Many of us have a healthy respect for change. We know it is always around the corner, yet we don’t necessarily peek our heads out to see it coming. When it knocks on our door, we open it up, smile and configure ways to embrace the new adventure. Can you imagine being someone who lives for change, thrives on constant repositioning like the changing of the guard at a palace?
I know an amazing woman who resides in a small villa who lives to buy new furniture and rearrange her items on her desk. She grows tired of looking at the same colors and becomes energized when she can surround herself with new books and artifacts. I would go so far as to say she gives away her old (or not so old) possessions so she can justify replacing them with different ones. Every time I visit, there are new pictures on her walls, each with new themes that she is currently learning about. I adore this woman even though it is challenging for me to keep up with all her changes. This woman is my mother.
Not everyone does a rain dance for change like my mom, yet most of us want to try new things and shake-up our status quo. We recognize the need for change, even if it comes around at an “inopportune” time.
Here are some ways that have been helpful to me to deal more effectively with change:
Look for the good: This is of course sometimes easier said then done. I ask myself, “What opportunity can this new situation present?” When our work worlds or personal lives change, we owe it to ourselves to look for ways to make it better. Years ago I was working with a hospital system that decided to change the hours the employees would start and finish their day. The employees were so upset. We first talked about the tumult the change would cause and then we decided to focus on some positive aspects. With the new hours, some of the people could now fit in a haircut, pick up their kids earlier or maybe just have some additional downtime at home. While initially the changed hours seemed unsettling, we learned that some positive elements really did exist.
Brainstorm new solutions: Working with one of my clients, I realized we had a very different vision of my role within their firm. We enjoyed partnering together, so we decided to brainstorm new ways to approach our joint work. We put on the table all the things we both wanted to accomplish so we each new what was important. Then we just threw out ideas and landed on a great choice- one that we both are thrilled with. Putting our heads and ideas to good use can create extraordinary results.
Reposition your mindset: When we are asked to make a change that seems frightening to us because we may not feel confident about our skill set or knowledge, it can be helpful to re-think things. Just like the changing of the guard, we may need to switch around our thinking to learn some new tasks or update our tool kit. For many years I knew I was intrigued about personalities and how they impact our behavior. I knew that one of the best instruments to do that was Myers-Briggs. Although I had not taken a course in awhile, I decided to talk myself through this intense learning process. I knew I could do it; I just needed to think about it in a more meaningful and manageable way. When I attained the certification, after mastering the materials and taking the exam, I felt empowered. I had changed my mindset and was successful.
How do you feel about change? Are you a change freak or welcome it gradually as it comes? What ways have worked for you in dealing with change?