3 Ways to Manage Change and Flex your Adaptability Muscle

“Some people don’t like change.  But you need to embrace change if the alternative is disaster.”   Elon Musk.

If you struggle to manage change, then I guess this year has been more than a turbulent one. Adapting and finding ways to deal with change are an essential part of managing your life and your career.

The particular changes that COVID-19 brought meant we were totally unprepared.  A lot of change happens like this.  You are merrily going about your life and then suddenly the rug is pulled out from under you.  Unproductive responses to change include denial, fear, an inability to move forward and running around like a headless chicken.

I have learnt a lot about adaptability and reacting to change this year, both from working with clients who have required assistance and through measuring adaptability through psychometric testing in Emotional Intelligence.  See below for more details on this.

So, I’m going to share what I’ve learnt in the hope that it may help you.

Firstly, trying to fight against change or going into denial is the least effective way to deal with change – I know, tell me something I don’t know I hear you shout.  To which my reply would be, well why are you doing it then?

Change brings up uncomfortable emotions.  Instead of suppressing or ignoring these emotions the key is to tune into them.  What is it about the change that you need to deal with first?  Put first things first.  You don’t have to do everything all at once.  One task at a time and you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve.    Another method to rid yourself of denial is journaling.  Get it all out on the paper.  All the emotions, all the fear, all of it.  I guarantee this will enable you to move forward.  Try it.

Secondly, it helps to have patience and a lot of it.  You can’t control if events will happen as planned, but you can control your reaction to them.  Things will go wrong.  It’s how you deal with them that counts.  I have learnt to be patient and step back from the situation.  Let it simmer for a while before making that phone call or checking on something for the umpteenth time.

Thirdly, planning and organization are absolutely key.  I learnt this more so than ever this year. Forward planning when you can do it helps immeasurably. I don’t mean weeks of planning in advance; I mean even a little planning the evening before will give you that little bit more confidence in how you begin your day.  There’s no point having a plan if you don’t stick to it!  It needs to be flexible, but you need to be checking in to your plan every day to ensure you stay on track.  Plans will require constant adjustment.  The most adaptable people adjust and adapt as they go.

Finally, I learnt that a little self-compassion never goes amiss.  Change is hard.  We are learning to adapt all of the time.  It’s constant lessons in getting back up and having another lash at it. Personally, I have learned to be less grumpy in the face of events over which I have absolutely no control! I attempt to stick to my plan, and I row my boat gently downstream.

On the plus side (aside from the tragedies and loss which are obviously devastating) there have also been many advantages and good things that have come from this period of change, and that is usually the case with change.  You have to get through the obstacles to reach the good stuff!  If you are having a tough time dealing with change and you would like to measure your levels of adaptability and resilience, please fill out the contact form at https://proactivecoaching.ie or email justine@proactivecoaching.ie and I would be happy to do a free 30 minute consultation to help you move forward.

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