes in the workplace.
Here are 3 steps to productively adapting to change, that I have learnt through experience and qualification:
- Reframe – look at it from another perspective. Sometimes we view change from the inside out. One of the most profound life lessons I have learnt is this – We must step away from our problems, and look at our problems instead of being in our problems. Ask yourself “What will it show me if I looked at this from an external perspective?” In other words, if I looked at this from the outside in, what will I see? What will this tell me? Perhaps it is an opportunity for growth (personal and professional). Maybe this is a good time to take an inventory of your skills, talents, and abilities. Could it be that this change will lead you to something better that you might not have considered earlier? Reframing has two benefits. One – it allows you to look at the holistic picture, not just a one-sided view. Two – reframing will support you in exploring other avenues of handling that change. For example, if you have been made redundant, and have been given a pay-out, some of those funds could be used to upskill yourself by gaining a qualification that you may have been contemplating for a long time. Reframing has the power to balance things out. Enlist the help of someone close to you (if you have to), in order to reframe.
- Refocus – what I noticed through my coaching and mentoring career was that some people are fixated on a particular outcome when it comes to handling change. If they don’t get that outcome, they tend to get disappointed. Your goal should be to focus on what you can control. Yes, we will always be at the mercy of external forces (both positive and negative). At the risk of sounding religious, I will quote American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr – “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference”. Once you begin to focus on what you can control and what you can do, a sense of empowerment will be gained. Helplessness which is an emotionally paralysing feeling will be experienced once you start to feel that you are totally not in control of what is happening. Focus on your strengths, your previous proven plans of handling change, and do the best you can with the best you have!
- Remind – remind yourself that change will keep occurring. It is as sure as sunrise. This is where acceptance plays an integral role. I have written about this many times – “Acceptance empowers you to be more responsible and to take productive action”. Author and columnist Corine Gatti said “Approach change as a process and be ready to move at your own pace”. She has hit the nail on the head by saying that it is a process. Accept that process. Work within the process, and find strength through acceptance. Another very enlightening quote on acceptance while handling change comes from Joseph Campbell – “We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us”. If you are finding it challenging to embrace acceptance, then make a list of what the pros and cons will be if you created more acceptance regarding the change.
Quote: “In this day and age of fast paced living and constant change, you have to think outside the square. If you don’t, your thinking will suffocate inside the square.” R. Prasad
I sincerely hope that you have gained a simple insight into how you can adapt to constant change.
Influencing you to your excellence,
PS: My Anti-Bullying Charity’s latest short video addresses a question – “Another Important Tip For Parents” – https://youtu.be/YhqvUnI4_7o