One of my jobs is to help people manage change. For some, the thought of change freaks them out and actually paralyzes them from getting through whatever is coming up. In fact, if we can help them to stand back a little bit they can actually get through those changes and thrive.
Other people look at change like it’s an opportunity to try something new, to do things better, or to bring ourselves out of chaos or mess, and that’s where I am coming from. We are pure forms of energy, and whether you look at it scientifically or theologically, both schools of thought support that idea. Any action causes an equal and opposite reaction. Sew and ye shall reap.
When it comes to change, we are really operating outside of our comfort zone and whether we are the ones implementing the change (maybe it’s time for some big changes in the family routine, or you are implementing a discipline program) or the change seems to come from something outside (being laid off from work or being ill) being ready to deal with what’s coming really helps. There are systems and processes for managing change that focus on business models, and sometimes we try to draw from them to apply them to our lives but they don’t always fit that well. In this article we’re actually going to focus on how an individual can manage change that is taking place around you personally, or that you are implementing in your family.
If you’d like to hear an interview that I did this week, click the link here.
1) Get into it
The more you get involved in the changes, the more you can do about what the end result is. Don’t be a bystander; get involved.
2) Gather the right people
Being the lone change agent can be necessary but is not as effective as having a team. Ask your family or friends for volunteers that have the strengths that you need. You might even be surprised at the results.
3) Be an original
Think differently than others when it comes to change. Not everything is about following all the rules; it’s about asking what’s possible here, and what is it that I really want?
4) Foster urgency
Change requires energy. Foster a sense of urgency to keep you and the people around you motivated, excited even about what is to come. Your goal is to create a level of energy that removes any thoughts of complacency or resistance.
5) Manage emotions
6) Talk it out
In times of change, people have an intense need for information. Communicate, check-in and be open to their feelings and feedback. It doesn’t mean that you have to change your mind nor stop the change process; just be open. Be compassionate.
7) Stop wishing
People often “wish” for things to be different, but they actually focus on negativity that’s surrounding them. Instead of working on getting to something – a goal, say – they actually focus on what they don’t want (I hate way I look, I hate this outfit, my spouse makes me crazy, I don’t have enough money). The trouble with that kind of thinking is that what we get the things that we focus on and so by focusing on those negative things, we actually attract them to us.
Change is really a process. We don’t have to be afraid of it, and having a plan means we have the tools to get through it without becoming overwhelmed or scared to death. I’ve moved 21 times in my 42 years, and worked in 7 different occupational classifications; that’s a lot of change, but I find now that when things get too quiet, I am just itching for SOMETHING to happen and I go looking for it. Not everyone’s cup of tea, I know, but change can bring some great things, new experiences and the things you want into your life. Just let it!
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(c) 2008 Pam Robertson, MVPi. Pam is a Career and Life Success Consultant who helps people to create lives and work that are worth celebrating. She is based in Nova Scotia, Canada and can be reached at 902.222.9212 or by email to pam(at)mvpi(dot)org. For more information you can also visit her website.