Why do people resist change? Is it always a good thing? Is it always a bad thing? What should you do when faced with change? Our reaction to change can be a reflex, but there are things you can to do help deal with change, and anticipate the opportunities it offers. We understand that some change, usually the unexpected, uncontrollable, unwelcome change, can throw you a curve ball that will take time to recover from. But sometimes it's about acknowledging and looking past fear, to what lies beyond it. And sometimes it's about using your own strengths and capabilities to deal with the curve ball. Hopefully these tips will help you do so.
Recognise the Obstacle: Fear…
When we resist change, it's usually because of fear. It is important to understand our reactions to this fear: we create arguments to justify our decision not to move forward. We can become so overwhelmed with fear that we maintain the status quo, even when something better is on the horizon. If you want to overcome your fear, here are some words of wisdom:
Understand that fear is universal. Even the most successful people in the world fear something. Compare yourself with someone you know who has experienced a similar situation. You'll tell yourself "If she can do it, then I certainly can." In reality, this is totally true.
Be prepared for change. Notice what goes on around you. Consider the possible outcomes of situations, events and decisions, and think through what your reactions would be if the situation arose. You'll be more equipped to move into positive actions.
Accept failure as part of change. We will sometimes get things wrong. We shouldn't focus on the failure, rather what failure taught us so we do not repeat it. By changing your mindset to look at failure as an opportunity to grow and to learn, you will create the behaviours to support taking the risk.
Allow change to happen. There is a difference between change you can control and change you can't control. The only way your life will change is if you let change happen. When you can control a change, you need to try to embrace the opportunity it offers.
…and Then Learn to Navigate the Change Jungle
So, you've figured out how to manage your fear relating to change. And change has arrived. You can read all sorts of advice on embracing change. But who relishes job loss or heartbreak? Who can accept change like that without any thought? A better approach can be to navigate through the change, drawing on your internal resources. It is how you choose to react to change that determines the full impact it will have on you. Try remembering the following and influence the way you respond to change:
Apply perspective. Sometimes, what is a small change to one person, is a scary, unwelcome adjustment to another. An unwanted change in job hours can be devastating to you, but to a workmate, it is a gift, because the alternative was a loss of their job. We need to remember perspective and context. Sometimes our attitude to change can improve when we look at the alternatives and consider the tougher challenges others are facing.
We all experience ups and downs in life. We will all live through pain and difficult times. We shouldn't be afraid to rely on others during those times, with the knowledge that we will return the support during others' times of need. And most of us are also lucky enough to enjoy some wonderful moments in life. Dealing with sorrow and challenge should help us treasure the good times, and remembering the good times should help us wade through the difficult times.
Draw on your experience. Your life experience has provided you with knowledge you can use when dealing with change. The very first time you walked into a job, you were probably terrified. The fourth time you started a new job, you probably realised that the nerves are real, but they will pass. Using that knowledge can help you survive the first days or weeks of your new job. You've learnt that you will adapt and become comfortable.
Sometimes you can control change, and sometimes you can't. You can choose to make a scary move overseas for work, but you can't escape a serious illness. There is definitely a difference in how you react to a change you choose, compared to one which was forced on you. The principles, however, remain the same: you need to acknowledge and work through your fear, and then use inner strength to cope with the change. It's not about pretending that sorrow and challenge aren't there, but you can prepare for them, and live through them, with your own capability and the support of those around you. You'll learn from the change and be a stronger person for it.