The only constant is change they say. Change can happen gradually and gracefully or it can be imposed on us with stressful results. Whatever the situation, it’s in our best interest to be open to change. And, it’s to our advantage to know and understand our own personal change management style.
So how well do you manage personal change? Here’s the thing: all change management is about managing emotion. Most life changes contain unknown factors which, naturally enough, can trigger a degree of fear.
When contemplating any change we’re usually confronted by a wave of legitimate, but intimidating, questions like:
• Will changing my relationship or my job meet my expectations?
• Will there be negative fallout? How much?
• Can I handle it?
• What if I can’t, then what?
Then there’s the issue of loss. Making a personal change means leaving a situation that’s been familiar and maybe even comfortable. As a result, we experience a kind of grieving even though we know that the change might be inevitable and necessary. No wonder life changes aren’t always easy!
What’s Your Change Management Style?
How you manage personal change says a lot about you. See if you’re one of these:
If you’re a change agent, you’re someone who stays alert for opportunities to change. Once you’ve recognized an opportunity, you’ll think carefully through the risks and benefits and make that change happen.
Are you someone who’s typically not satisfied with the status quo? Perhaps you’re a visionary. They like to think outside the box and have a ‘let’s do it’ attitude. On the downside, visionaries often leap before they look.
Then there are those who endure change, but may not always look forward to it. Their attitude is: “If it’s not broken, why fix it?” Adopters, as they’re called, take a wait-and-see attitude. They’ll climb on the change bandwagon once it gets rolling and picks up support from others.
And finally, there are the change resistors. If adopters initially hesitate to change, resistors take it one step further. Their attitude can be summed up this way: “I don’t care if it is broken, this is the way I’ve always done it so why does it have to change at all?”
TED Talk: The key to transforming yourself
Change Your Life
You can change your life by working on changing your approach to change. Here are four steps that can lead you to more satisfying change management:
1. Regularly declutter
To encourage new changes, it’s important to create the psychological space to do so. Make a list of things, activities and relationships currently in your life. Then decide what to let go of that no longer serves your purpose or enhances your life.
2. Seek out change
Making frequent small changes helps make you more resilient to change. Purposefully step outside your comfort zone. For example, walk more often, save money by not buying a daily coffee, or rearrange your workspace. You’ll be surprised by what big changes you can achieve.
Practice goal setting to reinforce your intentions and create a more positive attitude about change.
3. Trust your judgement
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of cultivating this habit. Change agents have this trait. They carefully consider the pros and cons of any change and trust the outcome. Most importantly, they don’t set themselves up for disappointment and more stress by wanting to know the exact outcome.
If you want to learn more about trusting your gut, read my post on how to develop your intuition.
4. Stay positive
We aren’t able to control every change, but we can control our response to them. It’s the time to be physically, mentally and emotionally tough. Therefore, focus on your successes on a daily basis and look for opportunities.
Try these attitude-boosting 10 ways to amplify your positive energy.
Keep It In Perspective
And here’s something to help keep your personal change management in perspective. When I teach a change workshop I ask participants about the major life changes they’ve made. A majority of them say that these changes - whether imposed or self-initiated - always worked out in the end. In other words, the change process may be stressful but the result will usually be the right one for you.
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