Monthly Archives: December 2013
If you have been in the corporate business world for some time, you know that change is the one constant. If you want to exercise your change muscles, the corporate business world is a place that will make you the super athlete of change, because ours is a marathon. The industry and competition have created an environment where change is survival, and refusing to change is no longer an option for a viable, successful business.
Some people embrace change and others are challenged by the very thought of it. Often we resist change because we are in a safe place of complacency. We begin a time of transition when we encounter change. Transition is where the hard work of change happens and where we are most challenged, but it can be a source of renewal if managed deliberately.
Whether you look forward to a change or fear it, it has a powerful impact on your emotions. However, you can increase your sense of control and steer your life into positive place when you know how to manage through the change.
So with that said, nix the go-with-the-flow attitude. That just sets you up for stress, anxiety and fear. Do not resist or fight change. Fueled by anger and frustration, you will sap your strength and find yourself detached and victimized.
Unless you can shift your perception on change- you will continue to resist and struggle with the unknown and experience more stress then needed. Although it is a cliché to say “when one door closes, another one opens”, it is in essence the positive view on change. Do not resist the change, make a conscious decision to choose your attitude about the change and remind yourself that change is a process. Negative thoughts block innovation and critical thinking abilities. Positive thoughts build bridges to possibilities. Reframing your viewpoint on change, and having patience with yourself through the process, is the most important component of being able to get through the transition.
As you are re-framing your view on change, consider meditation or walking, or some other way to breathe deeply and relax. Slowing down even for small moments helps you deal better with change. Prepare to move forward with the change because it will happen. Simply notice that you are in the midst of change and that change is a part of you. This might seem like a no-brainer, but it takes some practice to become aware of change instead of subconsciously denying it. In addition to meditation and walking, try being creative. If you like to write, consider writing about changes you notice. If you like art, consider painting, or other creative projects. No one’s life is free of change. And if it was, you would not feel like you were making progress in life. Relaxing and finding an outlet allows your brain to deliberately begin its re-framing of change.
Next, you must, face your feelings about the change, especially when the change is imposed and beyond your control. Get past the “Why me” and “It isn’t fair”. Figure out what your fears are, try writing about your feelings. You don’t have to be a victim, even when you are not in control of the change.
Adopt an attitude of anticipation. Try to open yourself up to seeing change as an opportunity. Find the benefits the change can offer. There is always an opportunity and if you are driven by negative emotions, you will miss it. Do not dwell on the past. When you focus on the past versus the future you will find yourself in a place of “spin”. “Spin” is constant complaining about what was, what could have been, what should have been. Talking through the transition you are going through is not the same as complaining. Especially when change is being imposed on you, “spin” is something that does not look good on most folks.
The last but certainly not the least advice I can give you so you can consciously guide the change, is to set smart goals. Smart goal setting helps you decide how to make the change happen and to recognize your successes; especially short terms goals which are critical to support feelings of progress. Write out your goals and your plans to meet your goals, and check in with them often.
I realize this advice is easier given then done. But when you consciously choose to think this way, you experience a positive difference in how you deal with change. If you are experience change and would like some tools or direction on getting support, please reach out to me directly.
The other day I happened to hear a song from the early 2000s. I had listened to it many times before, but that day the lyrics took on a new meaning for me. Maybe it was the circumstances in that moment or my recent experiences, either way the following words stuck with me:
“If my life is for rent
and I don’t learn to buy
then I deserve
nothing more then I get,
‘cause nothing I have is truly mine”
I started thinking about ownership and what it means. Ownership (per Merriam-Webster) – it is about having full claim, authority and dominion over something, and acknowledging this claim as one’s own. It is about having control and legal right of possession. This usually requires a greater responsibility and accountability, hence true ownership must be accompanied by commitment. Therefore, knowing the definition of ownership; is there anything more important to have ownership over- then your own life?
Many of us dabble, not fully prepared to commit. Think of all the things in life that require commitment, and which of those things have a sense of finality to them. It is a scary thought; commitment means putting your heart and soul into something and taking a risk. Risk of failure, risk of being hurt. It is much easier to rent a room while we assess the situation – the issue is that a lot of times we never finish the assessment, but instead we keep jumping from rental to rental. For many who rent, if we have a water leak or the heater stops working; we immediately call the landlord and make it their problem to deal with. And if it is not dealt with to our satisfaction, we find a “better” place to rent, ‘cause as a renter- it is really not our problem to spend energy on. As a homeowner, those would be our troubles to deal with – and just the initial thought of the possibility of such negative consequences causes discomfort. Yes – there are risks that come with ownership; hence, just like the rental, we are quick to abandon a dream or goal at first sight of possible failure.
In our need to protect ourselves, we are risk-averse to taking chances that have the potential for discomfort. Chances that have the possibility of causing bruising to our egos or even worse, our heart. This fear has translated to how we handle our careers, our relationships and our dreams of the future. We just go with the flow, looking to others to pave the way for us; to show us the path and hopefully present us with opportunities. It is much easier that way, because if things do not go as we hope they would, we don’t have to take the blame. We can point the finger at someone else. See…safe, right?
Sure, but here is the thing. Just like in the management of an investment portfolio, the higher the risk, the higher the potential for reward. Life, and same goes for your career, your development and your relationships, will return to you what you put into it. So, it is time to face the reality…..what you have and how things are going for you in all these facets of your life, is a direct reflection of what you have put into it.
Some people call it the law of reciprocity, destiny, karma, or other relevant terms that define the personal values of your life- whatever it is to you, it is real. Things and rewards don’t just land in your lap. Your life won’t just suddenly take the direction you have always dreamed of, unless you have been putting the work into it, and continue to put the work into it to stay on course. Many of us say the right things, but never quite match our actions to the words. We riddle our communications daily with non-committal phrases; “I had a thought… it was just a thought….just my 2 cents…keep or toss….just a suggestion”. Always with our bags half-packed, ready to find a new place at the first sign of trouble- and why not? Why deal with the consequences, when you can just avoid them?
I challenge each of you to embrace your goals, your dreams, and your decisions. Stop trying and start doing. Quit running away to find a new rental when the living situation becomes hard or the neighbors start complaining too much. Invest yourself into that which you want. Sure, you will stumble along the way with setbacks and unfortunately you will likely get hurt along the way – but that is a part of the school called life. And remember, you will never taste the sweetness of success unless you have experienced the pain of failure.
Just as in home ownership there will be times you question if what you put in is worth it, but ultimately through all the ups and downs- home ownership is an investment that pays off in the long run. And so is your career, your relationships and your dreams; a long term investment. After all, in the insightful words of Dido, “…if I am so afraid to fail, that I won’t even try, then how can I, say, that I am alive?…”
So, I urge you, starting now:
Own you decisions
Own your choices
Own your actions
Own your development
Own the words you use
Own your responsibilities
Own your goals & dreams
…and you will own your life!