“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer
In the last series, I shared the “Science of Change,” which collectively includes the characteristics of each of the nine stages of change — ways to determine which stage you are on and practical steps to move forward. The Stages of Change (stand up to, accept, rise above, manage, evolve, embrace, champion, welcome and master) are like the major highways one encounters on one’s journey from confronting to conquering a change. Regardless of whether the change is one we eagerly anticipate or dread, we must all successfully navigate the nine stages or highways.
The Art of Change
Even though you have the roadmap through the Stages of Change, you still need other assets to travel through a change successfully. Those tools you need are called “Change Proficiencies.” For tools to be helpful, we must learn when and how to apply them. “The Art of Change” is a set of principles that guide which tool or tools would assist in a situation and directions on how to use them to achieve desired results. Together, the “art” and “science” of change makes it possible to approach, process and master the changes you will encounter on every professional and personal journey.
Leaders, as you learn these strategies, you will be able to masterfully create sustainable and thriving teams, environments and companies or careers. They will guide you and those you lead through organizational changes and everyday challenges.
This article is the first in the series “The Art of Change,” where I will share the most significant characteristics of each of the Change Proficiencies, starting with the first one, “Honor What Is.” In each article, you will also gain insight into the “Art of Change” to minimize roadblocks to your success.
Why Must We “Honor What Is?”
Frequently, a change requires us to let go of something or someone and move forward to accept or embrace something different. Often, we may be confronted with uncertainty as to how the various situations might impact us. Unanswered questions could capture our thoughts and wreak havoc on our emotions. Unfortunately, our feelings can often influence our decisions. To make better decisions, we need to achieve clarity. We must refocus.
What Does It Mean?
The change proficiency “Honor What Is” means acknowledging your thoughts and emotions about a situation. Honor who you are at any given moment, not who you wish you were or how you wish you felt. Often, our natural inclination is to turn away or deny how we think or feel. Instead, honor what is. Then, decide if, what and when you plan to do something about it.
How Do You Do It?
To honor what is, you must unweave the emotions from the facts. As stated before, that does not mean denying how you feel. Instead, separate charged emotions that can affect your perception from your thoughts, and then honor the facts.
For example, at one time, you might have said, “I am frustrated because I do not have the resources I need.” To separate the emotion from the thought, you have to state how you feel, without the emotion tugging at you, similar to how you would declare a business fact or statistic. You will know you have released the emotions tied to a thought when you can think or say it without being emotionally charged. Facts without an emotional charge attached are easier to manipulate, decipher and use to develop action plans.
The “Honor What Is” proficiency, like other tools, can become counter-productive. We must honor what is — not drown in it. Pondering how the situation came about or who you feel is responsible will bind you to the past and blind you to future possibilities. To loosen the grip of difficult realities, concentrate your thoughts on your goal. Then, analyze the facts to make decisions that will more closely align you with your objective.
When you accept just the facts, you gain clarity and vital information to make better decisions. Pathways forward become more visible. It enables you to progress towards your professional goals, no matter what limitations or circumstances are present.
The next article will introduce the next Change Proficiency, “Hold Onto Self.”
Donna Johnson-Klonsky, MBA, PCC
DJ Consulting Services, Inc.
East Fishkill, New York 12533