Some say death and taxes are the only things that are certain but I believe that change deserves the honor as well. And if that’s true (and it is) at least we know when the taxes are due – the other two, well, we honestly have no idea when they’re coming.
Learning how to manage change, actually befriend the concept, and then become a Change Champion – someone who actually works for change – is a crucial skill both in life and in our work. Some people thrive on change and welcome it while others would rather stay with the known. Most of us probably fall somewhere in between. Sometimes it’s OK but really, don’t we like to stay in our own little routines in some parts of our lives? Regardless of where you are on the change embracing spectrum, understand this – change is happening all the time – like it or not – and some of it may actually be beneficial to you, even if you do approach it kicking and screaming.
So how can you move from Change Averse to a Champion of Change? Here are 5 tips to help:
- Look at the bigger picture – take some time to step back from the stress that can come from change and consider the bigger picture. Take time to make a pro / con list of what you see, then step away for a period of time and let the dust settle.
- Look for hidden opportunities – think about how change can actually be an opportunity in disguise. What are you gut reactions to this change and why? Take those into account and then ask yourself what you can gain remembering that sometimes change forces us to finally make tough decisions, have conversations, and move into different phases of our lives that we’ve been putting off.
- Embrace the struggle – know that struggling with change – feeling anxious, nervous, irritated, excited, etc. – is normal. Change can sometimes be like strapping yourself into a rollercoaster ride and it’s important that when you buckle in you take the time to be nice to yourself as you get comfortable in your “uncomfortableness.”
- Remember you are ALWAYS at choice – how we respond to something is always up to us. Even if that something feels like the worst thing in the world, we still have a choice in how we react. Many times change brings out strengths we never knew we had and many times it is change that shines the light on who we really are and how we can best show up for ourselves and for others.
- Assess what works and adjust – once you’ve begun working with change – or are through a situation that’s required you to change – look back on what you learned. How did you manage your anxiety? What were your biggest fears? How did you walk through the change – literally – and what new skills, habits, and thoughts can you use next time to help you again? Continue to work on your change challenges, seek out feedback from trusted and supportive friends, and know that everyone handles change differently.
Becoming a Change Champion comes with the wisdom gained through patience, persistence, and self-reflection. Change may still be tough, but with practice and time, your tolerance for it will increase, even if only a little. And one of these days you never know – you may actually come to like pushing for something new.