There’s a lot going on in the world. Almost every industry is or will face significant changes in the coming months and years. That’s why I am going to share about the change process. Regardless of the specific change, every journey, from beginning to mastery, travels through certain stages or aspects.
Everyone can learn and implement the process to more efficiently and successfully navigate and master different changes. The change process is like a bridge. One may travel over it by foot, car or train, but all must cross it to get to the other side. Everything in life requires change. This article will introduce the first of the Nine Aspects of Change: “Stand Up.”
What Is Your Relationship with Change?
First, it’s essential to understand that we each have a unique relationship with change. For a moment, think about how your view of a change differs from that of colleagues, family or friends. For example, a new product or service is introduced. You might think it’s a terrific opportunity, while your teammate thinks it’s a terrible obstacle. Maybe there’s a change your family finds delightful that you think is disheartening.
How Do You Respond to an Unwanted Change?
Although the change process is the same whether a change is desired or not, I have decided to focus on the changes that tend to challenge us. Keep in mind that each of the stages in the change process has a beginning, middle and end. As you read the material, if it highlights something you have already experienced, you will be able to apply the information to other or future changes. If it is something you have not experienced, you will know what might lie ahead. Let’s get started with the first of the nine stages or aspects of the change process.
“Stand Up:” Acknowledgement of Change
From the point of becoming aware of your change, you struggle to understand what’s happening, why it’s happening and, at the same time, gain elementary comprehension of what it could mean. You may not even want to think or talk about it. Yet, internally, your mind grapples with it and is overwhelmed by the information. Based on your change, you share what you need to. Your emotions are raw and your actions suppressed. You have no energy and are weighed down by uncertainty and fear.
Are you on the Stand Up stage in the change process? One of the major characteristics of this stage is that you have acknowledged, not accepted, that a change that affects you has occurred. The need to make critical decisions or take time-sensitive actions doesn’t necessarily mean you have acknowledged what has transpired. Acknowledgment of the change does not imply that you accept the ways it could impact your life.
On March 2, I had to cancel speaking engagements and on-site consulting projects. I felt powerless as I shared with my team how they would be impacted. As a liver transplant patient with autoimmune hepatitis, I am forced to become homebound until the health crisis has passed. I acknowledged what happened but not how it could impact my business or life. Sometimes, we are confronted with a change that is difficult to comprehend. We may experience business or financial setbacks or losses that can never be replaced. Have you ever had to make professional or personal decisions that left you feeling helpless?
Gain Clarity to Move Forward
You can move forward with clarity by reflecting on the answers to the following questions: What actions have I taken to lessen the impact or duration of the change? When I focus on my change, in what areas do I experience the most discomfort? What can I do to decrease the stress related to how this change has impacted my life?
Take Action to Move Forward
First, think about reality versus possibility. Focus on the reality of what is happening, not what you think could happen. A balanced perspective on how a situation could impact us is necessary. If not, continual reflection on potential consequences will weaken your strength and ability to handle the eventual reality. Next, set realistic expectations. Intermingled with difficult changes are usually circumstances that are beyond our control. Focus on what you can influence, and avoid “should of/would of/could of” thoughts and statements. Then, take action; take one step to lessen the impact, address the area that causes the most discomfort, and decrease your stress. Finally, get support. Reach out to your network for mutual encouragement, support, brainstorming sessions and potential resource sharing.
Donna Johnson-Klonsky, MBA, PCC
DJ Consulting Services Inc.
East Fishkill, New York 12533