Change happens. To all of us. How we manage change in our lives, and our work differs from person to person.
I listened, gave him some advice, and he walked away feeling much better. Easy for me to say, right? The thing is when the tables have been turned, and I’ve been through a change, I felt the same way he did, resistance. Doubt. Even fear.
Why are we so good at seeing the silver linings in change when it comes to other people’s situations–but not our own? We worry, belabor, and stew.
After my last big transition, I gave this questions a lot of thought and created five steps that I’ve since used to accept and embrace change–and they have worked. So whether it be something new and potentially exciting or something bad, I recommend the following steps:
Get in touch with your emotions.
You lost your job, or you got a new job. First, think about what’s unsettling you so much about the situation. You can’t accept what’s different if you’re unsure of why it upsets you. Getting to the core of your anxiety may help you alleviate some of it by addressing your emotions with facts and rationale.
Take a step back and think about how you’ll feel a week or year from now. Will this change still be such a big deal? Do you think you will have adapted? Imagine: Will it even matter? If not, then try not to waste energy getting so upset or worked up.
Realize it’s a part of life.
Change happens. It’s inevitable. Change is what makes our lives move (and be exciting). It’s what helps us evolve and grow. Sometimes the face of change may look scary or bad but underneath, it could be hiding a blessing or opportunity. When faced with change, understand that for new things to come, old things must go.
Find the silver lining.
Even in the hardest of times and transitions, there’s almost always a silver lining of some sort. If you can’t see it, talk to someone. Chances are, an outside perspective can help you identify it. Then, after you’ve moved on from being consumed with anger, fear, or sadness, try, try, try to focus on this positive. Try to think about how you can turn this change into an opportunity.
It’s no secret that I think exercise can help tackle even the toughest of problems. It can help you process what’s happening, de-stress, and just plain get your mind off things. Anything from yoga to running to a brisk walk can work wonders for your mental state.
Change happens. It can be tough. There’s no mistaking that. But, I bet, if you think back through your life and all the big transitions you’ve had to tackle–most of them ended positively or, with most of them, you ended up adapting and handling the change well. You never know what lies on the other side of change. Need help dealing with change in your work? Contact me.
A version of this post was first published on Inc.