It’s a new year, and that, inevitably, means change is coming. Whether it comes in the form of a new year’s resolution, is the result of a holiday spent assessing what went right and wrong in 2018, or is inspired by psychological or spiritual impulse, it’s fair to say the majority of us use the changing of the calendar as an excuse to shake things up a little.
Of course, change isn’t created in a bubble. As you seek to make change, so are others, and it’s likely some of these changes will impact you for better, or worse.
That can be tough. As much as we expect such change as part of the nature of the season, that doesn’t make accepting it any easier. Change can be exhausting and frustrating. It can inspire anxiety, anger, and confusion. Some experts have even likened the process of dealing with change, particularly in the workplace, to that of dealing with grief.
So what can you do to ensure you’re prepared for change as it heads your way? Prepared to not only accept it, but facilitate it in the best interests of you and your work?
You have to be adaptable.
It sounds obvious enough, but adaptability is an increasingly uncommon trait. Even the most creative and innovative amongst us prefer to be in control of every element of our lives. It’s human nature.
Fortunately, adaptability is a trait that can be developed, so long as we have the emotional intelligence to develop it.
Thanks to the University of Pennsylvania’s Kandi Wiens and FrontierX.Global Founder Darin Rowell’s new article, How to Embrace Change Using Emotional Intelligence, the four strategies required to undertake the development process are easy to understand and follow. They are:
Identify the Source of Your Resistance
To improve the way you feel about change, it’s imperative to first understand why you feel that way. Are you confused? Do you feel like your position is under threat? Recognising the source can be hard; accepting it, even harder. But it all starts there.
Question the Basis of Your Emotional Response
Is the source of your resistance logical, or just the seed to a story you’re telling yourself about why you don’t want changes to be made?
Wiens and Rowell propose asking yourself two questions:
- What is my primary emotion associated with the change?
- What do I believe to be true that’s making me feel this way?
It’s through the honest answering of these questions that we set ourselves on the path to making ourselves a useful part of the change process. If you’re confused, work out why and put together a list of questions and concerns to take to those implementing the change. If you feel vulnerable in your role, find a way to be involved in the implementation to secure your future.
Own Your Part in the Situation
Simply put: call yourself out constantly. Identify how your emotions and behaviours are producing a negative impact on creating change, and strive to adjust them. Implementing such mindfulness is sure to prove a challenge – when has accepting our own faults ever been easy? – but the process is bound to be beneficial.
Turn Up Your Positive Outlook
Here are two more questions Wiens and Rowell suggest you ask yourself:
- Where are the opportunities with this change?
- How will these opportunities help me and others?
What’s interesting about this approach is the way the writers clarify what kind of positive outlook is necessary. This isn’t being about being a “problem solver”, but an “opportunity finder”. It’s not about addressing the negatives, but chasing the positives, and making a habit out of doing so. This will prove not just beneficial to your work, but to all elements of your life.
Change is coming, whether we like it or not. But are you going to sit there and complain, or are you going to embrace it, become a part of it, and do great work? The choice is yours.