How can you better adapt to change?
Why does change suck so much?
As the old saying goes, “the only thing constant in life is change.”
This past Monday, my company had a change consultant come to our office named Paula Mulford. Paula’s been working in the field of change consulting for more than 25 years, and was brought in to help our organization shift from an office and cube farm setup to open office environment. Needless to say, many things changed as our office got smaller and moved to different part of the city. We all went through change as we transitioned to a new noisier, more collaborative, smaller, more social, less formal and more exciting space.
Paula’s role as a consultant – spending about 4 hours total with us – brought out multiple exercises, fascinating facts, demos and group activities.
Did you know that the number one factor indicative of professional success is a commitment to self development?
What kinds of changes have you had in your life in the past 5 years?
Take 3 minutes to reflect yourself: what changes have happened to you in the last 5 years? Job, title, boss, living situation, relationship, location changes? Which ones of these were hard? Which were good changes? Which were significant experiences that you learned from?
Sometimes the hardest changes are be ones that we learn and grow the most from.
How do you react to change?
People tend to go through multiple stages in reacting to new experiences; it’s important to acknowledge that and try to process it. Acknowledging that there is a process can help you to develop strategies to process it and get over it.
Managing change is a life skill, and so many of the books and advice I’ve read and heard reinforce this. It got me thinking, especially after meeting Paula and going through a half-day workshop on change, how have I adapted to change in the past and how can I continue to embrace these kinds of activities in the future?
Here are some techniques that I’ve used to adapt to change:
- Career: keep my skills relevant to avoid becoming obsolete when the job market changes through audio books (hello, Audible) and certifications like this one; talk to friends and co-workers about skills that I should develop related to my career goals; create collaborative, meaningful relationship with people that I like and trust at work to be able to have honest exchanges about my skills and the environment I’m in.
- Relationship-related: balance time with family and friends; recognize when shifts happen in friendships (as my sister says, some relationships are for a reason, a season or a lifetime… and it’s okay when a relationship evolves and you don’t have things in common with that person).
- Personal: embrace the excitement of change; start to internalize that mentality that most things aren’t forever, so you can have perspective that any given experience that isn’t enjoyable can change or that a great experience should be savored but not clung to too tightly; re-evaluate and reflect on your life every so often (for me in 2014, I’m reviewing my goals on a weekly, monthly and annual basis).
I even had an “embrace change” happy hour last year to celebrate and embrace the huge life changes (break up, move and job change) that I had recently experienced. Who’d drink to that?!
But, if we all know that in any point in our lives (whether late 20s, late 90s or some other point in our existence), the rest of our lives is going to be full of change, what other attitude would you want to take than to try to be as positive as you can – assuming that you really are aiming for a happy life?
What resources, books or techniques have you used to adapt to change?