Top tips for dealing with change:
- Acknowledge the change, and come to terms with the fact that change is inevitable. Life is a constant journey through change, recognize where you are on the curve, and consciously find what you need to move forward to the next stage. Also, identify what help you might need in the journey and from whom.
- Be proactive and communicate. What is it that you need to know? Are you basing your actions and feelings on certain assumptions? Which are these? What information do you need to have to check your assumptions? Who might have the information you need? Transparency in change processes is key (even if that transparency is sharing that there is no plan or answer…).
- Confront your feelings and face your fears. Ask yourself, how are you feeling? What are you worrying about? What is the worst that can happen? How could you deal with it? Putting words on your fears can help you get perspective and distance to the scary scenarios you’ve built up in your head. The circle of influence is also a great exercise for this.
- Positive psychology (Appreciative Inquiry). Make yourself aware of the fact that you’ve gone through MANY changes and transitions in your life so far already. What did you do last time you were faced with a change? What strengths of yours did you utilize to handle this change? What actions did you do to support yourself in moving through this change? Who else supported you? What worked last time and what could you replicate in this scenario? Use your experience of embracing the change and help yourself and others to do the same.
- Be agile and adaptive. Navigating through change is like navigating through thick fog. We might be (hopefully) aware of the direction we want to go but the steps getting there might be hard for us to see. Allow yourself to be open to the opportunities that change could present. What is the first small step you can take in the right direction? Take that step and after each step evaluate and recalculate the steps you want to take. Once you’ve taken a step there will be visibility and options for the following step. Once there you can take the second step, a step that was invisible until you took the first.
- Be patient. While easier said than done, be mindful that change takes time and that it isn’t a linear journey. Things might become clearer for you to then become fuzzy and uncertain again. Take one step at a time and use the curve to identify where you are in the process and how this affects how you feel.
- Your own sustainability. As change takes time you need to take care of yourself in this journey. What do you need to feel mentally, physically, and emotionally strong? How can you manage your personal well-being?
- Show gratitude and appreciation. In this uncertainty of change, what can you be grateful for? What things are still the same and a solid part of your life? What can you be appreciative of today?
Change and transition in life and in work is inevitable. We are in the deep of it right now; coping with an immediate health crisis, which seems to be changing our societies profoundly, while at the same time facing a range of global social and environmental sustainability problems. How we deal with this, both the immediate threat and the more long-term ones will define our future, it really is existential. We must embrace the change as we now move forward, it shows that we are evolving and growing while doing all within our reach to build a prosperous future for all humanity within our planetary boundaries.