Growth. Improvement. Progress. We learn new skills or increase old ones. We try and try again. It’s worth our time and energy because the outcome makes us better than before. Not only because we’ve gained knowledge but because the process of growing has improved us as well.
Do you see what those three words have in common? They are all different ways of describing change. Ah, but change. That word has a different feeling, doesn’t it?
Change. For many it may as well be a four letter word. For some it is akin to fear or harm or doubt. Change can be frightening. It involves uncertainty and the possibility of mistakes or missteps. It takes what is known and turns it on its head. Change can also be exciting. It opens up possibilities and makes opportunity where none existed before. It shows you things you’ve never seen before.
When you step back and look at change, how do you feel about it? Do you see a black hole of the unknown? This perspective is actually quite common. We fear change because the change process is hard. It forces us to admit that we have more to learn. That there may be a better way of doing things. And the new way of doing things is unclear.
Which is it for you? Do you dread change? Fear change? Welcome change? Embrace change? Regardless what your stance on change might be, there are a few things you can consider when it comes your way.
How can we learn to approach change with a sense of excitement and expectation?
Accept that most change is hard.
Acknowledge that there may be a struggle ahead. It may be a small struggle or it may be a large struggle. Preparing for the struggle gives you the opportunity to feel more powerful in the midst of change, which helps to frame change as a positive rather than a negative. The obstacle is not the change process. The obstacle is the old way of doing things.
Extend grace to yourself and others.
Grace in the midst of change can be a breath of fresh air and a drink of cool water (yes, both!). Remembering that change can be hard, and that others are working through things as well, can begin to relieve some of the stress that everyone is feeling during this time of change. Add to that measure of stress relief a willingness to allow yourself and others to express emotion, and to vent now and again, and you will find a more lasting sense of peace.
Stay the course.
In the midst of the change process turning back may seem inviting. It may feel easier to “just go back to the way things were.” Undoing change and stepping backward will leave you feeling defeated. Instead rally the troops. Muster the gumption, and keep to the change path set before you. The end result is a prize worth working toward.
Want to focus your attention on getting more comfortable with change? Consider taking “Managing Change Effectively“ from our online campus.
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