3 Ways to Change How You Approach Change
You may or may not know by now that one thing we think is really important is talking about Change--partly because it's inevitable in today's environment, and partly because with change comes great opportunities to make things (and people) better. But a lot of us perceive change as the end of the world--something to dread or complain about. So if that's you, know that you're not alone, and there's hope!
So how can you get ahead of change? How can you prepare yourself for the process when you don't even know what changes lie ahead? Funny you should ask--we've got a few ideas to get you started!
The next time you find yourself facing change--no matter how big or small--give these a shot to help you get through the transition successfully.
1. Look for Loose Change
Not every change is a huge one--and there are lots of smaller, do-able changes embedded in the big ones. Start by anticipating how you'll handle the "little stuff." From your local grocery store running out of your favorite coffee to the construction on a key portion of your commute, to someone adding something to the scope of your work week or your free-time. How could you handle it? What's your "backup" plan? Pick three small things that are important to you, but somewhat outside of your control, and plan out your response if they should happen to change. Then, when the moment comes, you'll be ready.
2. Think Big and Great!
Now think of those three changes or the scenarios we mentioned, and mute your inner pessimist for a moment to picture the best-case scenario. Ignore that little voice that's telling you to "Be practical" and identify something really cool that could come out of this change. We'll get you started using the possibilities we mentioned a bit ago...
- You find a new favorite coffee that's even better - and less expensive.
- The new route for your commute has better scenery, fewer traffic lights, and a chance to finish that audiobook you started in March.
- You conquer your piece of the added project scope and your boss sends you a note telling you your hard work hasn't gone unnoticed, and that you're first in line for a promotion.
- The thing you had to swap out your free time for winds up building or restoring a relationship, helping someone you care about, improving the world around you, or even enhancing your own outlook.
Practice looking for the positive, and then when you need it on the big stuff, you'll have the mental muscle memory to give it a shot!
3. Let's Get Real
Let's switch gears from all those positive vibes to putting the worst-case scenario in perspective. If the worst happens, well, so what? Make a deliberate and conscious effort to put the worst case in the right frame of reference, and the unknown won't seem quite so scary.
- If I have a different coffee and don't like it, does that mean I've just committed to drinking awful java for the rest of my life? Nope, I'm just out the $2.85 I spent on that first cup, and I can try something else tomorrow.
- If I have to set my alarm 10 minutes early to get to work, will that really be bring my world to an untimely end? Most construction detours only feel permanent, but in the grand scheme of things, even 10 minutes per weekday for the next 6 months is only about 20 total hours over half a year. 20 hours - that's not so much...how many of us blink during an average work week only to find that much time gone before we leave the office on Tuesday?
- If the thing that I get asked to do is somehow challenging or tough to squeeze in, or if I have to say "not this time" or "I can't" or "I need help", is that it? Does that result in the finality of failure? Probably not. More likely, it will just give me a chance to establish critical success factors for saying "yes" next time.
If you take anything away from this message, we hope it's that with every change comes an opportunity, and not to lose sight of positive outcomes to keep you going; AND to remember to put even the worst-case scenario in perspective, because chances are that life will go on.