Season's Change

Gosh - it's been over a month since my last post. I was fortunate enough to spend some time in Portland, Maine (USA) earlier in mid-October and enjoyed the changing of the intense fall / autumn colours on the trees. I've never seen such red reds, gold golds, orange oranges.

I have been living a rather transient life over the last couple of months, and it is set to continue into early 2016 as I establish myself in my new career and in a new country. It has been unsettling to say the least to move from country to country, BnB to BnB, suitcases in tow and all my worldly goods in storage until I finalise a spot to settle in. All this change has reminded me: in my view, being comfortable with change and transitions is the single most important skill to have in life and career. How you respond to a new team or boss, a restructure, redundancy, life and career changes can directly affect the result and your happiness.

So how do you fare faced with change?

  • Do you become stressed, short-tempered or emotional when the goal posts change?
  • Do you overthink scenarios and think the worst?
  • Do you respond physically with anxiety attacks, increased blood pressure, etc?
  • Do you outright deny change is happening and allow it to happen about you? 

It's OK if you do to some extent - what is important is how you respond thereafter. Short periods of these responses are entirely natural and you should allow yourself to feel them - but then what? Staying in that mindset is not useful in the long-term; it makes the change or transition more difficult to deal with and creates further anxiety.

I'm having to do some self-coaching at the moment with all the changes happening to me. I'm employing these techniques:

  1. Reframe: An incredibly useful skill; when change occurs that you're not entirely happy about, spin it; "accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative," find the opportunities that exist - they are always there but sometimes hidden from immediate view. Even the language you use influences your thoughts so banish the negative statements, and turn them into positives;
  2. Whilst change is happening, things change: You have created a plan to deal with a situation then something happens that changes everything - again and again. Take a breath and keep calm. It's nothing but a 'course-corrector'. With creative thinking and allowing the correction, an even greater plan can grow from it;
  3. Be kind to yourself: It can feel a little like you're being hammered with external influences when change is going on. You may be tired, irritable, emotional.  Make sure you are doing one nice thing for yourself a day - quiet time, massage, reading, cooking a nice meal, giving yourself a treat;
  4. Wait for Inspired Action: Over-thinking a problem or over-doing to force a result can be counter-productive. You can find that you are very busy but potentially moving in the wrong direction or working on tasks that do not move you forward. 'The Answer' will come if you leave it on the back-burner and enjoy some time to work on other activities you enjoy;
  5. Meditate: or run, or go to the gym or attend your own source of spiritual guidance. Whatever is your 'thing', make time in the day for it. During these times you can begin to formulate your 'new normal', your vision of what the future looks like - allow your inspiration in;
  6. Values and Goals: If you have spent time working on identifying your values and creating goals, revisit these throughout the process of change. Great clarity can come in a situation of great change by considering how it all fits with your values and goals. If you have not identified your values and goals, work with a coach to help you explore the possibilities.

How do you face change? Share your own methods - we can always learn from others.