Attitude is Everything in dealing with Change By Shiera O’Brien

A few ways to make change work for you

As human beings, we don’t like change at all! We spend most of our time building our lives, our careers, and our businesses to a point of stability, comfort, and certainty, that will bring us safely through to another point, where we can benefit positively from all that we have worked towards. Then along comes an event like a financial or personal crisis that throws a massive spanner into that plan and brings unwelcome change. 

The Positive Aspects that Change Can Bring

Change is not something we really anticipate, want, or expect until it happens. Very often it knocks us completely, particularly in the form of financial or business losses.  In the business world, it can show up as a significant falloff in business, which can truly put the axe to any plans to grow, prosper or sustain a life style we’ve built. Or in the workplace,  a boss leaves, the whole department is shaken up. Your job is not what is was, or you are now doing two jobs instead of one and working longer hours for the same money. And when change does come along, the natural reaction is to reach back to that place of certainty and hang on to what was and experience various states of upset and discomfort.

Here are some thoughts and questions on the positive aspects  of Change

 Acknowledge Change and Notice its Good Points

 ‘A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be’. Albert Einstein

We are very much conditioned to respond to events in limited ways that focus on the event and the problem it created. I have heard and read many ideas around the global economy over the past 10 years, who’s to blame, how we could have done things differently and not wasted the national wealth we created. It’s been a big conversation here in Ireland for years.

The reality is, on some level, perhaps, we believe our economic cycles should only ever go in one direction. The economy always moves in cycles, what goes up must come down and the law of supply and demand dictates patterns in the economy too. You want to read how many crises we’ve had since The Dutch Tulip Mania (aka “Tulipomania”) of 1634-1637 ? 11 are mentioned in this article. Yes, people went crazy about tulips back then!  

What  to do when Change comes to visit you

So how do we ride the waves of change? If something has changed for you, what do you do? I have yet to meet somebody who has won an argument with reality. Having the old response, where somebody out there should fix the economy or create jobs or do something, because somebody out there is responsible is not going to defer the change at hand! So moving on, what tools can you use to deal with change from a coaching perspective?

Time to see things differently?

Change, for what it’s worth, forces us to re-evaluate. Change can make us see what really matters. Change can wake us when we have to ask ourselves some deeper questions about how we are doing things. Change always brings some new ideas, innovation, and freshness. Change can force us to dig deeper and re-invent ourselves. Change is an opportunity to take a risk because you are in a place of uncertainty anyway. So if you are on a changing landscape in your life, work or business, how can you work with change to plant new anew?

Take a Higher View of Change

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” Albert Einstein

The habit of the mind is to  look at a problem and resolve it using ways that worked before. So if you are looking to see how you would grow your business or you are looking to find a new job or fix something, and you have not come up with any ideas on how to do that, take a higher view. 

Notice what you notice about the change that has been “visited” on you. Notice the conclusions you are drawing about Change. Are they all true? What other truths are you not noticing, while you reach these conclusions? Are you looking for solutions and new ways to view it? Where do you need to focus your mind to get different results? Will this matter in 10 years? Who can you connect with that is going to give you a better perspective? What if you took total responsibility for this change? How much better would you feel? How do you need to think to make progress in turning this change into an opportunity immediately?

So many great thinkers explored the power and ability of our minds to create anew. Einstein always took the higher view, because it gave him a very different perspective on his research and opened up new solutions.  Einstein seems to have had a knack for non-linear thinking. It was the doorway to bringing new ideas to the world of physics. Your mind and your thinking can be your greatest ally in times of change. Making it as flexible as possible is the magic that creates better outcomes when change comes to visit.

Change What Changes Means to You

“Change is an announcement that something isn’t working.” Neale Donald Walsh

That is a powerful meaning for change. What we, as a human race are doing clearly isn’t sustainable in the long run, economically, environmentally, and in other ways.  Globally, we may be the generations that created the highest levels of price, wage and property inflation, borrowings, and personal debt in decades.  

Give a few different meanings to change, and, as you do that, notice your emotional response to this idea of change. Perhaps change is a necessary correction to bring better things. Change does indeed force us to re-evaluate. The key thing is, the events we experience are shaped by the meaning we give to the experience and what we do with it rather than the event itself. Victor Frankl wrote about this in Man’s Search for Meaning, when he recounted how he rallied other prisoners to not let the circumstances of the concentration camps take away the meaning they could create in their minds about their lives.  Are you still seeing your life or business through old lenses? Are you trying to sell your services in an old paradigm, where the business came easily through the bricks-and-mortar door? If you’ve outgrown your job or relationships, the change may have happened without you even noticing. 

Give a few different meanings to change, and, as you do that, notice your emotional response to this idea of change. This change could be the best thing that ever happened to you. Maybe you needed or wanted this change. Perhaps you are now doing things you would never have done if this change hadn’t come along? What’s great about this change? What’s not perfect yet? What else is possible with this change?

Create a New Paradigm of Comfortable Uncertainty and Creativity

Imagination is more powerful than knowledge.” Albert Einstein

When we are forced into a new structural paradigm, there is no going back to what was.  The paradigm we live in is not all that is offered, however. Positively speaking, Change pushes us into the unknown and into a place where we really can generate new possibilities.  What if your new paradigm was a place where you are totally comfortable with uncertainty; you expect it, and you plan for it? What if this place stretched your creativity and invited more into your life? What then?

Perhaps you could come up with new business ideas, develop skills to complement your professional skills or explore new aspects in your career or company. If you own a business, you could add another profitable service to your business to create new revenue streams, one you would never have associated with your business. What new comfort zone are you ready to create? If money or time were not a problem, what would you be doing? 

Reach Some New Conclusions by Asking Yourself Better Questions

 “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” Albert Einstein

The important point is to ask yourself quality questions if you want to reach some quality conclusions and move forward. Consider how you can use any sense of stagnation or down-time to create some new opportunities. What positive steps can you take to build existing client relationships? What can you do now that you have been putting off? What gaps are in your skills that you can now upgrade? Where else can you apply your skills until the right opportunity comes your way? 

Become your own best coach

Einstein was a natural coach to himself and those around him. He never stopped asking questions. He lived in today, optimistic about tomorrow.  Tony Robbins has a mantra about the quality of your life. He says it repeatedly in his seminars and events. “The quality of your life depends on the quality of the questions you ask yourself”.  ‘Why has this happened to me? Why has all my hard work come to this? Why is my business dwindling?  Why am I still in this job? These questions will certainly give you answers, but not what you are seeking. 

The important point is to ask yourself quality questions if you want to reach some quality conclusions and move forward. If you have a sense of stagnation or downtime consider how you can use this to create some new opportunities, do new things?  What positive steps can you take to build what you desire? What can you do now that you have been putting off? What gaps are in your skills that you can now upgrade? Where else can you apply your skills until the right opportunity comes your way? what would you choose, if you knew you really couldn’t lose?

 Re-invent Yourself and Reach out to Others

 “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” Albert Einstein

 The final piece in making change work for you is to reinvent what you are and what you do. Make yourself more adaptable and flexible for when uncomfortable change comes your way again, as it surely will! Take new actions in defining who you are, not just as a professional, but as an individual. Build a range of dynamic, transferable skills that will open up doors, when others close. Begin to explore new territory. Reach out to others and explore opportunities to collaborate. Use social media to reach new and different people to yourself.  Build relationships and share new ideas with others. LinkedIn is a great business platform and an easy way to reach out to others professionally.

One last thought…

The impact of change is only as bad as your response to it. Change could be a tremendous opportunity to shake you up. It may open doorways to a new passion, new ideas, and businesses. All success and innovation happen at the edge of the comfort zone, not in it! There are a thousand ways to see change and only one way to work with it. Embrace it.

You may also be interested in Building Self-ConfidenceCoaching for Change

This article first appeared in the CPA magazine. 

Shiera O'Brien
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