Have You Been Rocked by Change? You Have Control.

September 2, 2011

We all experience it. It’s inevitable. One of the few certainties in life. It is to some, a dreadful word: Change.

Life is full of surprises and they can hardly be avoided, particularly in today’s economic environment and the fast-paced technological world in which we live. Some changes are small; some completely life altering. It can be a small organizational change in the workplace, or a total career change. Perhaps it involves the end of a relationship or a debilitating change in health – both can be devastating. Even a relocation can seem daunting.

And then the questions come: “How did this happen?” “Why me?” “Could I have done something differently?” “Will nothing ever be the same?” “Now what?” – You know the feeling.

In any situation, professional or personal, big or small, change is a disruptive force, particularly when it’s imposed on you. It represents a loss. We feel displaced and shaken. But here’s the thing: You have control.

Everything can and will change. Change happens all around us; but it’s how we handle it that ultimately matters.

So how do we adapt to change and handle it?

–       Recognize and accept it. No denial allowed here! Life never stands still. Change is the very nature of existence, so accept it as a constant in life.

–       Cut yourself some slack. With change, we experience a loss of what was before. Take time to “mourn” that loss and regroup, with a support group, if necessary. Allowing yourself some time will help bring some sense of closure, which is helpful in order to move forward.

–       Look for the positive. With change there is a new future available to make of it as we will. Change can lead to new doors of opportunity, new people, inspiration, healthier life, a stronger belief in ourselves.

–       Go forward. Focus on a final destination, your ultimate goals. This will keep you grounded and anchored. Ask yourself, “Based on where I am now, how do I get there?” The path to where you want to go may have taken a different direction, and you may face many obstacles, but if you maintain focus and remain flexible, you may be surprised at the alternate routes and methods you find for getting there. Forge on. Action is better than inaction because it gives you more control.

–       Never go backwards. Don’t dwell on the past, the “If only”, the self-blame, the loss caused by the change. Doing this only consumes you and freezes you into inaction. This does nothing to improve your state of affairs. Even worse, acting as a permanent victim will eventually alienate even your most staunch supporters during the initial hardship.

–       Take care of yourself. Change can bring about stress and anxiety, which in turn can cause pain. Getting enough sleep, eating healthily, and exercising can help clear the mind and relieve some of the stress.

Ultimately, believe. Though change can sometimes be daunting, it does not have to be difficult and terrible. For example, you may be the “casualty” of a company’s reorganization, and your career may seem to have taken a dive. However, this may end up giving you the freedom and drive to pursue a career dream you previously never had time to follow. It’s all in your approach and belief. Believe that it occurs to open other doors. Believe that it will help you grow in ways that can help you in the future. Believe that it will make you a stronger, better person.





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