“All change, all change, please… ” This was a regular instruction shouted by train platform staff at intermittent periods when the train pulled into a station and, sometimes for what seemed like, no good reason. As a regular commuter this was the last thing I wanted to hear on my way home at the end of a long day in the office.
What does this have to do with career development? Well, human beings don’t naturally like change. Resistance to change is universal and it affects all cultures. We like doing the same things because the brain seeks to restore and maintain order and continuity wherever it can. However, change is a natural part of our development and progress. Just think about all the changes that we physically go through from the time we are born! Change is all around us and happens continuously.
Response to change
Various experiences in life trigger the need for change, for example, life style change, starting a family, career change , the decision to start a business … the list goes on. And, within these challenges are some of life’s greatest opportunities. However, we all respond differently to change. Some people view it as a threat, others refuse to acknowledge the need for change. This is particularly true when there might be a change brought on by redundancy. Some stick their head in the sand, hoping that it will all ‘blow over’. And, there are others who embrace change and see it as an opportunity to do something different or as a challenge to overcome.
How do we deal with change?
The motivation to engage with change can be a struggle to deal with as there may be conflicting issues about ‘what matters most to us’. Whatever we care about i.e. what motivates us, are the areas that will determine our priorities in life. If we believe that the change is worthwhile, we attach value to it and decide how it will benefit us and those we care about. Someone who is motivated to change demonstrates determination, persistence and resilience in the face of opposition. Someone who is motivated to get results notices a better way to do things, to be entrepreneurial, to innovate or to be creative.
However, at times, we procrastinate in dealing with change for a variety of reasons, for example, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of uncertainty, lack of stability, living up to the expectations of others, lack of skills, lack of confidence, low self-esteem, too busy, distractions, apathy… to name a few.
Overcoming the impact of these negative and sometimes debilitating thought processes requires a shift in our mindset and how we view ourselves in the world around us. This requires us not to look at the change per se but at making a transition, i.e. “a renewing of the mind” which helps us to answer “Why am I here?” Why am I doing what I’m doing? and, Why am I going in this direction?
A transition is an internal mind mapping that triggers the drive to make the change, the commitment to see that change happen, and an optimistic and resilient outlook that anticipates success and enables us to take setbacks and obstacles in our stride and ultimately to succeed in the implementation of the change. When we have purpose we see change in a positive light. We are all capable of making our transitions and, with support can achieve the goals we set for ourselves.
Make the Change
Simply put, our habits of mind define our habits of life. If you want to effect change you have to change your story. You will need to develop a new perspective, positive beliefs, and a ‘can do’ attitude that will determine the successful outcome, for you!
Well, here are some areas to consider for making successful change:
- What do you want to achieve from the change? What is the value of your change? i.e. what difference will it make to you and others you care about?
- Visualise the change… where are you? What does it feel like?
- How aligned are you with the change?
It is important to connect spirit and work – assess your skills, knowledge and personal style and check their alignment with your values. Doing work that you enjoy and that resonates with your values and beliefs will be more meaningful to you. Your spirit should sing when you are at work!
Cultivate an attitude of continuous learning. Given the current pace of technological and business development, you stagnate at your peril.
Embrace it and wholeheartedly engage with it!
Until next blog, go make those transitions!