Change and Transition - 10 Steps to Surviving Change Elegantly
If I say the word "CHANGE" how do you feel? Most people remain fearful, anxious and uncomfortable with change, despite it being a driving issue in our society. It appears that no matter how much experience we have it doesn't get any easier.
Gaining a level of understanding that allows you to be productive, creative and flexible with your own life as well as helping others handle change is key to succeeding in today's ever-changing world.
Follow these 10 steps to help you cope with the transitions in your life:
1. Recognise that things DO change
Nothing is forever. Neither the good, nor the bad. You will be much less frustrated if you accept the change and decide to manage it, rather than desperately try and cling onto the way things used to be.
2. Pinpoint the specific change you are going through
Because any change has a number of implications in different areas of our lives, we tend to generalise the change we are going through. Stay focussed on one aspect of the change by identifying what you are most afraid of losing as a result of this change and then understanding why that loss is uncomfortable. For example, a new computer system may mean you will no longer feel competent. Feeling incompetent is a very different issue than fighting new technology, and can be easily addressed with training.
3. Accept the loss factor
Admit to yourself that regardless of whether or not you experience this particular change as 'good' or 'bad', there will be a sense of loss. This is the 'better the devil you know' scenario that leads us to put up with a situation we know isn't good for us. Clearly define the change and recognise the areas of your life that will not change as a result.
4. Seek valid information
You will doubt the facts and struggle to believe anything you hear, see or feel about the change. Write down what information you need to know and who can provide you with that data. Ask straight questions, remain open to views that may be different to your own and listen to what you are being told.
5. Take action
Now that you have information, kick-start some forward momentum by taking both physical and mental action. Focus on taking the first baby step by setting priorities, committing to someone else what you will achieve and by when, and exercise (even if it's only a 15 minute walk each day).
6. Recognise the Danger Zone
There comes a point where we choose to move on with the change and discover the opportunities it brings, or to give in to the fear of the unknown and remain fearful, anxious and in denial. Recognise that this normal, and don't allow yourself to succumb. Increasing your small, regular action steps will help you keep that forward momentum going.
7. Make a decision
All the information you gathered may seem overwhelming. To avoid analysis paralysis set yourself a deadline for making a decision and do whatever it takes - even if you resort to flipping a coin! The secret to this is to break big decisions down into small, bite-sized chunks and work on one at a time. This way, decisions are easily reversible.
8. Identify the benefits
All change has some benefits. A divorce can give us the opportunity to have control of the remote, a new job could teach us new skills and starting your own business can provide you with the chance to follow your passion. Understand what the benefits of the change are and recognise them for the great gifts they bring you.
9. Change? What Change?
I promise there will come a time when you stop looking at the 'change' as something different. You will have integrated its challenges and victories into your life and will now feel more stable and open to what the future may hold. Remember everything you have learned for the next exciting, exhilarating and, oh ok, scary change.
10. Identify a change partner
Change is a constant in today's society that you will go through many times in many different situations. Finding a change partner who is committed to encouraging you and supporting you will make the whole experience less scary and probably speedier. This may be a coach who can remain dispassionate, hold the mirror up to your fears and hold onto your highest goals. Or it might be a colleague at work who can help you see both sides of a situation.
Visit www.atlanticcoaching.com">Atlantic Coaching for your copy of The Locator to find out exactly where in the cycle of change you are. Sarah Steele MBA, founder of Atlantic Coaching ( www.atlanticcoaching.com">http://www.atlanticcoaching.com), works globally with high-achieving professionals who, although successful in their career, aren't as successful as they'd like in other areas of their life. Specialising in helping clients get crystal clear about exactly how they want their life to look, something many struggle with, our clients learn how to say "no" graciously, freeing up precious time and space for the things they really want to say yes to. Ultimately, it is through more conscious choices and effective systems that our clients quickly enjoy greater control and experience more success without sacrificing professional achievements. Sarah is an empowering coach, speaker and trainer with more than a decade of global business experience. Combining deep capabilities in communication, change and emotional intelligence, Sarah brings a globally savvy touch to all her work.