Still reeling from the after-effects of the pandemic compounded by turbulent economic times, when someone asks how things are going, my response has sometimes been, “It is becoming manageable,” or, “I am managing.” Shrouded in the uncertainty about how long I can juggle multiple projects while looming deadlines follow me like a shadow, I occasionally become disheartened. After being struck by a change, do you wonder how to find the sweet spot where a lot is happening simultaneously, but you aren’t dropping any balls?
Re-examining our priorities will help ensure well-meaning intentions align with our purpose to minimize faulty decision-making or procrastination, especially in unpredictable situations. In this article, I will pair the fourth stage of change, “Manage,” with the Change Proficiencies”Reassess Mindset” and “Purposeful Intentions.” These tools will help you rebound without sacrificing performance and heighten the connection between your aspirations and activities.
Manage: Fourth Stage of Change
Unlike the third stage of change, “Rise Above,” in which you start to regain mental fortitude, in this stage, your renewed physical strength empowers you to engage in more actions to increase your impact on your new circumstances. Despite a barrage of unanswered questions, your focus has shifted from what you cannot control to what you can influence. You have successfully weathered the storm, feel a greater sense of security and are less discouraged by minor setbacks.
Resist the urge to focus on what is no longer available, where you think you should be or how others might have impacted your professional goals. Remember, your thoughts will continue to play an essential role in developing the deep roots required to withstand the strong forces you will face as you take on more complex challenges.
While it feels good to finally be strong enough to take actions that lead to your desired results, avoid the trap of trying to make up for lost time. Monitor your energy and resist the temptation to juggle too many balls — which could lead to physical exhaustion.
Change Proficiency: “Reassess Mindset”
There are so many moving pieces on the “Manage” stage that getting lost in the noise can be easy. When you “Reassess Mindset,” you minimize the impact of circumstances that could compromise your thinking, reasoning and decision-making capabilities. A famous quote by Henry Ford says, “Whether you think you can or can’t either way, you are right.” Recognize the power of the thoughts you transmit to yourself — whether these beliefs are expressed silently or verbally, your mind treats that information as directives. Then, it becomes fully engaged in identifying information and activities that support your instructions.
As a result of your change, you likely emerged, to some degree, mentally or emotionally bruised. Neutralize non-productive or outdated assumptions concerning your capabilities or competence so that they do not erode your confidence. When counterproductive thoughts emerge, dismiss them immediately to minimize their effect. Embrace new or emerging truths that align with recent evidence of your strength, perseverance and commitment. Upgraded beliefs about yourself and what is possible will expand your ability to create the foundation you need to rebound quicker.
Although not intentional, our expectations sometimes can set us up for failure. It is more advantageous to design professional “experiments” to elevate awareness instead of success or failure outcomes. An experimental mindset creates learning opportunities for continual growth by providing additional insight to illuminate our pathway. During coaching sessions, many of my clients outline the experiment they will engage in for the upcoming week after selecting a situation in which they want to expand their understanding. When we reconnect, they often share that they were able to gain and apply insight because they approached the problem in an open-minded, playful and experimental way. Avoid unrealistic experiments which can leave you unmotivated or encourage you to bite off more than you can chew.
Change Proficiency: “Purposeful Intentions”
While “Reassess Mindset” minimizes obstacles that could interfere with making the best decision, “Purposeful Intentions” helps form and nurture a continual connection between our higher purpose and the work necessary to accomplish our objective. No matter how much we enjoy pursuing our goal, there will be specific activities we do not look forward to completing, even though those same tasks may be essential to achieving our dreams. This tool helps to create and sustain a powerful bridge between your end goal and the assignments that make that vision a reality.
Of course, we must first be able to articulate our vision clearly. What does it look and feel like? Why must you achieve it? Determine whether your future vision is still what you desire or obtainable, as new or different circumstances can alter previous dreams. For example, based on the change you experienced, how you envisioned being the company’s leader may no longer be possible, but that does not mean you will not one day be a leader in a similar capacity.
Infuse your higher purpose into everything you do; your higher purpose should be intertwined into your daily tasks like technology is intertwined in our lives. Filtering your activities through your higher purpose creates a connection between your heart and mind, unleashing powerful motivation and energy. It will help you to “see” your work through the lens of your higher purpose. Also, the closer your projects are connected with your “why,” the easier it will be to channel your passion into more complicated tasks and overcome procrastination. For continual and sustainable progress, strive to monitor and strengthen the connection between your dreams and each activity connected to them.
Leaders, we will not achieve the best professional outcomes if rapidly changing circumstances continually compromise our thinking. The “Reassess Mindset” strategy helps you reclaim your focus and react quickly to obtain the best results. To regain ground or continually pursue your ultimate vision, the tool “Purposeful Intentions” creates an energetic connection to bridge the gap between tasks we might find challenging and our higher purpose.
Donna Johnson-Klonsky, MBA, PCC
DJ Consulting Services, Inc.
East Fishkill, New York 12533