Change is Mandatory...Stress is Optional
Perhaps embracing change is not your nature. So how do you bring yourself to a place where change is less traumatic? The first step is to realize that change is always coming. It’s also helpful to acknowledge your emotions about the change ahead; don’t stuff your feelings! If you’re not honest about how you feel, you can easily end up resenting the need to comply with or adapt to the inevitable. Any resentment you harbor can negatively affect your ability to adjust quickly. It can also hamper your willingness to ask for help when needed. Don’t wait; learn the new way, and realize that it takes more guts to ask for help than it does to think you don’t need any help!
So, in five short bullet points, here’s your strategy:
- Expect change; it’s part of life.
Flexibility is the most valuable trait a human can have.
- Anticipate change. Be prepared for it and acknowledge that you will be okay.Change is the most natural part of life and you are hereditarily conditioned to survive it and benefit from it.
- Keep an eye on change.
Take notes … and learn from them!
- Adapt quickly.
Get in front of the pack, let your emotions out, and then just do the next right thing that moves you toward changing. In my program, I highlight this point with the example of Crazy Stephanie and the pile of dishes – but this isn’t my program, so let’s jump ahead to the punchline: “Just pick up the first dish!” There is only one way to start, and that is to start.
- Enjoy the benefits of change.
There is something better out there! It might not feel that way at first; we have to go through three inches of problem to get to 100 yards of solution. But when we arrive, it will be better for all of us.
The Big 3: Top Reasons Organizations Change
1. To become more efficient
2. To deliver better service
3. To stay in business in tough times
Many times, it’s all three.
To successfully manage change, we must believe that every change in our lives frees us for a better opportunity, a chance to grow and thrive and move our lives forward — a chance to learn to be more efficient, which makes us more valuable to the organization and those we work with.
Change can bring fear. We either move past it quickly or live in the fear until it becomes part of who we are. As humans we have changed when we needed to, and we’ve looked out for each other. We have a brain that allows us to switch our belief system to overcome our circumstances. We are not slaves to instinct.
Seventy-five percent of all thoughts are negative, yet we use them to protect us and then move into a positive direction. That is what it is to be human and why we are in charge of the planet. They say dolphins and killer whales are smarter; however, they are not so quickly adaptable. There is no one on the planet who works for a killer whale!
Change is mandatory, but the stress you feel as you face the change is optional. Why is that?
The No. 1 cause of stress is knowing exactly what you are supposed to be doing and consistently doing something else. That means change can cause stress, but it also means that stress is a lot about what we believe. It’s our interpretation of that change that ultimately causes us mental and even physical problems.
We can avoid some of those problems if we just get a handle on the source of the stress. Start by identifying where the stress is coming from. You’re not just overwhelmed — so what specifically are you stressed about? Pinpoint the specific source. Control what you can, and let go of what you can’t. And as you work on the things you can control, break them into bite-sized pieces you can handle. The best way to get a hold of your life is to let go.
Choose to see the stress as a signal that how you feel about things is the source of the stress. (If you love change, then it’s not stressful.) Consider: People jump out of airplanes for fun, yet are hospitalized because of worry.
Again, in five short bullet points, here’s a strategy for defusing some of the stress associated with change:
- Manage your time well.
You have 1,444 minutes a day to spend as you choose. Create a prioritized list of what has to be done today; being prepared dramatically reduces stress.
- Be present in the moment.
You can’t live in the wreckage of the future. Stop and be where you are!
- Pick off the negotiables from your plate.
Review your daily and weekly activities to see what you can pick off your plate.
- Reduce your vulnerability to stress.
Make sleep a priority. Do things you love after work. Breathe deeply and realize there is a difference between caring and worrying.
- See through the stress and identify the truth.
It’s our personal feelings about an activity that make it stressful. The truth is that how we feel about things can make us sick. Stop worrying and start doing!
Doing more with less and taking on new tasks is how the human race has survived and progressed. We need to increase our productivity to compete, and it can overwhelm us if we let it. The key phrase is “if we let it.” One person’s “overwhelming” is another person’s “in the zone.” When you are busy, time flies — even if you are busy doing stuff you don’t like. You may notice some people are just stressed out in general, and some are so laid back you accuse them of laziness. Your belief system creates your experience. But how can you change a belief?
Ask yourself these questions:
1. Does what you believe make your life better?
2. Is it possible that something you truly believe might not be true?
3. Is it possible for a fact to become untrue?
4. Does being stressed and overwhelmed benefit you in some way?
It’s impossible to get through those questions without realizing the power that human beings have to overcome their circumstances. And they overcome not only to survive change and stress but to actually thrive and become more creative. It’s a fact that war, tragedy and limited resources have produced more innovation than a pile of cash, a bunch of geniuses and unlimited time. Okay, killer whales and dolphins, follow that!