How to Embrace (and Create) Change
Career consultant Diana Henderson shares her pointers for creatures of habit.
From Diana: Change—it’s inevitable, unexpectedly expected and can be subtle or hairy, all at the same time. It can make its appearance when a former employee sits on the other side of the table at a prospective client meeting, and you flash a forced “nice-to-see-you smile” while maintaining composure for the sake of the other people that you’re visiting.
As creatures of habit, change isn’t natural for most of us. It’s disruptive. In fact, some people are wired with an innate likelihood to resist change because it interferes with their feelings of comfort.
Yet, that doesn’t create an atmosphere for growth. Where comfort is a room thick with stagnant air, change is air flow and movement. It’s like a burst of oxygen in a room full of smoke.
While contrary to our nature, change can be exactly the element we need to promote our advancement. Here’s how embracing—and even introducing—change could make all the difference for you.
Learn to expect it
It’s not a matter of “if,” it’s a matter of “when.” Change will occur whether you’re in a ready position or not. It will likely show up again, just when you’ve settled into a previous change. Since you know it’s coming, a disposition reflecting even the slightest bit of expectancy will keep you nimble—you’ll already be on your toes ready to leap into a sprint or a stop, drop and roll, whichever the circumstances call for.
Realize it’s not negative
It’s easy to think that change belongs in the category of hard knocks, unfairness and misunderstanding. Shift your perspective and view the change through a different lens. New boss taking over your department with a plan you don’t agree with? Try wearing a pair of rose-colored spectacles; you may just find a glimmer of hope you didn’t previously consider.
Respond vs. react
Set yourself apart from the crowd of those who react to the change they’re faced with and try being my favorite word—“unflappable.” Regardless of the wind hitting your sails, with an audience watching your every move, don’t show your discomfort. Allow change to happen for you, not to you. How you raise your sail, develop a game plan and shut out the noise of those around you all matter.
Be a change agent
We are empowered in change. This grants us an authority to operate as change agents, or those who lead the charge for the sake and benefit of others. What does that look like? In order to effect change, you have to embrace change. Run at it head and feet first. Carry the burden before you carry the torch. Your mantle may feel heavy at first, but your load lightens as other change agents take hold.
Share the new direction
Besides embracing a change, you’ll have to teach others to adapt to it. It’s here and sticking around for the long haul. Your energy invested in the difference will make all the difference for those around you. In practice, that may be discussing the change with those around you. Weigh the pros and the cons, and talk about it. The more certainty you can expose, the more willingness for acceptance. You might just find others on board with the change you've championed.
Image courtesy of Ivanka Trump Illustration by Jonny Ruzzo.