Change is inevitable…It’s how you respond that matters
Change can happen on an individual, organisational, national, or global scale. The challenge we all face is that those who acknowledge this fact and are able to embrace the change (or even purposefully seek change) are more likely to thrive.
How do you cope with change?
We tend to cope with change in one of 2 ways:
Escape coping (avoidance) - You take deliberate actions to avoid the difficulties of the change.
Control coping (positive / proactive) - You manage your feelings, get support, and do whatever you can to be part of the change.
Most of us respond to major change with a mixture of the two approaches. Control coping is often viewed as the better option, as it's impossible to avoid the reality of change for long without becoming exhausted or challenging your connections with people in the environment.
Responding to change…
Change can be difficult because it can challenge how we think, how we train and our relationships, among many other things. Change can trigger four stages of response:
Shock and disorientation.
Anger and other emotional responses.
Coming to terms with the "new normal."
Acceptance and moving forward.
Shock and Disorientation
Experiencing a sudden, big change can feel like a lot to process.
Initially you may feel confused and uncertain.
Seek reliable information (and facts) to make sense of the situation.
Ask for updates, listen to other people's similar experiences, and talk through your concerns.
Anger and Other Emotional Responses
Initial disorientation can be followed by a wave of strong emotions. You might be angry, or fearful about the potential impacts of the change.
You may find yourself swinging between optimism and pessimism.
Acknowledge the way you feel, and work through these emotions (rather than avoiding or ignoring them).
Coming to Terms With the "New Normal"
Your focus will likely start to shift from what you've lost and toward what's new.
This process may be slow, and you might be reluctant to acknowledge it, but it's an essential part of coping with change.
The key here is to make a commitment to move on. Search for and emphasise the positive aspects of your developing situation.
At the same time, be patient. Remember, coming to terms with change is a gradual process.
Acceptance and Moving Forward
This is the stage when you come to fully accept your changed circumstances.
Acceptance doesn't mean giving up entirely on your former situation. You'll have valuable memories, skills and relationships to carry forward.
Set yourself goals and create an action plan to make the most of your new situation.
Change can be difficult to process. The journey through these 4 stages will be different for everyone, and will also depend on how big or small the change is for you. We will all cope differently and spend different lengths of time in each of these stages.