FYI | Day 20 – Change

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For Your Inspiration! (FYI!) Month 2011 – This article was part of an exciting and challenging month dedicated to discovering passions, setting goals, learning success strategies, and sharing thoughts to ponder throughout the day!  If you’d like to find out what this month was all about, check out FYI Month 2011 for more information!

FYI: For-Your-Inspiration Month!

Jim is freshly married and has a kid on the way. His life is about to drastically change.

Beth is working at a corporate office and they are changing their entire CMS to PeopleSoft in which she knows nothing about. She needs to adapt.

Jason was just laid off from work and his financial situation is in jeopardy. Life just got more difficult.

———–———–———–———–

Change is inevitable and how you choose to accept change makes all the difference. Life circumstances change, relationships change, people change, and of course, the world changes.

The world is flattening (if it’s not completely flat already); Technology is growing, mobile technology is advancing, social networking is becoming the norm, and computer software is always expanding… how are you preparing for this?

Your relationships are changing; friends and family are marrying off, moving away or having kids, your boss is asking you to relocate and uproot your family, your kids like/dislike you this week, you just ended a relationship, you lost a loved one… how do you deal?

You are changing; your body is aging, you change your diet, you break a limb, you get sick (or healthy). Are you adapting to the ups and downs of these changes?

In summary: How do you deal with Change (good and bad)?

Characteristics that Benefit

A five-year study by Dr. Leonard Poon of the University of Georgia was conducted where 97 active and productive people were interviewed about common characteristic that influence resilience to change. Oh, and a side note… all the individuals were over the age of 100!

These were the top four characteristics that defined their past success:

Optimism. They kept a positive view of the past, and were optimistic about their future. They were not taken over by worry or negativity! (Read: The Power of Positivity)

Mobility. They were physically active. We’ve discussed the benefits of exercise on all areas of health… including the brain! (read: Your Body – Fitness)

Adaptability to loss. They did not dwell on losses and had an incredible ability to stay balanced by adapting to and accepting change and loss.

Engagement. They were actively involved with their life and were not passive observers. They were consciously living their life (read: What is Conscious Living)

Obstacles to Change

Some people handle change like an animal preparing for winter; by developing a thick coat and toughing it out. And others, well, they handle change like a dog plays tug-of-war; pulling, fighting, and growling, but realistically getting nowhere.

Usually our biggest issue with change lies within our own thinking and our emotional response to change which restricts our ability to succeed. Here are a few emotional handicaps that you may experience:

  • Confusion and Uncertainty.  The brain hates uncertainty and converts uncertainty into stress, fear, and resistance.  When we are in this state, the brain is put into fight-or-flight mode and a lot of the brain’s functionality is stunted. Want to know more about combating uncertainty?  Read up on Kaizen.
  • Limiting Beliefs (LBs).  A limiting belief is a mental construct personally created and held to be true for a very long time.  When you believe something to be a fact, you don’t doubt it anymore, it just is. LBs are deeply engrained into us and are hard to break unless we can consciously realize which belief is holding us back so we can release it.  For example, if I was a heavyset kid and believed I couldn’t lose weight because my parents were also larger, hence, it must be genetic and I have no control over it — I have created a personalized fact that I hold true and it is preventing me from achieving my weight and fitness goals.
  • Denial.  Not wanting to deal with everything that is coming, or you may believe the change that’s coming does not apply to you.  You may try and seek out information and data to prove that this change is not necessary.
  • Resistance. Many times we don’t want changes to occur because we are comfortable in our current situation.  By nature, we can’t help but love feeling comfortable and safe.  New things are intimidating because we dislike uncertainty (see above) and the feelings that arise from it.  From past experiences, we’ve learned that change is not always a good thing!
  • Improper Focus. If we are not happy with the change, some of us get distracted by worrying about the change itself, dwelling on the new problems, and complaining about them.  We forget to label the problems as mere parameters outside of our control, and we need to add them into our equation for success.  Focusing on the negatives won’t get you anywhere, but focusing on finding a solution will.

Tips for Dealing with Change

Okay!  We’ve discussed some causes for resistance and pain when experiencing change, so let’s switch gears to how we can make change as painless and smooth as possible!  Here are some tips and tricks to get your feet peddling when you feel like drowning:

  • Recognize that change happens.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. If you recognize that change is necessary and inevitable, be a first-mover!
  • Communicate with others. Accept help or offer help! Don’t be stubborn.
  • Be flexible.
  • Stay positive. Change your thoughts to change your attitude and actions.
  • See the big picture. Take a step back and try to see the big picture without an emotionally skewed lens.
  • Be open to learning new things.
  • Ask yourself these questions: What can I control in this situation? What can I do to positively influence this situation? What do I have to accept about this situation that is out of my control?
  • Adjust your mindset. Start viewing change as an opportunity instead of a problem.
  • Be open to self-change.  When change happens, keep an open mind to learning and changing oneself.  Can I grow from this change?
  • Realize that change isn’t a personal attack. Abolish the phrases ‘Why me?’ and ‘It’s not fair’ from your vocabulary.  (The Joys of Being the Victim)
  • Learn. Learn to love learning.
  • Take risks. Be a doer and don’t stay idle.
  • Work together. Find a partner in crime in order to push each other and support each other during the change.

Your Task

Time for a self-evaluation!

Have you heard of a SWOT analysis?  This is a great tool that is typically done for businesses but is just as applicable when done personally! Take out a blank page of paper (or Word document) and separate it into four quadrants.  In each area, I want you to analyze these four areas:

  • Your Strengths and what you are GREAT at. These can be skills, characteristic traits, or valuable knowledge you possess.
  • Your Weaknesses and what you could improve. Potential areas for personal development.
  • Your Opportunities. Opportunities for career development and advancement, as well as for personal growth and learning.  What can you take advantage of (in a good way)?
  • Your Threats. Areas that are limiting your growth, inhibiting opportunities, resistance to change, or obstacles you need to conquer.

You’ll notice that the first two items are internal factors, and the next two are external factors.  As well, we are looking at the positive and negative for both areas!  This will give you a great groundwork to visualizing your current situation and pinpointing areas for growth.  When you have a great understanding of yourself and your current situation, you are better prepared for change!  Give it a go!

This post was written by

Greg has written 69 articles on Student of Me.

Greg is the creator and primary writer for Student of Me. He probably spends way too much time on the computer writing, researching, programming, and working on his photography. He loves escaping from screen-time to travel, ride his motorcycle, experience the outdoors and spend time with loved ones. You can contact him at greg (at) studentofme.com!

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