September 9 is R U OK Day.
A day to check in with each other and encourage ongoing conversations for all of us to be more open and aware of the signs of the mental health struggles that many people face.
Today is a good reminder to do this and make it part of the conversation regularly.
We live in a world of uncertainty, constant change, negative news and high rates of mental illness, overwhelm and suicide. Constant change creates uncertainty, especially when it’s forced upon us. More than ever, we need to focus on what we can control and strategies to deal with all that is going on around us.
Forced change is daunting, but it can also bring so many gifts. The Gift of Change has taught me that my mindset, self-belief and staying focused on what can be done is pivotal in any change I face in the future.
Change is imperative in life. I believe it equates to growth, new learnings and possibilities.
Here are three questions you can ask yourself to gauge whether you are out of your comfort zone and open to change:
- Is your ‘why’ to change exceeding your ‘why’ to stay the same?
- How open are you being to identify and implement necessary changes?
- What do you do that scares you and opens you up to new possibilities?
The changes we face in life can come in varying forms, both professionally and personally. I know the most successful people, leaders, and business owners embrace unknown change and take risks to grow. They don’t stay with what is comfortable – a trap that is easy to fall into.
Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself. — Rumi
The below 8 keys will help you to embrace change and improve your mindset.
To download the 8 Keys to Embrace Change infographic click here.
The 8 keys to embrace change
We all deal with change in our own way. Whether your Gift of Change and the lessons learnt are hidden in the past or happening now, the following tried-and-tested tips will help you unwrap this gift.
1 Develop and leverage supportive relationships
You don’t need to go through change alone. A problem or challenge shared is a problem halved. Tap into those relationships where you can get support and feel open to be supported. In and out of the workplace, ensure you tap into people who make you feel good and that you trust and feel comfortable with. Remember, as human beings; we love to help each other. Leverage the relationships that serve you and help you progress forward.1 Know the reason – the ‘why' to change
2 Your ‘why’ to change must exceed your ‘why’ to stay the same.
Make sure your chosen change is happening for the right reason, especially when you influence it. You will only embrace change or buy into it if there is something in it for you. Not embracing change is usually due to a lack of clarity around the reasons why.
3 Focus on what isn't changing and what you can control
As humans, we naturally concentrate on what is changing. When dealing with change, it helps to focus on a few things that aren’t changing. This gives you a sense of stability to help you deal with what is changing.
4 Find a balance between the logical and the emotional
There’s a great book called Switch by Dan and Chip Heath. It focuses on being on the same page with your emotional and rational sides when dealing with change. They use the example of the elephant (representing our emotional side) and the rider (representing our rational side). Our emotions can overwhelm our rational thoughts in the same way a large elephant could overwhelm a rider. But if we rely solely on rational behaviour, we can overthink things. Dan and Chip suggest directing the rider and motivating the elephant.
5 Know what lights you up
Tap into the things that motivate you and make you feel alive. Doing what energises us can be used to fuel us through a change. When I was shifting my business to online during the pandemic, I made sure I connected with others online and ran virtual workshops as much as I could, as I knew that connection is what would keep my energy up.
6 Be mindful of change effort
Change can be exhausting. The effort that goes into dealing with any change can affect us physically, mentally and emotionally, especially when going through a major change or more than one change at a time. It is known that large changes can zap our self-control, and consequently, our capacity to think, focus, be creative and persist becomes non-existent.
7 Avoid decision paralysis
Too many options can cause us to freeze up and default to doing nothing.
Think about a retail store crammed and overflowing with items or a dinner menu with endless options. We can get what I call ‘decision fatigue’ and end up not purchasing anything. I’ve been in work meetings where so many options and ideas are generated that people become overwhelmed, and nothing gets actioned.
8 Be excited by change and what could be
Change can generate infinite possibilities and growth. Reframe the situation by being excited and lose the words ‘nervous’, ‘anxious’ and ‘overwhelmed’. Focus on your values and not your fears, and let your thoughts and actions feed into this. Think about what could go right – refer back to a positive change you have experienced before and the outcome of that.
Change isn’t easy, but it’s easier when you don’t go it alone.
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