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How to Accept Change More Gracefully

Stacy Eads on January 08, 2019

How to Accept Change More Gracefully
In an age of disruption, every industry is seeing rapid-pace change knocking at their doorstep. Some change comes with a polite ring of the doorbell, and other change comes straight through the doorway with a wrecking ball. I admitted to a colleague recently that I’ve never been that great at running toward change with arms wide open. That’s when Doug Hacking of Relationship Resonance, out of Oklahoma sent me “How to get Better at Change” by Nick Tasler.

There were 6 key points to accepting change that I’d like to share with you to “pay it forward”. To paraphrase Mr. Tasler: “Change is an unavoidable constant in our work lives… Our jobs or roles change... Our organizations undergo reorgs and revamp their strategies…”

"We need to adjust. Fortunately, there are ways to adapt to change, and even to take advantage of it."

  1. Find the humor in the situation. This can create levity, and possibly allow you to see a problem or unfunny situation from a new perspective. Witty banter can lighten the office mood and help others feel better along with you. Tasler notes just to be sure the humor is inclusive and respectful. “A good rule of thumb is that other people’s strife is no laughing matter, but your own struggles can be a source of comedic gold.”

  2. Talk about problems more than feelings. Tasler says it’s a myth to think that you can always cope with unwanted change by “working through” your anger or fear aloud. “Research shows that actively and repeatedly broadcasting negative emotions hinders our natural adaptation process.”

    Here’s the golden nugget that was my favorite of the article:
    call out your anxiety or your anger at the outset of a disorienting change so that you are aware of how it might distort your thinking or disrupt your relationships. Then look for practical advice about what to do next. By doing so, you’ll zero in on the problems you can solve, instead of lamenting the ones you can’t.

    How to Accept Change More Gracefully, 2019 Stacy Eads Levant Technologies
  3. Don’t stress about stressing out. “Your reaction to stress has a greater impact on your health and success than the stress itself.” Try to “believe stress is trying to carry you over a big obstacle or through a challenging situation,” the article suggests.

    Another shiny diamond emerged in this article section that I loved:
    When you start to feel stressed, ask yourself what your stress is trying to help you accomplish…
    • Is stress trying to help you excel at an important task, like a sales presentation or a big interview?
    • Is it trying to help you endure a period of tough market conditions or a temporary shift in your organizational structure?
    • Is it trying to help you empathize with a colleague or a customer?
    • Or is stress to trying to help you successfully exit a toxic situation?”

  4. Focus on your values instead of your fears. The author tells us to remind ourselves of what’s important to us. There may be family, friends, creative expression, or specific achievements that can allow that value to create a buffer against the stress that ails us. A decade of studies cited in the article determined that a simple exercise may help. Spend 10 minutes writing about a time when a particular VALUE you hold has positively affected you. This helps us all realize that our personal identity can’t be compromised by one challenging situation.

  5. Accept the past, but FIGHT FOR THE FUTURE. “Even though we are never free from change, we are always free to decide how we respond to it… We should choose to accept the fact that change happens, and employ our freedom to decide what to do next.”

  6. Don’t expect stability. The article describes how in the late 1970s a researcher at the University of Chicago named Salvatore Maddi began studying employees at Illinois Bell during a time when the phone industry was deregulated, and the company had to undergo a lot of changes. Some managers had trouble coping. Others thrived. What separated the two groups?

    How to Accept Change More Gracefully, 2019 Stacy Eads Levant Technologies The adaptive leaders chose to view all changes, whether wanted or unwanted, as an expected part of the human experience, rather than as a tragic anomaly that victimizes unlucky people. Instead of feeling personally attacked by an unfair universe, they remained engaged.

    In contrast, Maddi found that the struggling leaders were consumed by thoughts of “the good old days.” They spent their energy trying to figure out why their luck had suddenly turned sour. They tried to bounce back to a time and a place that no longer existed.
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