Change is inevitable and it is constant. The question then becomes, if change is always happening, why do we occasionally allow it to mess with our minds? While changes in routes or processes are usually easy to navigate and adapt to, it is the changes involving people that tend to be the most challenging. We don’t think twice when Google Maps just reroutes and updates with the best way to get to our destination. Unlike a rerouted map, changes involving people don’t come with clear instructions to follow. We are emotional beings and when we allow our emotions to take over, we don’t always navigate or think through things well. If you’ve recently experienced a change that involves a person or a shakeup in a team situation, I’d like to offer you five helpful recommendations:
1. Change doesn’t always require you to modify your plan. When you step back, your goals and plans likely will not require much more than an update. The big picture is likely the same. The people involved may alter things some, but where you were going and what you wanted to accomplish can stay the same. The path or to-do list or a new relationship may just need tweaked, added on to or adjusted.
2. Focus on what you can control. When things are out of your control, you can only minimize the disruption and start looking for next steps. Don’t fight it, it happened. Now, what action needs to take place? If you are leading others, look to inspire them with what is ahead and what is needed to move forward with the goal or plan.
3. Recognize that your feelings of uncertainty are perfectly normal. It’s natural to feel attached to a certain direction or outcome and to be disappointed when things change. Whether it’s the loss or departure of a teammate, coach, or friend, it’s okay to grieve. Fear and frustration are normal too. The key is to not live in that space long. Write out what the next steps need to be and find a friend or family member that you trust to help you think about how to move on and look forward.
4. Find the opportunity in the change. Once you accept the new change, it can create a newfound excitement for what is ahead. Change can be a breakthrough in a new relationship or partnership that could lead to even better things. A new leader can bring innovation or a better way of thinking. We can be creatures of habit and a change may be just what was needed to take things to another level.
5. Think bigger than the change. When you look back on all the changes that have happened in your life, my bet is that they rarely ended up being a big deal. We are all very resilient and over our lives we have lost loved ones, had a job end that we liked only to find a better one or had weather change our vacation plans only to then do something we didn’t expect that was even better. We can not allow a detour in our lives to derail us. You have persevered before and will again.
My hope is that these recommendations have inspired you with a sense of hope for the future. The recent changes you’ve encountered can be seen as stepping stones to new opportunities and even greater growth. Embrace the journey ahead.