Change. Sometimes we like it; sometimes we don’t. Sometimes it’s hurled at us with no warning and no time for preparation. And it’s not at all what we expected or wanted. I’m sure you know what I mean.
So what do we do about it? Because while venting about our struggles can be therapeutic and necessary, there is a point in which we have to move forward and get on the new path. (The thing about change is that it often happens whether or not we are on board.) And once we accept it, we can begin to see the opportunities in the situation.
ACCEPT THE CHANGE
That’s where we start when it comes to adapting to change: Acceptance. There are some who never get past this stage. But we must be willing to embrace and welcome transitions. In fact, we must change our perspective from, “This change is happening to me,” to “I am experiencing a change.” Human beings are indeed capable of flexibility. We are capable of growth and formulating new habits. It might not be the easiest thing, but successful people everywhere are embracing these traits and seeing the fruit of their efforts.
IMPROVE YOUR FLEXIBILITY
Yes, flexibility is the next factor in adapting to change. When we are so rigid that the slightest detour or roadblock throws us off our game, then it’s hard to keep up with the rest of the world. Ideally, you are ready for change before it happens. You expect it, or else you see it coming, and you’re able to move with it. But it doesn’t always work this way. The good news is that it’s not too late to welcome flexibility into your skillset.
FOCUS ON THE FACTS
Change is hard because we fear uncertainty and the unknown. It makes sense. How do you prepare when you don’t know exactly what’s coming? You focus on the facts. You get clear on what you do know. Brush away opinions and emotions for a minute, and look at the reality of the change you’re experiencing and how it truly affects your day-to-day life. If you are leading a team, then be as transparent as possible, and share those facts.
LEAN INTO YOUR TEAM
And hey — while we are talking about teams — remember to lean into the strength of your team. We are stronger when we are united. And we deal with change better when we are not dealing with it alone. Share ideas for how to move through the change. Listen. Give feedback constantly. Think of solutions to the challenges you are experiencing.
PIVOT YOUR DIRECTION
As you communicate with your team to brainstorm ideas, remember that big changes often impact us in ways that will move us off course. So we have to know when it makes sense to stay the course, push back, and give our energy to that singular goal. Because it often makes more sense to pivot direction. Ask yourself, “how can I/we continue to add value to our customers/clients?” Does that need to shift? And as an individual, how can you continue to add value to your team or organization? Does that also need to shift? Creative thinking is an asset here.
FAIL AND GROW
Get ready to welcome failure because, with any transition, there will be plenty of that. Mistakes, slip-ups, falls, and miscalculations. Always, always find the lesson in the failure. And with that in mind, don’t forget to keep the focus on growth and skill-building. When a big change (or sometimes even a little change) happens abruptly, we move into survival mode. We put our attention on just getting by. And that’s important — at first. But once you get your bearings, you have to start moving forward again. What new skills could you benefit from now that there is a change in play? Look at this as an opportunity to learn a new skill or shift to a new role.
SEE THE OPPORTUNITIES
And what is the opportunity for your team or organization? It might be hard to see at first glance. When a transition comes along to shake things up, we often see the cracks in the system. We see the weaknesses (as well as the strengths). Now, what are you going to do about it? Focus on improving what wasn’t working or filling in the gaps of what was missing. See the opportunity to make things better. You absolutely must focus on the positive.
LOOK TO THE FUTURE
Change your mindset to from past- to forward-thinking. When we get fixated on the “way things were,” we are falling into a trap that is hard to get out of. We block ourselves off to any possible solutions. And we are blinded to the possibility of great things that could be coming around the corner.
Whether it’s good or bad, change equals stress. So focus on finding healthy ways to manage and cope. Find an outlet that makes you feel happy and at peace — preferably something you can build into your daily routine as a constant sense of sanity.
Change is life. And life is change. It will come in all shapes and sizes. When you move into a mindset that is ready and willing to adapt (and constantly improve) then you’ll be able to see the opportunity that awaits.
“When fate hands you lemons, make lemonade.” –Dale Carnegie