5 ways to navigate through change productively
Publisher’s Note: CUInsight is hosting our Mini-Con Series: CHANGE on Wednesday May 12th at 1 pm EDT. We hope you’ll join us! Register here.
Change is hard. Change is constant. And most importantly, the impact we experience from change is, in large part, within our control. Maya Angelou said it best, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
We have all experienced unprecedented change in this past year. However, change is not exclusive to COVID – change is constant, and learning how to navigate it proactively and productively is an essential life skill.
Here are 5 quick tips to consider:
- Tune into your thoughts: What is your self-talk and internal dialogue? Often our fear of, or discomfort with change starts with the story we tell ourselves about it. Those stories evoke emotions. It is beneficial to take a breath and choose our path forward rather than allowing our emotions to choose that path. Consider if your thoughts are based on fact, assumptions, or gossip. If either of the latter two, spend time gathering data and facts, and objectively consider that information in relation to your next steps. Remain focused on components of change that you can control, which always includes your choice of perspective and attitude.
- Surround yourself with forward-thinking people: When we are upset or worried, we often want to be around people who will agree with and validate our feelings. Our emotions are certainly valid, and we want to honor them and process through them. However, surrounding ourselves with people who perpetually foster a negative mindset and are challenged in proactive thinking and actions will only foster those same attributes in us. Find people who have a knack for objective and forward thinking. They will challenge you and inspire you to embrace change and make the most of it.
- Consider your goals: By viewing change through a broader lens, we can often see potential benefits. For instance, if you lose your job unexpectedly, what options and opportunities do you have now? What path forward will you choose? Is there a career path you have always wanted to pursue? Do you have a network within your current industry that could support you in your next steps? Is there short-term or temporary work you can utilize to bridge the gap while you pursue your next career step? Do not allow yourself to be swallowed up by the change. Process it, accept it, and move forward from it on your terms with your focus on the future.
- Show yourself grace: Some changes are undeniably difficult, challenging, and life-changing: losing a loved one for example, or the reality of a tough health diagnosis. If you are experiencing a change that hits you deeply, allow yourself time to grieve, to go through the emotions you are experiencing. If you need help, ask for help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness or frailty; it is a sign of strength, and the wisdom of knowing that sometimes we need support to move forward.
- Don’t get stuck: Whatever change you are experiencing or struggling with, it is imperative you move through it. We can all get stuck in being upset, sad, or worried. This is normal, and it is ok to sit with that for a bit. However, if we get stuck in that place of emotion, we have allowed circumstances to dictate our direction. We have a choice, even in very difficult situations. We have a choice of remaining stuck in the emotions or choosing our next steps toward forward progress. We have a choice of living in sadness, fear, or regret, or of choosing a path towards healing, possibilities, and potential.
“The last of the human freedoms: to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. And there were always choices to make. Every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom; which determined whether or not you become the plaything to circumstance, renouncing freedom and dignity…” – Viktor Frankl
Don’t forget to join CUInsight for our Mini-Con Series: CHANGE on Wednesday May 12th at 1 pm EDT. Learn more and register here.