Dealing with change

Dealing with change
February 2, 2020 Ellen & Elysar

Change is inevitable. As much as we try to resist and deny, it is an unavoidable constant in our lives. While we would prefer to be in control, the reality is that we are often not. Whether personal or professional, we continually face the challenge of reorganising, revamping and restructuring our lives. However, there is one common factor that everyone experiences with change – our reaction to it.

There are three actions that we believe are worth considering in the face of change:

1. Accepting the fact that nothing stays the same.

As we live our lives, the world evolves around us, the people that surround us come and go, and our work and careers pivot. Although we may understand that everything changes, our acceptance of it is particularly limited, as our human nature to crave safety, security and consistency breeds doubt in the struggle with life’s fluctuations.

In the context of the working women, career change is usually a prime source of fear and uncertainty. Especially in cases where we come back to work after maternity leave. It’s hard to let go and even harder to trust that what’s coming next is better. However, you can’t just stick around playing the waiting game. You have to move on. A way to do so is to take a positive outlook on the situation, seek solace in humour. Trying to find humour in a situation that is otherwise unfunny can be a great way to change our perspective on an issue. Researchers have studied the effects of different humour styles and found that witty banter, also known as “affiliative humour” can lighten the mood and improve social interaction.

2. Know your game: address the problems, downplay the feelings.

It’s important for women to be in tune with ourselves. Ask yourself “who am I and what do I want?”. Getting a good grip in the face of change can help you move forward more confidently. Once you know more about yourself, you can measure the fit of any change – be it small or large – and decide how to address it given your skills, strengths and motivations. Moreover, as women, we tend to over prioritise our emotions, such as how we feel about a certain person or a specific situation. There is the thought that if we can work through how we feel, then no one will get hurt and problems solved. This misconception is actually dangerous as you may fall into a situation where you try to appease all stakeholders and are unable to move forward. Thus, a more effective approach would be to address the problems and downplay the feelings. We’re not saying feelings should be ignored – empathy is a strength, not a weakness. But we can empathise when we are devising a strategy to address the problems and resolve the root-causes.

3. Set boundaries, test the waters and reframe the fall.

Be sure with your “must haves”. All the significant and practical things that sometimes we may overlook when we’re facing a major change require careful consideration. With that, use your boundaries as a tool to test the waters. Know what you are willing and not willing to do and then try doing it. The more we practice being thrown into the deep end of change, the more we can experience opportunities (and potential improvements) to navigate through these choppy waters. Finally, not everything can go according to plan. As aforementioned, uncertainty can throw a wrench into any plan, no matter how carefully thought out. With that, you need to learn how to frame your fall. Essentially, every decision we make is an opportunity to grow and learn. Knowing this and accepting it will help us handle any change.

There are three parts to a change: the trigger, the curve, and the lessons learned. If you are able to identify these three parts, it may help you adapt to the change. Adapting to change is a skill that can be developed, it is often times highlighted as a key point of differentiation in successful employment. Thus, it is important to be able to take full advantage of it as much as possible. Think of it as an opportunity for development, not something to be feared but something to embrace wholeheartedly.

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