“Change is inevitable,” we have all heard, “and it is the only constant we can count on.” What a true statement that is! Yet someone along the way forgot to acknowledge and tell us how hard change is for those of us.
If you have ever been through a lay off, reorganization, changed bosses, or been reassigned to a project you hated or were not qualified to do, you know exactly what I am speaking of.
All of the sudden, we move from a foundation of security to the land of the unknown. And talk about switching into “fight or flight” mode!
Change: what is it? By Encarta’s definition, change is “to pass or make something pass from one state or stage to another.”
Note, then, the element of being transitional and, additionally, I cannot emphasize this point enough: it will pass!
Remind yourself that your feelings, including doubts, uncertainty, insecurity, and the “not knowing,” are all part of the process. One of the tricky components is to not buy into the one of “eternity.”
Though going through times of change tends to distort the sense of time, this is part of the trickery of perception. In reality, our doubts are the ones that make us believe that time slowed down.
Take care of yourself. Due to our body’s reactions, the importance of physical and emotional care become a lifeline to survival.
Do not give into the temptation of giving up your exercise routine or overeating to cover up your anxiety.
Be patient with yourself and others. Stress and change make us behave in unusual ways and, sometimes, inadvertently take the frustration or anger out onto others.
Be overly cautious and try not to overreact. If you do, overtly acknowledge what is going on.
Find support in peers who might be going through a similar situation. Though you might feel unique, chances are you are not alone.
Only one item of caution: be careful of non-productive, critical complaint sessions where all you get together just to criticize.
It is very tempting to join in, but, on the flipside, I guarantee you that you will feel very heavy and “toxic” afterwards because you will not only carry your own negative energy but you would have picked up your peers’.
So, if you do meet with them, do it from the “how can we help each other through this rough times” perspective. You can be the leader on this one!
No matter how hard you try, certain things will not return to the way they were. Look for the positive.
Isn’t it ever so tempting to focus on the negative and have pity parties for one through times of change? But… stop! You have a choice: continue or look for what is good in the situation.
Just like nature has taught us, shifting our focus can be a very powerful way of transforming energy because change, managed inappropriately, can be extremely toxic.
Unfortunately, a reality I have observed: most organizations do a very poor job at managing change effectively.
However, like plants, we have the capacity to take that carbon dioxide and transform it into oxygen, if we want to, with marvellous results.
Can you imagine stepping into a room full of one versus the other? What a difference! Nature teaches us a great deal, doesn’t it?
Write about the change. I believe in the power of writing and getting it out of one’s system.
Free-flowing writing is also very healing. What we hold on to, will poison us. And sometimes we hold onto things that we do not even know we had inside!
Allowing our minds to let go and our hands to write “out” will provide that cleansing process.
Know when to seek professional help. Sometimes, the change can be so stressful it can affect our health in ways that require medical assistance.
If such is your case, do not interpret it as a sign of weakness. Be smart and get the help you need.
“What won’t kill us, will make us stronger,” is a true saying. But you have to be alive to prove this cliché right!
Know that this, too, shall pass.
Think of a situation that you have already survived in your life. Chances are you already have survived other changes successfully. Adapt to change quickly.
The quicker you let go of what was, the sooner you can enjoy what is.
And, although I do personally understand the challenges of change, I also know that it can be managed effectively with intention, support, and proper guidance.