Ever since I began working in this job – my first job – my manager has constantly been reminding me about the need to constantly find ways to grow and improve myself, and never remain in your comfort zone.
After a year of picking up the ropes and getting familiar with the duties required in my job, I realize how valuable this word of advice from my manager is. As weeks and months went by, I became so comfortable with my job that the work became pretty much a frequent routine for me. And this was good AND bad news – Because the only way to progress further isn’t to remain in this comfortable position but to look for Change & Advancement.
However, it’s a tough uphill journey, isn’t it?
Whether you’re experiencing change out of your own volition, or due to external factors; whether you’re experiencing change as an individual or change within an organization, there’s always unseen inertia that holds you back and challenging times to get through it.
Most of us go through these changes in our personal lives and in our workplaces without thinking about how we can “manage” them better. But there are ways to help you manage these changes – whether personal changes or organizational changes – effectively! In this week’s blog post I wanted to first share some steps you can take to more effectively manage personal change. (Stay tuned to Monday’s post when I will share tips on how to effectively manage organizational change!)
Managing Change as an Individual
1. Visualize the hopeful and great future
Begin with picturing yourself in the future with the life you dream of.
It’ll help if you could even try creating a “vision board” with images that represent the things you want in your life. Place the vision board in a place where you see it often, maybe in your bathroom cabinet or on your bedroom wall. This vision board should be a living representation of things that fulfill your life.
Then what’s left to make this vision a reality is earnest desire, willingness, belief, and commitment to achieving it – step by step.
2. Understand & face up to your emotions
It’s natural for people who go through a change to experience a number of different emotions.
The ‘five stages of grief’, which were introduced by Physiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, describes the various stages that a person might go through while under an enormous amount of negative stress:
- Denial – “I feel fine.” “This can’t be happening, not to me”. This is a human defense mechanism, where you are unable to take in facts and information about the situation. The denial might be conscious or unconscious.
- Anger – “Why is this happening to me? It’s not fair!” You might be angry with yourself, others or the world. It’s common to feel frustrated, anxious, irritated, embarrassed and ashamed.
- Bargaining – In this stage, you start looking for alternatives. If you are going through a divorce, you might want to suggest “being just friends”, if you are going through illness you might try to bargain for more time. It’s common that you want to share your story with others, and you struggle to find meaning to what has happened.
- Depression – What’s the point? Who cares? During a depressed state, you commonly distance yourself from others. You commonly feel overwhelmed and lack energy. It’s natural to feel sadness, regret, fear, and uncertainty.
- Acceptance – “It’s going to be alright, I will get over this”. In this stage, you come to terms with the change and accept it. You start to explore new options and make new plans.
3. Find Balance in your life
Don’t forget about striking a balance in your life, in order to manage change better.
If you manage to strike a good balance between your work, family, community or other commitments and yourself, changes become easier to tackle. Finding this right balance takes planning and discipline, and you need to make a conscious decision to find balance and spend your time and energy accordingly.
4. Be true to yourself
Do not follow the crowd or be influenced by those around you to chase after things you believe you “ought to have”. This might be a big promotion to become the Executive Director or to make enough money to buy your dream apartment.
But instead, ask yourself – What is it that you really want in your life?
Be true to yourself and don’t get blinded by what everyone else around you is doing. Make sure that your heart, mind, and soul are in sync, and that’s when you will be ignited with energy that will push you through trying times of change.
5. Maintain a Positive Mindset
The final, and definitely the most important step in order to successfully manage change is to have a positive mindset.
You may not be able to prevent change from happening, but you can control how you wish to react to change.
Do not become a person who resists change and becomes a ‘negaholic’, which means to be someone with a very pessimistic outlook of the future and someone who holds on to the belief that they are powerless. To have a positive mindset, you need to think positive thoughts. Instead of thinking, “I can’t”, your first thought should be “Of course I can!” A positive mindset is guaranteed to make you feel more confident, happier, and healthier.