Adapting to Change
By Debbie Ciccotelli, Vice President, Strategic Initiatives
We have all heard the old saying “change is the only constant in life” and we know that to be resilient, both personally and professionally, we have to face change head on and get to the other side.
The world rarely stands still. Change blows through our lives, sometimes like a breeze, sometimes like wind and most recently like a storm.
Covid-19, and its “variants” turned our lives upside down and as we begin recovery, we are now facing organizational change as we experience role adjustments and leadership and contract change. Many of us have also experienced significant change in our personal lives, such as loss of a loved one, marriage, divorce, promotion, childbirth, health, or financial issues, etc.
We are often uncertain as to whether the changes in our work or personal life will be for the better. The harsh reality that we all must face is that change will never end until we experience that final life-ending change, and even then, life will go on without us.
Change can be challenging for everyone to one degree or another, but just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean it’s bad. Here are some tips to help you better navigate change and adapt with ease.
Accept the Change
Understand that change is a natural part of life, both in and outside of the workplace. By learning to accept that change is a natural occurrence, we can more quickly adapt when it happens. Remind yourself that many of the best opportunities in life show up when we are open to change.
A positive attitude is essential. Maintaining the ability to view a potential change with a positive attitude is integral to your ability to adjust rapidly. Focus on what could be made possible because of this change.
Get a Fresh Perspective
Getting an outside perspective from friends or family members outside of your home or workplace can have a powerful effect on how quickly you adapt. These conversations can help you realize how rapidly other workplaces change as well. They may be able to be offer advice on how to better cope with the changing environment.
Focus on What You Can Control
When you’re in the midst of a change, the feeling of having no control can often emerge. This sense of powerlessness can set the mind reeling on an emotional downward spiral. But in reality, even in the direst situations, we have some degree of control. The important thing is to try to focus on the things that you can control. This shift in mindset, away from what you can’t control, can leave you feeling happier and more fulfilled.
Practice Good Self-Care
The anxiety and stressors that often surround change can have a direct impact on our bodies and emotional state. Our mental well-being can suffer. That’s why it’s essential to get adequate sleep, exercise regularly, and eat a healthy diet. Attending to your physical well-being is more important than ever. A well-rested and balanced body can better handle the roller coaster of ups and downs that come with change and subsequent transitions.
Set New Goals
Setting a new goal can help to renew your purpose and give you the clarity of focus. It can bring a new mindset shift that directs your energy and propels you forward. Instead of worrying about the change, you can focus on the actions that will move you towards your goal. As you advance toward a new beginning, take stock of what you need to accomplish those goals and identify opportunities that will help you move forward. This can have a powerful impact on your energy and state of mind.
Stay Connected to Coworkers
To maintain your productivity and workplace success, it’s important to stay connected to coworkers as your work environment is evolving. Speaking with coworkers regularly can help you stay plugged in to what’s happening around you.
Become good at asking questions, because the more you know about what is going on in your current workplace, the more confident you will feel. Talking to others can help you maintain your positivity, boost your spirits and increase your energy.
Sometimes the best antidote to change-related worry is to stop focusing on yourself and start helping others. Ask yourself: How can I best support a family member, friend or co-worker who is feeling anxious about a change in their life or work?
Answering this question and taking action can help soften the edge of your own change issues while providing greater purpose and meaning to your life.
Learn to Love to Learn
Technology is always changing! It seems you just become accustomed to one procedure, and you must suddenly adapt to a new one. New policies are also being established every day. And let’s not forget the new government regulations that often make our jobs harder. Adapting to change is critical to success.
Achievement-oriented people know that to be able to excel in all they do, and live their lives to full potential, continuous learning must be a lifelong process.
Learning new skills should be constant, no matter how much experience you may have and no matter how old you may be. Focus on the sense of accomplishment you feel when you have learned any new skills or gained knowledge on any topic.
See the Opportunity
With every change comes great opportunity. It may not feel that way at first, but people who can maintain their composure during times of transformation can often find new avenues for growth and advancement. Look for areas where you can gain skills while at the same time strive to understand the new playing field that’s emerging.
Finally, be patient with yourself and others. Adapting to change does not occur overnight. Keep a positive attitude and focus on the benefits and new opportunities change can bring. If it’s a change in your personal life, view adapting to it as a challenge. Just be sure to expect a few bumps in the road along the way. When you experience stages of resistance and uncertainty but are then able to assimilate change and finally conquer it, you will experience an enormous sense of accomplishment, and your self-esteem will be increased.
“The only way to make sense out
of change is to plunge into it, move
with it, and join the dance.”
ALAN WILSON WATTS
Adapting to change can take time and patience. We must accept that change is happening; hone strategies for dealing with the unknown; and then shift our behavior to accommodate new situations and challenges.
It helps to have cornerstone beliefs and cornerstone friends and family members to ground us during periods of especially drastic change, but one of the major strategies for adapting to change personally is simply realizing that you can’t avoid it and understanding that you will get through it. You may even find that new and exciting opportunities show up for you when you learn to accept and embrace change.