Change: Something Lost, Something Gained
Let’s face it, change is simply a fact of life that all of us deal with in one way or another. Boiling it down, there are two major types of change: 1) “voluntary” change which we know about and freely choose, and 2) “involuntary” change that is out of our control and often times comes into our lives at the worst possible moment. “Voluntary” change may include such things as: starting a business, changing jobs/companies, going back to school, making a career change, starting or ending a relationship, getting married, having children, retiring, getting healthy, etc. “Involuntary” change can include: death of a loved one, new job responsibilities, an accident, grand children, new technologies, a large inheritance, illness, the economy, company reorganizations, etc.
Regardless of the type of change, there are always losses and gains associated with the change event. Depending on the degree or significance of the change, the losses and gains may be large or small. Losses can include: confidence, sense of security, life direction, self respect, career, co-workers, a job, loved ones, health, independence, etc. Gains can be: new beginnings, hope, dignity, opportunities for growth, learning new skills, freedom, greater income potential, etc.
What’s most important in managing and coping with change is to authentically deal with the losses and quickly start embracing the future gains. I recommend the following 4 step process to help you productively navigate the voluntary and involuntary changes in your life.
1. Acknowledge, experience and accept the losses.
Being authentic and true to yourself, fully express the emotions, feelings, thoughts and physical impact the change is having on you and others in your life. Given the nature of the change and severity of the losses, you may go into denial, become resistant, experience fear, frustration, anger, sadness, guilt, etc. Therefore it is critical that you seek out the appropriate support you need.
2. Get Support
You don’t have to work through change on your own. Stress often goes hand-in-hand with change so identifying the right resources up front is important. Resources may include friends, family, a variety of counselors, psychologist, physicians, coaches, etc. Don’t under estimate the power and benefit of having a “team” to support you during this trying time.
3. Clearly identify and connect with the gains.
Getting emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically connected to the future gains/benefits of the change is essential to moving forward. Once again, having others to support you in brainstorming possibilities, exploring the options, and developing plans can accelerate this step of the process.
4. Getting into action.
Identifying specific and measurable goals along with detailed action plans is often the best step one can take in working through change. Sharing your goals and plans with others and requesting the proper degree of accountability is highly recommended.
So, whether you freely choose to make a change in your life or something or someone places unexpected change upon you, it is your attitude and perspective that is the key to your response to change. You see, where there is loss there is always the possibility of gain – the challenge is finding and embracing it. If you are currently working through change in your professional or personal life, in your business or at home and need support, please give us a call to see if coaching is right for you.