Have you ever lost your job? Cute quotes about making lemonade out of lemonade don’t quite cut it when you get the news, do they? Dealing with change is tough, even for those of us who’ve practiced a lot. We really like Andria’s simple rules for handling the inevitable life changes coming our way. – InPower Editors
Change is a way of life. It is something lots of us have been dealing with lately and are probably always going to be dealing with. As much as we like “the way things are,” eventually and inevitably life changes – seasons change, we grow, children grow up, and time moves on. Change often seems disruptive; yet, we can learn to thrive through change by following a few simple steps. I’ve been through a lot of changes in my life. They started when I was growing up and my family would have to frequently relocate to follow my dad’s corporate career. These changes continued into my adult life – job assignment changes, career changes, divorces – all these things created radical movement and shift in my life and I discovered a few key things that supported me in staying grounded throughout these seemingly large disruptions to my life.
First: Don’t resist the change.
When change is thrust upon us (as when I was a child and would receive the dreaded news from my parents: “We’re moving,”) it’s easy to push back and resist the change. However, if you allow yourself to accept it, turn towards the momentum of the change, you are more able to ride that momentum. As a kid I knew I had no choice – we were moving. The more I cried and yelled that I loved where we lived and didn’t want to move, the worse the change appeared. Once I was able to take a deep breath and accept that there was no way around it, my momentum shifted. Instead of paddling upstream against the current, my acceptance allowed me to turn downstream and flow with the change. It made it much easier to deal with.
One of my clients received devastating news that she was losing her job.
I saw the same dynamic recently when when one of my clients received devastating news that she was losing her job. Initially she resisted that news with her entire being. This created a lot of consternation in her life. As soon as she accepted the fact that she was losing her job, she was able to ride the wave of the change and discover opportunities that were waiting for her on the other side of the change.
Second: Look for opportunity
That’s the next way to thrive during change: look for opportunity. There is always opportunity lurking behind every life change – you just have to seek it out. It is when we resist change that we are unable to see the opportunity change creates. This holds true for changes that are unexpectedly forced upon us or those we create on our own. Several years ago when I began getting internal nudges to leave my corporate job and start my own business, I resisted those internal nudges for a while. Why? Because I was not ready for the huge life changes that acknowledging the nudges would mean – it felt scary. Yet, just like when I had to move as a kid, once I accepted that the change was necessary, I saw the huge opportunities behind taking the leap and leaving my corporate job to start my own business. And, just like with my client who was resisting the fact that she was losing her job – once she accepted it, she began to see the endless opportunities ahead of her – opportunities that would not have otherwise been presented to her if she had not lost her job.
I saw the huge opportunities behind taking the leap and leaving my corporate job to start my own business.
If you’re finding it difficult to see opportunities, try to imagine what the other side of the change will look like for you after you have successfully transitioned through it. Visualize what your life looks like after the change and how relieved and proud you feel to be through it. Often opportunities will present themselves to you as you are focused on your success at the other end of the change.
Third: Control what you can
The third way of thriving during change is to determine what you can control and take action on that. There will be countless things about a life change that will be out of your control. My client could not control the decision took her job away. She wanted to – in fact, she toyed with the idea of making a plea for her company to keep her. She found that trying to control things you can’t is actually a way of resisting life changes, and it prevents you from moving forward. Once she realized that the only thing she could control was her reaction to the decision – and the steps she took in response – she built an action plan to transition through the change – one that was focused on things within her realm of control.
Change can be scary but it doesn’t have to be. These things may seem simplistic but they truly can change the way you handle change: Don’t resist. Seek Opportunities. Take actions on what YOU can control and let the rest go.
What life changes have you survived and thrived through? What tips can you contribute to others facing scary change?
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