If there's one thing about which we can be certain, it's that we will all face change - whether in our personal lives, in politics or at work. Change means different things to different people and affects us in ways we don't necessarily anticipate. To manage through and get the most out of change, we all need our own personal tool-kit to help us to not only cope, but to thrive.
Of course when change happens, the temptation can be to either resist it, or ignore the situation altogether. Change is constant as well as complex. While this means that there is no standard way to manage it, there are tools that we can use to minimise disruption and take advantage of the tremendous opportunities that change offers. My advice to anyone in dealing with change, is to develop specific methods that work for you. Here are some tips:
1. Time: The first step to coping with change is to give yourself time and space to reflect. Part of this may mean playing out different scenarios to examine the situation at hand and to think of ways to maximise and make sense of them. This is an essential part of processing change and allows you to rationalise and consider next steps.
2. Communication: Working your way through any grey areas and being honest about what you don't know is an important early step towards taking control of an uncertain situation. Talking to friends, family or colleagues and exploring issues more closely can help break down what often feels like a big, unmanageable matter into smaller, less threatening and easier to digest chunks. After all, sometimes what we don't know may seem like a much larger threat than it really is.
3. Opportunity: View change as an opportunity rather than a disruption. Of course a shake-up in our professional or personal lives can be destabilising, but it is also a chance to view situations through a fresh lens. These moments can provide invaluable opportunities to renew our focus, re-evaluate old habits and think about what we want to achieve.
4. Proactivity: Keep a positive frame of mind and prepare for the opportunity ahead of you. For example, see if there are any relevant talks or training courses at work that can help you manage the change and prepare for the new reality. Nowadays, most companies are sensitive to the effects of uncertainty on employees so provide numerous tools that help to smooth transition periods for their staff. Equally outside the workplace, there exists a wealth of online resource, much of which can be accessed at no charge.
5. Professional help: Another coping mechanism is to seek qualified help. For many, it is often more comfortable getting an unbiased point of view or piece of advice from someone we don't know.
Yes, change can be frightening, but it can also be empowering. By developing coping mechanisms that work for you, something negative can be transformed into a great opportunity. As author Gail Sheehy once said, "If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living."